Ricoh and Cisco form strategic partnership to empower and improve digital workplaces

Ricoh and Cisco Systems have announced a global strategic partnership aimed at providing cloud solutions to empower digital workplaces to deliver increased productivity in a more secure environment. The two companies will jointly develop solutions that deliver simpler and more secure environments in three layers – cloud, network and device – to promote digital transformation while improving productivity.

In a joint statement, the companies said that firms today are faced with the significant challenge of improving productivity by using the latest in digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). While many companies are promoting new ways of working, they need to address increasingly diverse workstyles that aren’t restricted by place or time, while using cloud and mobile computing. At the same time, security threats such as unauthorized access and information leakage are becoming increasingly “vicious and sophisticated.” To address the advance of cyber attacks entails expertise and huge costs for most companies. Small and medium-sized businesses that can’t afford to have dedicated IT administrators. As well, larger enterprises spread across multiple locations need a solution to maintain and manage a secure environment more simply and at a lower cost.

The Ricoh IM C Series of intelligent multi-functional printers (MFPs).

In January of 2019, Ricoh launched the Ricoh IM C Series of next-generation intelligent multi-functional printers along with the Ricoh Smart Integration cloud platform. By connecting multi-functional printers and other office devices with the latest cloud services via Ricoh Smart Integration, the OEM “brings employees together, contributes to a digital workplace that supports intellectual productivity, and enables smarter ways of working for customers.” To enable safe cloud use, more than 250 researchers at Cisco’s security research team Talos collect threat information and improve security products. Cisco also offers Cisco Meraki for simple, cloud-based network management supporting customers’ digital transformations.

By combining Ricoh Smart Integration and Cisco cloud security solutions under this partnership, Cisco and Ricoh will connect (using Cisco Meraki, the Ricoh IM C Series of next-generation multi-functional printers, and other office devices) seamlessly and securely with multiple cloud services. This solution will reduce the time required for implementation, operation and management, the companies added. Also, by bringing together Ricoh Smart Integration with Cisco’s information leakage detection/prevention and other advanced authentication features, the solution will support processes that require higher security levels. This will be the first partnership program in the Ricoh Smart Integration partner program, which will be implemented in the Spring of 2019.

The two companies will work to provide secure and autonomous network connections for multi-functional printers and other IoT devices. This will deliver more secure connectivity for a diverse set of devices. Integration of Ricoh products and the Cisco Identity Service Engine will also enable automated operation and management of connected devices and appropriate security settings, which are increasingly in demand at larger enterprises, and allow companies to make proposals supporting Software Defined Network (SDN) and IoT. Cisco and Ricoh will start to implement the solution on a trial basis starting this April. After verification, it’ll initially be offered in Japan after September of 2019, followed by a global deployment.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.