Nowadays, businesses are increasingly relying on automated print workflows for enhanced efficiency and data protection. This growing trend reflects a fundamental change towards innovative approaches that not only improve workflow efficiency but also create the need to prioritize the print security and integrity of valuable data.

To gain deeper insights into the importance of data protection, we turn to Jason Jones – an advisory engineer at Ricoh, with a background in electromechanical printers and software-driven production.

This article delves into the evolution of print workflows, Ricoh’s role in driving innovations, the mechanics of print workflow automation, and the delicate balance between efficiency and data protection.

The Evolution of Print Workflows – From Manual to Automated

Over the last decade, print workflows have undergone a remarkable transformation, moving from manual processes to highly automated, digital solutions. And not only that – a lot more industries that haven’t been part of the printing industry are getting involved.

The significant impact of cloud technology on the print production industry resulted in a trend among customers who are now shifting their workflows to cloud-based solutions. This allows for more flexibility in managing and monitoring jobs remotely, addressing the challenges posed by changes in workforce dynamics, such as increased remote work.

When we look at how the industry was previously, a lot of customers weren’t concerned with data security, however, due to data breaches a lot of industries are starting to acknowledge the importance of keeping up with proper data protection.

So businesses now embracing automation for streamlined processes are also focusing more and more on improving their data protection.

Ricoh’s Innovations in Print Workflow Technology

As a pioneer in print technology, Ricoh has been at the forefront of driving these innovations.

The adoption of cloud technology, through products like Ricoh Total Flow Producer, helps their customers achieve seamless management of print jobs from any location, boosting their flexibility and print workflow efficiency.

But as concerns about data security grow in the wake of increased breaches, Ricoh is also prioritizing and enhancing its data protection measures. Ricoh’s commitment to evolving and automating print production workflows aligns with the growing demands of businesses seeking efficient and secure solutions.

Understanding Print Workflow Automation 

Jason’s noticing a trend where businesses are craving simplicity in handling jobs—getting stuff in, doing the work, and getting it out to customers. Companies are turning to automation because they’re afraid of their competitor’s beating them to the punch. It’s all about adapting to the times, making things easier, and staying ahead in the tech game.

Key Components of an Automated Print Workflow

Print workflow automation involves leveraging digital tools to streamline and optimize processes, leading to increased operational efficiency. But when you start introducing more automation into the workflow and bringing in different programs, you also bring in an increased risk involved with data protection using automation.

“You need to consider what other elements could be an entry point for a security threat. So not only do you have to worry about your current infrastructure, but as you’re bringing in more automation – which typically involves additional software – you have to be concerned with what that software is doing, what it’s reaching out to, what does it have certain access to, is it exfiltrating your data for any reason … So you really have to look at it from a complete business standpoint and analyze every piece of it and what it’s doing with your data.”

Security Measures in Ricoh’s Print Workflow Solutions

When we delve into automating processes or use cloud-based data analytics tools, there’s a natural concern about where our data goes and what happens to it. Customers often worry about the risk of their information being leaked or targeted by threat actors. Addressing these concerns is key, and we’ve tackled this by providing detailed insights.

“Many of our software solutions have white papers that list out everything that the software is doing – from built-in features to URLs accessed. We maintain open communication with customers, explaining the software’s actions, ensuring it aligns with their strategies, and getting security team approvals. This proactive approach safeguards their data on all fronts.”

Balancing Efficiency with Data Protection – Ricoh’s Approach to Secure Automation

Within the company, especially in commercial and industrial branding, the focus is on continuous caution. This involves thorough scrutiny of vendors, partners, software, and hardware.

The commitment extends to ensuring that both Ricoh’s devices and software, as well as those integrated from external partners, are consistently updated.

Jason emphasizes the active monitoring of national vulnerability databases by both Ricoh and its vendors so that, if necessary, Immediate actions can be taken in response.

Case Studies: Success Stories of Balanced Workflows

A common challenge faced by some customers who, before engaging with Ricoh, needed a comprehensive security strategy. There was a growing concern among businesses, especially in the print industry, regarding potential threats and the need for protection.

“Many organizations are realizing the importance of a robust strategy to protect sensitive data, especially considering the rising threats like ransomware. Balancing operational efficiency with data protection is crucial in maintaining a resilient and secure print workflow.” 

When customers express these concerns to Ricoh, Jason outlines their two key approaches.

Firstly, he highlights the inherent security of some Ricoh devices, backed by advanced software, making them more secure than some competitors.

Secondly, he emphasizes Ricoh’s active role in assisting customers in further securing their devices. This involves a process of thorough hardening, including disabling unused ports and protocols, turning off unnecessary services, ultimately minimizing the potential attack surface and mitigating security risks.

Jason emphasizes the practical steps taken to enhance print security measures “We cannot guarantee, and I don’t know if any organization can guarantee a completely, vulnerable free solution, but what we’re doing is reducing that attack surface.”

The Future of Print Workflow Automation 

Looking ahead, the future of print workflow automation holds exciting possibilities. “Machine learning, AI, has been a huge topic in the news recently, so I think a lot of customers need to be on the lookout for products that are now being able to manipulate some of the workflow”.

And while Jason does encourage customers to streamline their workflows and enhance efficiency, he also highlights the importance of  adopting business intelligence tools to ensure they aren’t overlooking anything.

“They need something different than just a standard spreadsheet or bullet points. These are manual so you can easily overlook some valuable information. You need tools that can analyze that information quickly and accurately without any problems whatsoever, and make good business decisions instead by looking at something that is a little bit more factual and not what you think is happening.”

This perspective underscores the evolving landscape of print technology and the significance of integrating intelligent tools for improved business outcomes.


To wrap up, having secure and efficient print workflows is extremely important in today’s business world.

Jason emphasizes that one of the biggest misconceptions he often hears is when customers think their network, which stays within the intranet, is totally safe from external threats because their business isn’t public. But they forget about insider threats – someone within the organization causing trouble, like stealing data or introducing harmful software. It’s risky to assume that just because they’re not connected to the internet, they’re immune to all threats.

So regardless of being off the internet grid, businesses should stay vigilant and prioritize internal security measures as well.

Ricoh’s expertise and leadership in driving innovations in print workflow technology position them as a reliable partner for businesses navigating the complexities of automation and data protection. Learn more about Ricoh’s solutions here.

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Jason Jones

Meet the Author

Jason Jones

Senior Solutions Engineer at Ricoh USA with expertise in engineering and a passion for building software and 3D printing.

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