Dr. Carl Blue

Cyber Security Awareness in the Variable Data and Direct Mail Printing Industries and the Consequences of Data Breaches

Dr. Carl Blue and Dr. Charles T. Weiss, Clemson University

The variable data printing (VDP), and direct mail (DM) markets are witnessing impressive growth due to its high adoption rate and rise in digitalization. This continuing trend toward designing and delivering individualized mail and targeted printed materials is dependent on accessing computer databases of personal, demographic, and geographical information. This increasing reliance on computer databases by these data controllers and data processors heightens the need for comprehensive approaches in expanding data security awareness and mitigating risk. In VDP and DM operations  where production controls were relatively insecure in the past, there is now a heightened need for developing approaches to mitigating risk and implementing comprehensive contingency plans for responding to data breaches in these highly competitive industries. Furthermore, our educational centers associated with the diversity of graphics industries are encouraged to implement curriculum on security awareness and training for secure data management. Academic programs that ignore these dangers of not implementing security awareness are putting their students’ reputations and future employers at a disadvantage. The goal of this report is to bring cyber security awareness to the graphics industry along with those in academia on the increasing need of awareness of the risks involved in keeping data secure.

Areas of focus: Variable data printing, what is it and how the data is used; Direct mail advertising and services, what is it and how the data is used; Cyber security, the techniques used to protect the integrity of networks, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access; Data breaches, including case studies where data associated to digital printing and direct mail services were compromised; And, recommendations for developing and incorporating data security practicum around variable data printing and direct mail services in academic courses.

Major Points:

  • Variable Data Printing – what is it and how is the data is used and integrated into printed material.
  • Direct Mail Advertising – What is it and how is the data is used and integrated into direct mail printed material.
  • Cyber Security – Explore techniques used to protect the integrity of networks, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized
  • Data Breaches – Case studies where data associated to digital printing and direct mail services have been compromised
  • Strategies and recommendations for developing and incorporating data security models and practicum around variable data printing and direct mail

This paper has been developed by two faculty members collaborating on data security in the variable data printing and direct mail services. This includes a shared focus on developing curriculum and educating students for careers in the graphics industry, as well as working with industry partners in enhancing their variable data printing and direct mail services. This collaboration links the scholarly pursuits of those connected to the graphics industry with those in the information security of an increasing need of awareness of the risks involved in keeping data secure. With the increase of data breaches across the spectrum of industries and organization that compile and use data, a heightened awareness of the risks involved in keeping data secure is the goal of this paper.