Printer security a major worry in the education sector

person with printed documents

New research from Lexmark International has revealed that schools and universities are leaving themselves open to attack by failing to secure their printers and other devices.

The firm partnered with iGov to compile its 2018 Print & IT Applications in Education report which highlights the need for improved security solutions across print devices and networks to prevent data breaches.

iGov surveyed 105 individuals from 98 different organisations across a wide range of roles within the education sector to determine how the digital landscape has changed since publishing its Print & IT Applications in Education Survey 2015.

According to the research, a majority of participants (89%) believe that device security is a high priority at their organisation though just 57 per cent are confident that they currently have a security solution in place. A quarter also claimed that they did not know whether their organisation is currently using a print security solution.

Additionally, 12 per admitted to spending up to four hours a week scanning hard copy documents and 41 per cent were unable to qualify the amount of time they spend scanning at all.

Room for improvement 

Managing Director, Lexmark International Ltd, UK & Ireland, Martin Fairman highlighted ways the education sector could boost productivity, saying:

“The research suggests there is plenty of scope for improvements across the sector. The 2018 iGov survey seems to reflect similar figures to 2015 with a high number of professionals spending unquantifiable amounts of time manually scanning in hard copy documents. As the education sector continues to come under pressure, quality MFP solutions could present an opportunity to unlock efficiency and increase productivity.”

iGov also found several areas that have room for improvement in addition to improving security solutions. 

Photocopying remains one of the most common uses of print and multi-functional devices (87%) despite the fact that our world is becoming increasingly digital. 

Of those surveyed 80 per cent said that environmental considerations are a high to medium priority at their organisation. However, despite this, many educational institutions are still relying on hard copy documents which presents an opportunity to move to a 'paperlite' strategy.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.