The invention of network-based computing dates back to the 1960s, but the term “cloud services” as we know it now is largely credited back to 2006 when former Google CEO Eric Schmidt introduced it at an industry conference.
A Mortgage company with in office network equipment consisting of a server for user login and file sharing. The people in the company were tied to the office to access work files and communication.
A store bought router was in place creating limits and vulnerabilities.
Use strong passwords that are unique
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Every week, there are 140,000 hard drive crashes in the United States. Seeing as businesses deal largely in the digital world, this can be quite devastating should it happen to yours.
While you can take the proper precautions to mitigate your losses, this takes a lot of time and effort on your part. Instead, you should leave it to professionals in the IT managed services world.
In this article, we'll tell you what IT managed services are and how your business can benefit from them.
Porter Dodson is a Top 200 mid-sized UK law firm based in Somerset and Dorset, with multiple office locations. A big part of their success is their focus on delivering great advice to business and individual clients.
PaperCut caught up with the firm’s IT infrastructure lead Ben Jenner-Hurford to find out how PaperCut MF has helped them move away from desktop printers. track costs, improving print security, and become more environmentally aware.
PAPERCUT: Tell me about your firm. When did it start? How many people does it employ? What’s your role and how long have you been there?
BEN: I started at the firm four years ago. I’m responsible for the printing network as well as many other aspects of the IT estate. Prior to this role, I worked in the education field, which is where I first used PaperCut as a print management solution with great results.
What did your printing look like before PaperCut?
Given the sensitivity of the legal industry, managing/ensuring that prints are picked up by the correct person was an ongoing challenge. Ensuring paperwork wasn’t getting mixed up is important.
Originally, we were running desk-based printers. These were not economically viable. They were mono printers and, in this profession, we essentially needed different types of paper:
- Preprinted letterhead for clients
- Blank paper for internal copies
- Specialty archival paper for wills etc.
This also meant managing different in-trays.
As the majority of prints were from local printers, it was nearly impossible to manage paper usage and be across our corporate responsibility to reduce our environmental footprint.
What were the main pain points of that approach?
There were three main challenges with our previous approach:
- Cost – the legacy desktop-based printers needed maintenance, and toners etc. were expensive. It wasn’t a lean way of working.
- Security – in law, security is extremely important. We were opened up to risk when prints were left on the printer.
- Environmental impact – there was just no way of monitoring this. Our plan to move to PaperLite in the future meant we needed to set up now for future success.
What was the final trigger that made you look for a solution? What made you choose PaperCut over other similar solutions?
Our head office was moving locations so this was the final trigger. We were moving to a more open plan office and simply didn’t have enough room for desk-based printers: nor did we want to go down that route.
We needed a system where we could implement Find-me and release-based printing.
We had a couple of conversations with some suppliers and PaperCut came out on top. Price and usability were the main deciding factors.
What were you specifically looking for in a print management solution?
Find-me printing was a key factor because we knew we wanted to reduce the physical number of printers on the floor given the office layout. We took a staged approach and rolled out PaperCut to our head office first.
Being able to have the PaperCut license through our print dealer was also an added bonus and knew it would streamline processes.
We have Ricohs and some HP MFPs, so having the PaperCut licenses being managed through them makes integration easier. It made the process very simple with less paperwork. We already have a great relationship with them and trusted their recommendations, too.
What was your overall goal when deciding to move forward with PaperCut?
We wanted something that was simple and easy to use. We had to change our team’s mentality from desktop-based printing so needed a solution that wasn’t too difficult to get the hang of.
Overall, we also have the PaperLite strategy as a long-term goal so when we set up the new office this was a logical step.
Safety and security is also paramount in this profession.
There are many ways to use PaperCut – how have you implemented PaperCut at Porter Dodson?
Changing staff mentality is always challenging so we decided to go with a big bang when we moved into our new head office. We started with three MFDs and then just scaled up as we needed to. It’s so easy, we just call the reseller and in a couple of hours PaperCut can be deployed on other machines. We’re also now rolling out to copiers and scanners.
We use a mix of ID cards and fobs to login – we think it’s important for a user to be able to authenticate at a printer immediately.
Since we have a mix of Ricoh and HP, we don’t have complete mobility between offices. But where there’s alignment, a staff member can print from one office in the morning and easily release a print at the next office in the afternoon. So there’s the benefit of not carrying around documents.
We also have a software called Kappris, which now means we only need two different paper sources/trays – one for clients, one for internal.
Can you quantify any results that PaperCut has delivered for you?
We run a monthly report on the number of print jobs not released. We can see a saving of between 2,000-3,000 pages a month. On the old system that would cost us money.
We also look at how the same department across different offices have different printing habits. We ask the question what are they doing differently? We are starting to open up the conversation.
