A new program from GreatAmerica Financial Services Corp. addresses a critical need as more people work from home.
As more of the workforce became virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic it became increasingly clear that security would become one of the single most important issues to be addressed.
Some seven years ago CJ and I attended an HP Conference in Boston. The featured speaker was Meg Whitman president of Hewlett Packard. The cornerstone of her presentation was that among the most pressing issues of the day was BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). The obvious concern was the lack of security when an employee uses a personal device.
In our coverage of that event in our March 2013 issue we quoted Whitman, “There is a tectonic plate shift where opportunities present themselves. We will provide solutions for the new style of IT and that includes hardware devices to software.”
With employees working from home and requiring access to the network, using their own home printer is an invitation to disaster. In our exploration of the large virtual work force, we have discovered that corporations, in some cases, are informing their employees not to print at home.
We shared this view with David Pohlman, office of the president/COO, GreatAmerica Financial Services Corp., and he was quick to say secure printing from home is something that must be addressed. From GreatAmerica’s perspective the large number of printers currently under contract are likely to be greatly reduced over the next few years.
This led to GreatAmerica to exploring this challenge as an opportunity to help its business partners. The company started with the premise, “We cannot allow employees working virtually to use their own printer.”
The need is for employers to provide printers with secure software for home use as well as a shredder. Pohlman suggested that a Raspberry Pi (a small single-board computer) connected to the printer and network that monitors supplies is a perfect add on. The shape, design, and configuration of future MPS proposals has become more of an adjunct to IT Services than a hardware-driven narrative.
As Pohlman reminded us, GreatAmerica has a lot of experience with bundled transactions with more than 140,000 contracts currently in place. From a leasing company perspective, you can bill it all by click.
After discussing the GreatAmerica approach to secure printing, the company seems to have grasped the solution to what will be a huge problem in the post-pandemic period. How much of the workforce will be working from home either all or part of the time?
The dealers’ sales organization that engage clients with this type of contract needs to be fully conversant with the network and the dealerships capabilities in IT Services. Doing an analysis for an existing client on an expiring MPS contract requires a totally different analysis. The discussion must begin with software to protect the network. This should include the ability to monitor all the employee’s computers.
In terms of hardware, these will be A4 MFPs that will scan far more than they print. Some technical service issues will be handled remotely. If the printer requires extensive repair, it is replaced. That should not pose a challenge. We have both an A3 MFP and A4 MFP in our office and for six years I have had 0 service calls on our A4.
We think Pohlman and his team at GreatAmerica have figured it out as we are sure that other leasing providers have done their homework as well. Last week, GreatAmerica introduced MPSecure, a new print security program to help MSPs enhance their IT business practices by addressing the needs of a remote workforce. Click here to read our original coverage of the announcement.
We do not believe that secure printing will be solely for MPS clients. We foresee it as a solution for the SMB space as well. The number of printers is far less but the concept is feasible for small offices who may have only a few people working from home.
Is this a perfect solution? No, but it is a darn good start! We have maintained from the beginning of this pandemic that you need to be innovative and not fearful of attempting to come up with a totally different solution for the end user customer.
Manufacturers can certainly play a large role by how they configure their A4 MFPs particularly for their smaller dealers. Larger organizations can do this on their own and put together packages that make sense for their clients.
Challenges have always represented opportunity. We sincerely believe this latest blow is just one more obstacle for dealers to overcome. We see no reason why they cannot adapt and succeed.