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The Hidden Costs of Printing

No-one wants a conversation about printers. Maybe that’s why so many SMBs in the UK (52%, according to one survey ) are turning a blind eye to the cost of their printing. Because if they knew what they were spending (£10,000-a-year-plus in many cases) they wouldn’t be able to keep quiet about it.

This post encourages SMBs to face up to their current printing costs and provides expert advice on how to significantly reduce printer expense.

Tackle waste

Every office can do better when it comes to waste, and printing is no exception. The top three areas for improvement are:

  • Unnecessary printing
  • Needless use of colour and high-quality settings
  • Forgetting to pick up print jobs

Fact: The average employee leaves 600 pieces of paper at the printer every year.

Training, of course, is a great way to help us change our behaviour and tackle the problem of waste. But there are several other changes that could have a more immediate impact.

Brother’s PrintSmart Cost Control is a print management solution that lets you track what, when and how much each employee prints. It enables you to identify the departments and individuals who may need additional training in reducing waste. To help them along, you can also apply quotas, limiting their printing output. Stop abandoning those poor print jobs. By introducing pull printing, employees will have to actively release print jobs at the device, helping to eradicate lost and forgotten output. What’s more, by setting default options to economical settings, you can cut back on the volume of colour, single-page and high-resolution printing.

Fact: You can shave 10% to 30% off your print budget by actively managing printing behaviour.

Avoid the traps

You can be forgiven for thinking that holding on to your old “trusted” printer is a good idea. You may convince yourself that your old printer never lets you down, and that a smart new printer has too many elements in it that can go wrong.

Fact: Businesses are so concerned by printer downtime that as many as 29% sit on a stock of replacement printers just in case a printer breaks down.

There is a way to take the risk out of buying new printers. You can partner with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider, which leases top-of-the-line products while delivering continuous supplies, maintenance and support, not to mention guidance on proper printer usage.

Fact: The average IT department spends one-third of its time dealing with office printing.

Brother MPS solutions, for example, are tailored to the specific requirements and budgets of SMBs. Our MPS customers choose from a wide range of Brother laser printers. They also avoid the need to order toner because we monitor printer usage, and customers are never left waiting for toners or repairs. And if anything does go wrong, we respond quickly.

Cut energy usage

Energy bills are always a concern. They represent a significant chunk of any company’s overheads, and anything we can do to get those costs down is going to be welcomed. Printer efficiency has improved massively in recent times, and it’s fair to say you can significantly reduce printer-related energy consumption by removing your legacy printers and moving to laser machines. The new laser models offer low-energy standby modes, which draw close to no power when the printer isn’t being used.

Fact: Modern devices are on average 36% more efficient than their predecessors.

Fact: Traditionally, printers consume 30% to 40% of their peak power demand when in idle mode.

Fact: Modern printers work by charging a capacitor when the printer is active and can save up to 12p an hour per printer.

Saving time

Is refilling the paper tray on your to-do list? This is not a priority in everyone’s day and time we can ill afford to waste, especially when there aren’t enough hours in the day as it is. Having extra paper capacity would certainly save time and improve efficiency. And with Brother laser printers you can add up to four extra paper trays so that your printing capacity grows and contracts in line with your business cycles. Furthermore, by tracking printer usage, using Brother’s PrintSmart Cost Control you can see how usage changes over time, allowing you to fine-tune your printer strategy.

Get more flexible

We can’t do everything from our desks. We regularly have to attend meetings, and often these meetings aren’t scheduled in advance – they’re last-minute. If you’re tied to one printer, working efficiently in this environment can be challenging. However, with the pull-print functions in Brother laser printers, you can print, scan and copy from any device around the office. Plus, if your regular printer isn’t working for some reason, it won’t slow you down because you can print from the next nearest machine.

Be welcoming and secure

Offices are also places to welcome customers, hold business discussions and make presentations. But customers are as busy as we are, so a visit to your office can feel like a disruption. Imagine how they would feel if they could work and print from your office as easily as they can from their own.

All Brother SMB laser printers come with reliable security features such as Secure Print+ and User Authentication that allow secure guest printing. Plus, there are Papercut and Ringdale, to ensure private information stays private.

Where do I begin?

At this point, you may be thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot to take in. What do I do next?” Partnering with Brother MPS would be a good first step. We can advise you on printer models, handle printer procurement and provide guidance on proper printer usage.

Fact: Brother has a long history of delivering an industryleading service: more than 90% of our customers renew their MPS contracts.


Printing doesn’t need to be a drain on your resources. By choosing Brother, you can drive down costs while gaining a flexible and high-performing printer infrastructure that helps employees work more efficiently.

So maybe now is the time to confront your printing costs and eliminate the risk of any nasty surprises that may lead to an awkward printer conversation.

If you think you might be spending too much on your printer fleet, Contact us to reveal the savings you could make.

Kerbury Business Centre 01440 708686

GDPR, What You Need to Know

GDPR, What You Need to Know

It’s not often that a piece of regulation affects everyone in business, but this one does.

