Modern printers can be as high-tech as computers. While this benefits efficient workflows, it also makes printers more vulnerable to hacking – especially when using wireless printers and multi-function printers (MFPs) with remote access capabilities. According to a study by Spiceworks on behalf of Hewlett-Packard (HP), 78 percent of companies don’t monitor their printers for security threats despite being a highly vulnerable piece of office equipment.
Printer Network Risks
Every day, you and your employees send documents from your computer, phone, or tablet to the printer. Documents are also scanned from the printer to desktops, and sensitive documents are faxed to other locations. Your printer processes many public and confidential documents on a daily basis. Many don’t realize that the printer has a hard drive that holds data from every document that has been printed or sent since its installation. Without proper security, it would be simple for a hacker to access the hard drive and view all its data.
When the printer is connected to company emails for scanning purposes, hackers can use their newfound access to the printer hard drive to email the data to themselves. It is also possible to make unauthorized printer configuration changes to route print jobs to a different location or send unauthorized print jobs from an outside source. Printers can even be used to attack other applications.
These dangers are more likely when your printer network includes long-range wireless connectivity. This cannot be confined to your office space. Wireless and mobile printing can be convenient, but when the network is not secure, anyone within range can easily access your printers.
Another risk is the opportunity for physical documents to be accessed. It’s easy for an office visitor or disgruntled employee to grab a document sitting on the printer and steal confidential information.
HP created a YouTube video series starring Christian Slater to highlight the many dangers of an unsecure print network.
How to Secure Your Print Network
Luckily, there are a variety of ways to protect your print network from hacks and security breaches. The first step is to change the printer’s default password. Make sure it is strong and unique, with a variety of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Change the password regularly to maintain security.
Protect your printer’s hard drive by encrypting the device. Use Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) and Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) processes to protect the information traveling in and out of the printer. Keeping your printer’s firewall and firmware up to date will also support your network security.
Protect your printed documents by setting up two-factor authentication to send and release a print job along with timed printing features. This requires your employees to enter a passcode on their device to send a job to the printer. The print won’t be released until the same passcode is entered on the printer.
At OneSOURCE, we provide Xerox and HP printers, each with their own state-of-the-art security features. Through Xerox and HP devices and OneSOURCE print management, your cybersecurity will be fortified to protect your print network from breaches.
Xerox Printer Security
The wide majority of Xerox printers and copiers are validated through the ISO 15408 Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation to meet strict security requirements. Xerox partners with McAfee, a malware and cybersecurity company, in their ConnectKey®-enabled printers to further protect their devices from viruses. Products are regularly tested for vulnerabilities so Xerox can protect their users and create new security features to stay at the forefront of printer security.
HP Printer Security
HP printers and copiers are fortified with the HP JetAdvantage Security Manager, a comprehensive print security solution that streamlines your workflow, protects your data, and ensures security compliance across your fleet of HP devices. One of the many JetAdvantage solutions, Access Control Secure Authentication, includes PINs, smartcards, and proximity card readers to secure physical printing.
Protecting your company’s print network is an important task requiring vigilant monitoring and tough security measures. OneSource provides a variety of managed print and workflow solutions paired with a large inventory of Xerox and Hewlett-Packard printing devices to keep your data safe. Contact our office to speak to our team about how to best protect your data with a print management service.