Strengthening MFP Threat Prevention with Sharp Europe and Bitdefender

Strengthening MFP Threat Prevention with Sharp Europe and Bitdefender

The recent Quocirca ‘In the Spotlight’ podcast saw Jason Cort, Director of Product Planning and Marketing at Sharp Europe and Gavin Rawson, Global Director of Sales Engineering at Bitdefender, discuss the evolving threat of the security landscape and therefore the need for better print security and cybersecurity training, as well as the rise of AI and support for the channel.

The discussion was hosted by Louella Fernandez, Director of Quocirca.

The conversation opened with Fernandez asking about the cybersecurity landscape, specifically the kind of dangers SMEs are facing, as well as any potential future threats as the landscape becomes more sophisticated. 

“I work with Bitdefender’s threat intelligence products, as well as our SDKs and ISP specific products and the landscape is both fascinating and slightly terrifying,” said Rawson. “The sheer number of indicators of compromise and threat we're seeing across the hundreds of millions of endpoints we have distributed globally indicates how pervasive the threats are.” 

There is a degree of, “I’m a small business, why would they want to attack me?” but criminals don't discriminate,” said Cort. “They are looking for a vulnerability where they can strike quickly. They probably don't even know whether the target is a small business or a big enterprise. That is why it is essential to have protection at every point of the business. This can be overwhelming for customers, which is why it is important to work with partners that can help deliver results.” 

Sharp and Bitdefender Working to Protect SMEs

Sharp and Bitdefender entered into a partnership to strengthen cybersecurity threat prevention across the range of Sharp business MFPs available across Europe at the start of 2023. That partnership continues to flourish at a time when cybercriminals are increasingly targeting endpoint devices. Fernandez asked how Bitdefender technology is being used on Sharp MFPs and how it is helping protect those devices from compromise.

“We have heard how pervasive security threats are and the bar continues to rise. As a result, regulators are far more heavily involved in the consequences of a data breach in a business. Those consequences are now regulatory, both financially, and reputationally. This has resulted in a market shift, with SMEs taking security far more seriously,” said Cort. “Working with Bitdefender, who has a lot of experience working with vendors like Sharp, has allowed us to take their technology and embed it into our devices and take best advantage of their expertise.” 

“From a cybersecurity standpoint, MFPs are a very attractive target for attackers,” said Rawson. “From a technical point, we have provided the Bitdefender Anti-malware SDK.

They are a device that is always connected to the network and sometimes forgotten about. Unlike most traditional devices on the network, you know, MFPs are an IoT device so they can't take a standard endpoint solution, it's important to have some kind of security capability built into these devices.” 

Sharp ‘Enabling Growth for European SMEs’ Report

Fernandez was interested to know about the Sharp IT Services survey, and especially the challenges being faced by Sharp customers around security. 

“At Sharp, we believe it’s important to understand what the customer is thinking, their pain points, and when it comes to security what they’re not thinking about,” said Cort. “So, we surveyed over 5,000 SMEs across Europe and the results were consistent. Two out of three of those businesses and the IT professionals that we were talking to felt anxious about security, but also ill equipped to handle a data breach. It very much reinforced the point that print is often a vulnerable area, because it's an area that is often overlooked by businesses.” 

“One of the things I like about the partnership between Sharp and Bitdefender is that it's allowing customers of Sharp to put equipment on their network that is secure by design,” said Rawson. “When every device on your network can talk to any other device on the network it’s important that you have eyes on an inventory of what's there physically on your network and that each one of those is covered off from a security standpoint.” 

Sharp Security Supporting the Channel 

Cybersecurity is not only of importance to Sharp customers, but also channel partners so what are the Sharp security services and solutions that wrap around the core channel offering? 

“Education in such a fast-moving environment is vital. So, we have invested heavily in foundational learning for our channel,” said Cort. “Additionally, we've created Complete Print Security, which is a multi-layered security set of offerings, combining people, process, and technology. As you layer that security, there is more certainty and more protection for the business. We have not developed these services to simply sell direct, Channel partners will also be able to offer these services to their customers.”

What’s next for Sharp Europe and Bitdefender? 

“From a cyber security point of view, clearly develop the relationship with Bitdefender and really get the message out there to the channel and customers about the need for better print security. For the technology itself, we are also focusing our efforts on making it simple for customers to use and implement.” 

“Cybersecurity isn't going go away, it will continue to evolve but we’ve got some very exciting initiatives coming in the next few quarters,” said Rawson. “I can’t be specific but in the same way we're seeing attackers leverage new capabilities around generative AI, we’re also looking at how we can use those solutions to better protect consumers.” 

If you would like to listen to the full conversation, check out the ‘In the Spotlight’ podcast.