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If Only Google Had an In-plant

October 19, 2012

By now, most of us have heard that commercial printing giant RR Donnelley committed a major security blunder by releasing one of its clients' earnings reports too early and without authorization. That the client was Google, whose shares immediately plunged as a result, made this mistake all the more scandalous. (If you just woke up and haven't yet read about Donnelley's enormous slip-up, here's a story. And here's another.)

Those of us in the in-plant world—where maintaining the security of our parent organization's documents is not just a promise to a customer but is vital to our future employment—can't help but wonder if such a thing could have happened if Google had its own in-plant.

"I agree that, if Google had an in-plant, they would not have had the same issue," contends Mike Schrader, manager of Brunswick Printing Solutions, in Fond du Lac, Wis. "I feel the best advantage of in-plants is that we work for our parent organization; everything we do is for the betterment of that organization. We look out for their welfare and take pride in doing the best we can for them.

"Commercial printers, especially the big ones, only look out for themselves and do not take the time to truly care for their customers. By definition this is one of our greatest assets and one of the reasons we [in-plants] should always be around."

Out in Denver, Mike Lincoln, who heads up Colorado's Integrated Document Solutions (IDS) operation, agrees. "IDS is responsible for printing items for high-profile customers, ranging from the governors’ office to agencies of the state," he notes. "Staff members are frequently asked to print items to be distributed at press conferences or other venues that a premature release would be detrimental to an event. Even further, in some cases we may be asked to print and drop mail on a specific date to be timed with a press release.

"Only with a dedicated staff/organization, such as an in-plant operation, with its parent’s best interest in mind, can you safeguard against early distribution of sensitive information. Yes, commercial contractors will tell you that they can place the same safeguards, but at the end of the day, those entities report to shareholders, private owners, etc. In many cases their failure will be classified as a percentage failure in a massive pool of customers. But if it’s your organization, their “less than 1 percent” failure could significantly damage your organization's reputation, or worse."



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