Like personal computers, modern business printers can connect to the internet, share files with cloud services, and even send faxes. Without the proper safety measures in place, hackers could compromise your business’s network and IP address.
It isn’t always easy for IT pros to know how to protect printers from hackers and other cyberthreats. Multiple vectors of attack are becoming increasingly common due to the proliferation of mobile devices, cloud services, wireless printers, telecommuters, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
Safeguarding print devices from the time someone presses print until someone picks up the documents is crucial in almost any business environment. In this article we highlight a few tips that will make your printing environment more secure.
How to Secure Your Printing Environment
Manage Your User Base Efficiently
Managing your staff should be your top priority. The greatest risk to your company’s safety comes from within: its own personnel. Human mistake is the root cause of over 90% of security flaws. Your own staff members are a major security risk. Workers rarely engage in bad intent. Mistakes are simple to make, such as printing a sensitive document and then forgetting about it on the printer.
If you use a private printer, the printer’s memory will still store any documents you print, no matter how private they are. These records can be compromised without adequate protection.
Employees need to be given training and education on the proper procedures to follow when printing to maintain security. Learning about the dangers helps people prepare for them. They will be more inclined to use printer security if they understand the need of doing so.
Developing a security culture and putting in place the necessary procedures to ensure it are at the heart of operational security. The security culture of an establishment is exemplified by good procedural security in the printing environment, that includes:
- The procedure through which users (those with valid network logins or door access cards, for instance) are granted access to the printers and photocopiers in a given location.
- Controlling when individuals or groups can use a printer, by setting access criteria such as the hours during which printing is permitted. Accounts with limited printing permissions should be set up. Team members who print sensitive documents need additional security clearance and tracking settings.
- Instruction in the proper use of printers and the safekeeping of printed materials; including topics such what is and is not appropriate to print, as well as how to handle sensitive data.
- Format and report audit logs, including who has access and how the data should be used.
- Also consider the appropriate application of features like print protocol selection; card-based printer access; two-factor authentication like combining a pin and a card; and watermarking and digital signatures.
Put Money Into Your Equipment
The printer should be secured after the team has been briefed and tracked. If you have a network of copiers, make sure you know where every hardware unity came from, especially of you are leasing the equipment.
Learn the safety measures taken by each printer in your fleet. The most up-to-date devices already incorporate safeguards meant to keep your network safe. Use the company firewall to restrict printing to the local area network by restricting access to the multifunction printers to only trusted IP addresses.
As was previously discussed, the printer’s memory is where documents are kept. Most modern printers feature privacy options that let you delete print jobs that contain sensitive information. If your printers don’t already have these safety measures, it’s time for an upgrade.
Last but not least, consider the physical placement of your gadgets; for example, keep printers in places where their use can be easily monitored.
Use Trusted Software
Amazing software solutions exist for keeping an eye on and protecting your office’s printing infrastructure. As an alternative to buying private printers for printing sensitive material, these tools may be more cost-effective.
Tools in software make it possible for workers to safely share a printer. The settings of secure print software put print jobs on hold until the user enters an access code or PIN at the copier MFP printer, at which point the device prints. Having sensitive paperwork on display for anybody to take can be avoided using this function.
Make Sure Software is Regularly Updated and Patched
It is crucial to keep track of the security of the software installed on the devices connected to your network. It is vital to establish processes for conducting network vulnerability assessments.
You should always be on the lookout for new security updates and apply them as soon as possible. While this is routinely done on employee laptops, many businesses forget to apply the same process to their printers. This stage is essential and cannot be skipped.
If you haven’t already, add your printers and other devices to the company’s established network of security measures. The more entry points into your company you can shut down, the safer it will be.
A service provider who stands behind their work is one who wants to collaborate with you for the long haul. Contact our specialist right away to learn more about our cost-effective copier rentals or the top printers for sale in South Africa. We also offer a range of paper shredders for sale, including the world-renowned Kobra paper shredders.