By Tristam Wallace
I wanted to pass along a link to a great article on MFPs and security in Computer Technology Review, written by Sharp’s Vince Jannelli.  It is a very succinct and well-written summary of security concerns around  MFPs and I agree with nearly everything in it.
However, I want to address the following statement that Vince made in relation to platform virus security:

“A proprietary platform is idea, since it won’t be susceptible to viruses designed to attack more popular operating systems available on personal computers.”

I don’t dispute the statement. But, it is important to weigh the trade offs between a proprietary platform and an open platform. While the risk of viral attack is lower because it is unlikely hackers will develop malicious code aimed at proprietary MFP platforms, the costs of managing those proprietary platforms are significant — particularly for those companies that have mixed fleets (brands) of MFPs.

This problem is becoming more apparent as MFPs increasingly fall into the realm of IT and become increasingly integrated into business and IT infrastructures. Some costs of proprietary platforms include:

IT Training and Staffing costs
Limited options for 3rd party integrations (ISVs resist developing on proprietary  platforms unless that platform has a significant majority of market share)
Integration code isn’t portable to other platforms (what happens if you switch brands, or acquire a brand through M&A, etc.)

Furthermore, there are open platform solutions on the market today for MFPs that are secure and meet the criteria that Vince laid out for solutions: data security, access control, audit trails, network security, fax security and platform virus security. To read more about how these and other security concerns are addressed in an open platform, check out the white paper, Addressing Document Imaging Security Issues.
This article originally appeared at the Document Imaging Blog