Executive Summary

Quocirca Print Security Landscape 2023

Key findings


  • Cybersecurity incidents continue to rise. Overall, 42% of organisations report an IT security breach in the past year, rising to 55% among mid-market organisations and dropping to 36% amongst large enterprises, along with 51% in the finance sector, dropping to 32% in the public sector. The highest incidence across all organisations is malware, with phishing highest in the mid-market. Security breaches increased for 61% of organisations in the past year,rising to 70% in the US and 66% in business and professional services. On average, 27% of IT security incidents were related to paper documents.
  • Reliance on printing creates a need for effective print security. Despite rapid digitisation over the course of the pandemic, 70% remain dependent on print today, rising to 72% in large organisations. A majority (80%) have changed the composition of their printer fleet over the last two years, rising to 88% in the mid-market. Overall, 79% expect to increase their print security spend in the next year, rising to 86% in the US and 85% in business and professional services and retail.
  • Print security is lower on the security agenda than other elements of IT infrastructure. Cloud or hybrid application platforms, email, public networks, and traditional end points are seen as top security risks. Employer-owned home printers come in as the seventh top security risk (21%), ahead of the office print environment (20%). Notably, there is a disparity between CIOs and CISOs. Just 18% of CIOs consider office printing a key security risk compared to 30% of CISOs.
  • Organisations are taking different approaches to managing the security of their print infrastructure. While 31% indicate they use an MPS provider, over half (54%) indicate that they use a managed security services provider (MSSP) to manage both print and IT security. This rises to 58% amongst smaller organisations (249–499 employees).
  • Organisations are finding it harder to keep up with print security demands. Overall, 39% say it is becoming harder, rising to 50% in the midmarket (500–999 employees). The top challenge is keeping print management software up to date (35%), protecting sensitive and confidential documents from being printed (34%), and securing printing in the remote/home environment (31%). Hardware security is a key concern for SMBs (29%), and highest in the finance and industrial sectors (31%) and for CISO respondents (38%).
  • Organisations using MPS or that are classified as print security leaders are more confident in the security of their print infrastructure. The visibility and control provided by an MPS appears to ease the security burden for users. While overall, only 19% of respondents are completely confident in the security of their print infrastructure, this rises to 26% amongst organisations using MPS. Overall, a further 50% say they are mostly confident. This reflects the growing complexity and challenges associated with securing both devices and documents across a hybrid workplace.
  • In the past 12 months, 61% of organisations have experienced data losses due to unsecure printing practices. This is a fall from 68% in our 2022 study. Mid-market organisations are more likely to report one or more data losses (67%) than large organisations (57%) and the public sector (49%). On average, the cost of a print-related data breach is £743K. Beyond the financial loss, the top impact of a data breach is the lost time in addressing the breach and the impact on business continuity (30%). Vulnerabilities around home printing, such as home workers not disposing of confidential information securely, was cited as a top factor contributing to data losses.
  • Quocirca’s Print Security Maturity Index reveals that only 27% of the organisations studied can be classed as Print Security Leaders, meaning they have implemented six or more security measures. The number of leaders rises to 31% in the US and falls to 18% in Germany, which also has the highest number of laggards (29%). Print Security Leaders are likely to spend more on print security, experience fewer data losses, and report higher levels of confidence in the security of their print environment. When compared by vertical, business and professional services have the largest percentage of leaders (37%), with the public sector having the least (18%).
  • Less than one-third (32%) are very satisfied with their print supplier’s security capabilities. This rises to 50% amongst US organisations and drops to 17% in Germany. Those using an MPS have far higher satisfaction levels (39% are very satisfied) than those not currently using an MPS or with no plans to use one (23%). Print security leaders – those that have adopted a range of measures, including security assessments, pull printing, and formal print security policies, are most likely to report higher satisfaction levels – 53% of leaders are very satisfied, compared to 27% of followers and only 15% of laggards.

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