Ricoh Workstyle is no longer active. You can keep up to date with the latest thinking from Ricoh UK on our new blog, Ricoh Insights.

Within the office and business environment, consumer devices are rapidly entering the IT domain. Users are bringing their own smart devices into the office and expecting to use them. What’s more, they also expect to print from them.

This trend, which is more commonly known by the acronym BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), is part of a wider and more profound shift in the way our workplaces are changing.

An increasingly mobile workforce and the wider consumerisation of technology within the workplace are rapidly and substantially transforming the way in which IT departments and IT managers connect workers to their organisation’s network and manage issues such as information management, collaboration and information security.

According to IDC, by 2016, the total number of pages printed from mobile smart devices is expected to increase at a year-on-year rate of 12%. Compare this to the number of pages printed from PCs – a decline of 5%.

These forecasts may, at first glance, seems to be counter intuitive because they show that the handheld device, which was never really intended to send prints, is actually driving print volumes and will continue to do so into the future.

How does this impact the IT manager?

Firstly, the IT manager probably has recurring nightmares about security. Amazingly, about 80% of mobile devices contain unsecured apps that can expose data. Under such circumstances, how can any IT manager be sure that confidential documents stay confidential?

One option may be to outlaw any personal devices in the office. But that could affect employee job satisfaction and morale and, in some cases, it may even affect productivity. Moreover, it will certainly not do much to enhance goodwill towards the IT department. And none of these potential outcomes are likely to be welcomed by the organisation and senior management.

More generally, the rise of mobile devices is unlikely to slow down Technologyfor the foreseeable future. IDC reports that by 2016, employee owned smartphones, tablets and PCs in the workplace will increase from 2 billion to more than 5.25 billion.

As far as turning back the tide and restricting personal device use in the office, that stable door is wide open and the horses are well and truly bolting off into the distance. All the IT manager can do is watch them gallop away.

It may be better to go with the flow and manage the situation, rather than sit like King Canute on the beach and get very wet.

Indeed, there are practical things that the IT manager can do turn this potentially challenging situation into a positive one.

As far as printing is concerned, the IT manager should choose solutions that give permissions to the right people to print and channel those prints securely to the right printing device.

In addition, the IT manager should choose solutions with secure smart device apps that strongly encrypt data through the whole of the process from the start to the end point.

And finally, the IT manager should make sure that those prints are held on the printing device until needed and not printed out for the whole office to see. By building secure print release into the solution, it allows the print to be released and printed only after the user has personally identified themselves at the device beforehand.

Ricoh has several solutions – including the new start.ricoh service – that allow IT Managers to embrace mobile printing as another positive development in our fast-evolving world of work that offers flexibility and choice to the user.

Ricoh Workstyle is no longer active. You can keep up to date with the latest thinking from Ricoh UK on our new blog, Ricoh Insights.

Download your FREE copy of Automated, Creative & Dispersed - The Future Of Work in the 21st Century by the Economist Intelligence Unit

Download now