As we go further into becoming PaperLite and monitoring our environmental impact we will be looking at quantifying more.
At this stage we haven’t looked at the billing side. We know it’s there and available to use. I’ve had a good experience with this when I worked in education.
What can you do now that you wouldn’t have been able to do without PaperCut?
We have visibility of how much we print. In the legal profession, printing is an ingrown behavior.
The shock factor is there now because of that visibility. For example, we can say on Friday we printed 17,000 pages! In the last three years since having PaperCut, we’ve printed 10.1 million pages!
Having the data readily available definitely helps. In the legal world printing is such a big cost. The requirement to print is slowly decreasing and we have implemented a new case management system and client portal so these together with PaperCut really help. We can also see things like email increasing as the industry laws change.
Has PaperCut met your expectations?
PaperCut delivers on what it promises and has been very easy to administer and use. Having more safety on our printing and documents has also been important.
How would you summarize your overall experience with PaperCut?
Easy and efficient. I would recommend PaperCut to others!
Information security needs to be a critical component of all businesses. There are many ways to lock down your information security and there are also many ways to test how secure your organization actually is. A penetration test is one of those methods for testing the security posture of your organization.
What is a penetration test?
Penetration testing is an examination of how secure your systems, infrastructure, and buildings are— by attempting to exploit (or break into) them. By having your security vulnerabilities exposed, you get a better understanding of where your security issues are and where improvements can and should be made.
But it’s not always advantageous to get a penetration test.
When Should I Get One?
Think of it this way. If you wanted to find out how effective the security system of your house was, you could hire someone to attempt to burglarize you and your home. That’s essentially what a pen test does. If you don’t have a home security system in place yet though, the staged break-in would be too easy. It’s important that you do a home inspection and install your security controls before testing how they work.
The same is true with a penetration test. If you’ve never had a proper security assessment done on your organization and security practices (or if you don’t have security practices in place at all), finding out how vulnerable they are is both premature and a waste of your time and money.
What Should I Look For?
If you have had a security assessment done for your organization and are ready to schedule a penetration test, there are three things you should consider before selecting someone (or an organization) to conduct the security testing for you:
Is the tester just going to wing it or is there a process rooted in an industry standard? Lack of documented, repeatable methods are a sign that you’re working with an amateur.
Don’t settle for someone who’s only going to point out problems. Expect at a minimum an executive summary, a full report with “attack narrative” and appropriate, doable recommendations rooted in reality.
A Real Penetration Tester
Insist on talking to your pen tester. It’s important to vet them about his or her background and experience. At AOP we do about 100 penetration tests per year, and our team has OSCP training as well as numerous competition awards (like Defcon CTF and Wild West Hacking Fest). If you’re going to have one of these tests done, find a security expert who has similar experience and accolades, so you know you’re not just getting some ‘script kiddie’.
What Does this Cost?
At AOP, we believe in telling the truth (it’s actually our number one core value as a company). After searching for the cost of a network penetration test on my favorite search engine, few people ACTUALLY attempted to answer the question. Most just said, “it depends.”
Well, buckle up, because
Let’s do this by size of organization.
External Network Penetration Test Pricing
External testing attacks network devices from the internet.
- $5,000 for a small business (fewer than 100 employees) with fewer than 10 active, public-facing IP’s.
- $10,000-$15,000 for a medium-sized business (100-500 employees) with fewer than 25 active, public-facing IP’s.
- $15,000-$30,000 for upper mid-market companies (1,000-3,000 employees) with 25-50 active, public facing IP’s.
- $50,000+ for large companies (fortune 500-ish) with hundreds of active, public-facing IP’s.
Internal Network Penetration Test Pricing
Internal testing attacks network infrastructure from inside your network.
- $7,500 for a small business (fewer than 100 employees) with <100 network devices.
- $10,000-$15,000 for a medium-sized business (100-500 employees) with <500 network devices.
- $25,000-$50,000 for upper mid-market companies (1,000-3,000 employees) with <3,000 network nodes.
- $75,000+ for large companies (fortune 500-ish) with thousands of network nodes.
If your penetration test is pursuant to PCI compliance, add ~25% to the cost. There’s just more paperwork and a level of tedium involved to get it right.
Of course, I’m obligated to say that every network is different and that you should get a customized quote. Get a few. Make sure they are apples to
For more information on penetration testing, and to find out how to schedule one for your organization, visit AOP.com.
Nearly 70 percent of all ransomware attacks this year have targeted U.S. state, local and county governments, a new report by cybersecurity provider Barracuda Networks found.
When it comes to the IT infrastructure of your business, what is your managed IT services team doing that supports your overall technology goals? Is your provider proactively managing your IT needs, or have they left your scrambling for IT help when a problem occurs?