If your normal work activities involve storing or using information relating to named individuals – customers (past, present and prospective), suppliers and employees, then you need to take note of GDPR.

What is it?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),  came into effect on 25th May 2018, it provides a legal framework for keeping everyone’s personal data safe by requiring companies to have vigerous processes in place for handling and storing personal information. It’s also designed to protect us as individuals from being contacted by organisations without our permission.

Why does it matter?

  • The GDPR is bigger than its predecessor, the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998), and has many new rules which are significantly different in certain areas, such as:
  • A wider definition of ‘personal data’ which covers more information than ever before;
  • Data processors (i.e. firms that process personal data on behalf of another business, such as an outsourced payroll service) will be required to comply with the GDPR, whereas they weren’t required to comply with the DPA 1998;
  • Businesses based outside of the EU will have to comply if they offer goods or services into the EU (one to watch post-Brexit!);
  • When obtaining ‘consent’ from individuals, it must now be explicit and specific – it’s all about ‘opting in’ (and knowing exactly what we’re signing up for) rather than ‘opting out’. The old rules placed the onus on the individual to ask to be removed from a mailing list. In future, businesses must ask for consent from the very start;
  • A duty to report data breaches to the Information Commissioner within very strict timeframes;
  • A new ‘right to be forgotten’;
  • The statutory need for certain businesses to appoint data protection officers, responsible for overseeing the new requirements for record-keeping and data impact assessments;
  • An easier process for individuals to claim compensation from a non-compliant business
  • Tougher penalties for non-compliance.

Who needs to know?

As well as operational policies for marketing teams and data handlers, firms may be required to appoint data protection officers and conduct privacy impact assessments. The content of trading contracts between businesses has become more complicated. So HR, operations, business development, and marketing should all be involved, and everyone in the business who uses data should be aware of how to comply.

While some industries will be more affected than others – those in the direct marketing industry, consumer-facing businesses, firms that trade internationally, through e-commerce or that hold huge customer databases – the GDPR will touch every business to some degree.

Five things to check now:

This hasn’t been just a minor change, it’s much more expansive than that. So, with that in mind, here are five things that you need to address, if you haven’t already.

  • Information held: Do you know what personal data you currently hold, where it came from and what it is used for? If not, carrying out an information audit will help identify areas for reform;
  • Privacy notices: Check your current privacy notices (the statement that describes what you use data for), do they meet GDPR requirements? Remember they should be kept under continuous review and updated when something changes;
  • Rights: Ensure that your procedures cover all the rights of an individual, including how data would be provided in response to a request or how you might action a request for erasure;
  • Gathering consent: Does how you gather and record consent comply with the GDPR?
  • Information for children: Storing information on children requires parental or guardian consent, have you put in place adequate verification of individuals’ ages to facilitate the proper consent procedure?

What can you do?

The demands and requirements are high. Ensuring all policies relating to data protection are at least current is a good starting point, followed by an audit of your data, which we can help you with. Going forward, you should be looking to ensure that any new business contracts you enter into contain appropriate compliant data clauses, and any existing contracts are amended.

Our team is available to help, Call us on 01440 708686

Cyber Essentials! What is it?          Do I need it?

Cyber Essentials! What is it? Do I need it?

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed, industry-supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common online threats.
With Cyber Essentials, you can prevent around 80% of cyber-attacks. (HM Government 2016)

The Government worked with the Information Assurance for Small and Medium Enterprises (IASME) consortium and the Information Security Forum (ISF) to develop Cyber Essentials, a set of basic technical controls to help organisations protect themselves against common online security threats.

Why do I need Cyber Essentials?
• Reassure customers that you take cyber security seriously
• You will be listed on the Directory of organisations awarded Cyber Essentials
• Attract new business with the promise you have cyber security measures in place
• The scheme will also increase your opportunities within the private sector as it is required for UK Government contracts that involve the handling of personal and sensitive information.

Use a firewall to secure your Internet connection

You should protect your Internet connection with a firewall. This effectively creates a ‘buffer zone’ between your IT network and other, external networks.
In the simplest case, this means between your computer (or computers) and ‘the Internet’. Within this buffer zone, incoming traffic can be analysed to find out whether or not it should be allowed onto your network.

You could use a personal firewall on your internet connected laptop (normally included within your Operating System at no extra charge). Or, if you have a more complicated set up with many different types of devices, you might require a dedicated boundary firewall, which places a protective buffer around your network as a whole. Some routers will contain a firewall which could be used in this boundary protection role. But this can’t be guaranteed.

Cyber Essentials Certification requires that you configure and use a firewall to protect all your devices, particularly those that connect to public or other untrusted Wi-Fi networks.

Choose the most secure settings for your devices and software

Manufacturers often set the default configurations of new software and devices to be as open and multi-functional as possible. They come with ‘everything on’ to make them easily connectable and usable. Unfortunately, these settings can also provide cyber attackers with opportunities to gain unauthorised access to your data, often with ease. Check the settings So, you should always check the settings of new software and devices and where possible, make changes which raise your level of security. For example, by disabling or removing any functions, accounts or services which you do not require.

Use passwords: Your laptops, desktop computers, tablets and smartphones contain your data, but they also store the details of the online accounts that you access, so both your devices and your accounts should always be password-protected. Passwords – when implemented correctly – are an easy and effective way to prevent unauthorised users accessing your devices. Passwords should be easy to remember and hard for somebody else to guess. The default passwords which come with new devices such as ‘admin’ and ‘password’ are the easiest of all for attackers to guess. So you must change all default passwords before devices are distributed and used. The use of PINs or touch-ID can also help secure your device.

Extra Security For ‘important’ accounts, such as banking and IT administration, you should use two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA. A common and effective example of this involves a code sent to your smartphone which you must enter in addition to your password.

Cyber Essentials Certification requires that only necessary software, accounts and apps are used. If you would like more information on choosing passwords, Choose the most secure settings for your devices and software

Control who has access to your data and services

To minimise the potential damage that could be done if an account is misused or stolen, staff accounts should have just enough access to software, settings, online services and device connectivity functions for them to perform their role. Extra permissions should only be given to those who need them.

Administrative accounts Check what privileges your accounts have – accounts with administrative privileges should only be used to perform administrative tasks. Standard accounts should be used for general work. By ensuring that your staff don’t browse the web or check emails from an account with administrative privileges you cut down on the chance that an admin account will be compromised. This is important because an attacker with unauthorised access to an administrative account can be far more damaging than one accessing a standard user account.

Access to software Another simple and effective way to ensure your devices stay secure and malware-free is to only use software from official sources. The easiest way to do this is to only allow your users to install software from manufacturer approved stores, which will be screening for malware. For mobile devices, this means sources such as Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Cyber Essentials Certification requires that you control access to your data through user accounts, that administration privileges are only given to those that need them, and that what an administrator can do with those accounts is controlled. Control who has access to your data and services

Protect yourself from viruses and other malware

Malware is short for ‘malicious software’. One specific example is ransomware, which you may have heard mentioned in the news. This form of malware makes data or systems it has infected unusable until the victim makes a payment. Viruses are another well-known form of malware. These programs are designed to infect legitimate software, passing unnoticed between machines, whenever they can.

Where does malware come from? There are various ways in which malware can find its way onto a computer. A user may open an infected email attachment, browse a malicious website, or use a removable storage drive, such as a USB memory stick, which is carrying malware.

How to defend against malware Anti-malware measures are often included for free within popular operating systems. For example, Windows has Defender and MacOS has XProtect. These should be used on all computers and laptops. For your office equipment, you can pretty much click ‘enable’, and you’re instantly safer.

Smartphones and tablets should be kept up to date, password protected and where possible, you should turn on the ability to track and erase lost devices. If you can avoid connecting to unknown wi-fi networks, this will help to keep your devices free of malware too.

Whitelisting: can also be used to prevent users installing and running applications that may contain malware. The process involves an administrator creating a list of applications allowed on a device. Any application not on this list will be blocked from running. This is a strong protection as it works even if the malware is undetectable to anti-virus software. It also requires little maintenance.

Sandboxing: Where possible, use versions of the applications that support sandboxing. For instance, most modern web browsers implement some form of sandbox protection. A sandboxed application is run in an isolated environment with very restricted access to the rest of your device and network. In other words, your files and other applications are kept beyond the reach of malware, if possible. If you would like to learn more about preventing malware, the NCSC has guidance which you may find useful.

Cyber Essentials Certification requires that you implement at least one of the approaches listed above to defend against malware. Protect yourself from viruses and other malware

Keep your devices and software up to date

No matter which phones, tablets, laptops or computers your organisation is using, it’s important they are kept up to date at all times. This is true for both Operating Systems and installed apps or software. Happily, doing so is quick, easy, and free. Also known as ‘Patching’ Manufacturers and developers release regular updates which not only add new features, but also fix any security vulnerabilities that have been discovered. Applying these updates is one of the most important things you can do to improve security.

Operating systems, programmes, phones and apps should all be set to ‘automatically update’ wherever this is an option. This way, you will be protected as soon as the update is released. However, all IT has a limited lifespan. When the manufacturer no longer supports your hardware or software and new updates cease to appear, you should consider a modern replacement.

Cyber Essentials Certification requires that you keep your devices, software and apps up to date. Keep your devices and software up to date

Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks

How much do you know about Cyber Security?

Cyber attacks are on the increase with small business being particularly at risk possibly due to the cost of good security or maybe not realising the significance of it! 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s just big companies at risk.

Every time you open an email, shop online or enter any personal information you are at risk of an attack. Hackers can take your information and use it in many ways.

We can provide a Cyber Security Assessment to help you identify the risks and put plans in place before the unthinkable happens.

Call us on 01440 708686