When you read this blog post about creating a healthy workplace you may be forgiven for thinking that we’ve spent a little bit too long in a confined space with some toner – and in some respects, you’re right – that’s why we are writing it!
Like many others, we do wonder what the impact of the technological revolution will be on long term health. Mobile phones, printers, screen flicker and wi-fi have all arrived in our life time and we won’t see any potential impact for a generation. Major studies are already taking place to consider the impacts of changes in working habits and the advent of mobile technology with concerns abound regarding their effect on our health and wellbeing.
So, what can you do to mitigate the impact of technology in your workplace?
One of the side benefits of updating your inhouse print infrastructure can be improved wellbeing for your personnel; and with wellbeing becoming a major factor in job selection for employees, it’s an important element not to overlook.
Let’s rewind to the early days of printers. The network infrastructure maybe didn’t exist or the print requirements of different departments required very localised printers. The accounts team could be relied upon to have one huge dot matrix printer, a cheque printer and a couple of ‘normal’ printers at the very least. The technology of these printers was rudimentary and resulted in the fans working overtime, coughing toner and dust into the air and across desks. Early laser printers with a very dry powder toner were amongst the worst for distributing their contents into the atmosphere.
Localised printing also turned us into a national of desk dwellers. We did not need to move from our desks, except to get a cuppa from the kitchen or for calls of nature, so we stayed, welded to our desks for longer, breathing in toner!
Ok, so we paint a bit of a grim picture but sadly we are old enough to remember offices that did seem to have a fog – although that could have also been the people smoking at their desks of course!
Technology and thinking have moved on considerably. The printers of today are far more efficient, produce less emissions and don’t need such big internal fans to keep them cool, reducing the amount of bi-product being pumped into the office environment.
The ongoing debate about centralisation Vs decentralisation of print continues, but the simple fact is there are typically less printers in the average office today, compared to 20 years ago. We also print less, but when we do print at least, it does require us to get up, move about and then, most importantly, readjust our posture as we sit back down. These little breaks away from screen and desk are already proven to have a positive effect on health and wellbeing.
So, if you haven’t updated your printers in a long while there is every chance that you could not only enjoy some cost and process efficiencies but also have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of your staff by creating a healthy workplace.
GDPR Systems are only 20% of the issue.....
Regular visitors to our site and readers of our blog will know just how important print, print security and document management are in ensuring best practice and GDPR compliance. Yes, we have a vested interest in banging this drum and yes, we are working with clients to implement new systems, software, devices and processes to ensure they are compliant in plenty of time, but even we know that systems are only 20% of the issue.
The biggest part of GDPR compliance, the other 80% in fact is people – your people. Sadly, they pose the biggest risk in terms of data breaches or lax security. The good news is that if configured correctly, the 20% can control up to 80% of the 80% and provide fail safe measures to avoid issues.
Where, even the best thought out, GDPR processes will fall down is in human oversight. So, you have a policy and a process to manage the review of licences and expiry dates for data held on your systems. That job falls to a person, your data controller or maybe even someone without a specific documented remit in data protection. That person gets busy, that person gets ill or that person leaves – who picks up this activity and have they got the appropriate admin rights or skills to make the right decisions? The policy rapidly falls apart.
As previously documented here, the side of the business that we can help with – document management software, follow me print, secured network print devices etc. – can play a huge part in managing GDPR compliance. Workflow, user permissions and automated checks of document/data lifecycles can remove the manual intervention allowing users to go about their roles in the safest and most secure means possible. As well as providing compliance, correctly set up systems can also introduce valuable cost and time efficiencies.
You cannot remove people entirely from the system as the authors or users of the documents and data in question, and so there will always be an element of the process which relies on the human brain and/or common sense. But you can help them and support them by ensuring the 20% of your business that can be automated is set up in a manner which underpins and manages the other 80% to at least mitigate risk and provide a degree of fail-safe in the system.
Our recent blogs have focussed on the impact of GDPR around print devices and physical copies of documents, but in many respects that all relies on a degree of user management and human intervention – therefore common sense. There is another aspect of data management that needs consideration when taking GDPR regulations into consideration and that is the actual storage of soft copy documents, in safe and secure environments with appropriate management processes and controls around them.
Unless you are already using a dedicated document management system, it may be that certain files you hold or the way you store them leaves you vulnerable to breaches of GDPR regulations. To clarify this, when we speak about document management systems we mean software packages and systems that are designed specifically to store, index, monitor and manage electronic files – spreadsheets, PDF’s, office files etc.
For those using File Explorer or similar native built in/free to use filing cabinet systems, these do not, in our book, qualify as true document management solutions.
Probably the most obvious example is your data protection policy and any supporting documents that are created to govern your compliance with GDPR regulations. Documents that have a lifetime. These are not one-off documents that, once created, disappear into the abys. They should be agile refence manuals for day to day activity. In this respect they need regular review to ensure that working practices or the regulations themselves have not changed, exposing vulnerabilities. So a true document management system can use workflow to monitor the age of documents and prompt controllers to review them when required or if necessary, delete out of date documents which pose a risk to data protection.
For those purchasing or using data, which always carries a timed licence, for marketing purposes date sensitive management is incredibly important. How many companies reading this know they have a licence but cannot be sure when it expires and whether the data they use for marketing purposes is still valid? Document management systems can manage this for you.
Utilising workflow, user permissions and document control indexes true document management systems/software can be a vital tool in helping you achieve GDPR compliance, removing the reliance on significant manual intervention.
As we work with more and more companies to develop their GDPR policies and practices, it is clear just how deep the regulations go. So introduction of systems and processes that are fully integrated to your other software applications and hardware/devices will help minimise risk and ensure compliance.
Considering forthcoming GDPR regulations, the question of print and document management security is becoming a hot topic. A great deal of focus regarding data is placed on the storing and use of it and yet very little attention is paid to that same data whilst it is in the ether or when it is recreated in physical/hard print format. We have previously blogged about securing the print process in and around the end point i.e. at the printer, but what about the process up to the point of print?
In most organisations network security is taken seriously with thousands invested in it and yet this investment could be put to greater use to secure documents in the print queue, introduce print efficiencies and further reduce the security risk at the end point.
Over the years there has been a swing between centralised and decentralised print, meaning fewer people have dedicated printers immediately near their regular place of work. Add to this a more mobile workforce, global operations and multiple offices and you soon understand the risk that is posed by printing to the wrong machine in the wrong office at the wrong time. Furthermore, the traditional view of localised printing does not offer any flexibility to the individual concerned or reflect the fact that different job roles may require more personalised print settings, specific to the work being undertaken.
Making your print infrastructure more connected will solve all of these issues whilst further securing important data and files. Technology and software like ‘follow me’ print utilises the flexibility and security of the network infrastructure to enable on demand printing – allowing users to print the files they need, when and where they need it and only if they need it. Instead of an immediate print to device function, files are stored in the cloud or on a server, which forms part of the network and is covered by the investment in network security. The document then sits there, safe, until such time as it is called down to a device by the relevant user. The user specifies the device and the print settings at that point in time or if working across a range of connected devices can simply have a personalised print setting which identifies the user, file and device and prints the file accordingly.
As well as answering print security issues, technology like follow me print can help to reduce print volumes and therefore cost. So, if your print infrastructure is not connected and using the latest technologies, this may be another risk when GDPR regulations come into force in 2018.