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4 Key Elements Of Printer Security

Posted by Integrity Staff on December 26, 2019 at 10:00 AM

printer-security

There may be nothing more frustrating and productivity-destroying for your employees than a printer that doesn't work.

But what many people don't realize is that a company's printer system can also be a major source of vulnerability to a security breach.

Interestingly, research indicates that most printers come with sophisticated built-in security features, but these features are often overlooked and not turned on.

The result? A company's printer system becomes a major soft target to hackers looking to access sensitive data. 

It's time your company's security leaders takes the necessary steps to minimize the risk of a major network compromise through something as simple and ubiquitous as a popular office supply. 

 

4 Key Elements of Printer Security

Keep your company safer from cyber-attackers by fortifying your printer system with these essential steps.

 

1. Run a Formal Printer Security Assessment 

Consult with secure print professionals who can install utility software that will verify the current security settings of your organization's printers and printer system. This helps your security team identify non-compliant, underused, or out-of-date features that need to be rectified.

 

Not just printers—when was the last time your organization completed its annual cybersecurity assessment? 

 

2. Implement Authentication and Access Controls

Just because so many people use printers in your company doesn't mean you should leave these devices open to anyone. Implementing controls like badge scans or pass codes allows you to limit and monitor who's using your company printers and understand how often the printers are being used.

Far from micromanaging, this type of authentication and access control protects everyone in your company from unauthorized printer usage and can streamline investigations in the event that a future breach is suspected.

 

3. Use Secure Release Options

Did you know? Print software exists that allow jobs to be held at the server until an authorized user authenticates the job at the printer for release (via a badge scan or pass code, for example).

This is a handy and important feature because it prevents sensitive data from being printed, abandoned and/or taken at the tray, and subsequently implicated in a security breach or compliance violation, both of which can have major brand reputation and legal implications. (It doesn't take much to imagine the serious repercussions of a non-disclosure agreement or document containing HIPAA-protected information falling into the wrong hands). 

Compare this to the popular and tongue-in-cheek "print and sprint" strategy that expects a user to send a print job to the printer and then race to the device in order to retrieve their document before anyone else sees it. While this may be appropriate for a private home printer system, many security experts find it inappropriate for professional organizations. 

By installing a secure release feature with your printer system, you can dramatically reduce the risk of sensitive information being accessed by anyone other than need-to-know team members. When arriving at a printer, the user can use their badge or code to print or delete the job. Additionally, secure release can also be designed to automatically delete print jobs that are held at the server and not released within a certain amount of time. 

 

4. Keep Your Printer Software Updated 

As mentioned, research suggests that many organizations use printers and printer systems that come complete with mature security-systems that are never actually used. So, make sure your printers' security software is updated and appropriately activated.

Also, make sure your security team is aware of software updates that can maximize your printer network security. This may include software that can regularly check for updates, detect potential threats and intrusions, and instantly provide notification of any suspected problems.

In addition to software, be sure to delegate the task of making sure your printing hardware is working properly. Unmanaged or malfunctioning printers can be a major threat to your security, so make sure there is at least one person or group of people on your team dedicated to minding these important office devices.

Is your company-wide printer system secure and in good working order? Contact Integrity Technology Solutions to learn more about how we can help you close up any security holes in your printing system and keep you in compliance with industry-specific security and compliance regulations.

Schedule your annual cybersecurity assessment today

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay