When assessing internet security, many people neglect print security. Although this aspect is frequently forgotten, your printers play an important role in the level of security within your office. No matter how many printers you may have at your business, ensuring they have enhanced security levels can protect your company from a multitude of threats and data breaches. If reading this instills you with a sense of panic, don’t worry – we have a 5-step checklist to make sure you and your printers stay safe and secure.
- Start with individuals
- Enable your firewall
- Limit permissions
- Encrypt your data
- Stay updated
The first place to start is with the individuals in your company, the people who are using devices on your network everyday. Many data breaches happen on this level, simply based on user error that can easily happen during network usage. The best way to combat these issues is to introduce good printer protocol on an employee level. Take the time to train your employees about best practices within your printer network and help them to understand the “why” of print security.
With this knowledge, employees are able to use printers responsibly and understand the risks associated with poor print security. The main goal of establishing this protocol is to keep confidential data private and to properly dispose of any files when necessary. If this seems like a big overhaul for your business to complete, you can enlist the help of managed print services to make sure your employees’ print activity is properly monitored and regulated.
Although this may seem like a simple and straightforward task in the realm of internet security, it’s a step that can make a huge difference in your network infrastructure. Ensure every user’s computer has a firewall enabled, and remember to enable a firewall on your printer as well. This decreases the risk of cyberattacks conducted by hackers and can protect your data.
Another consideration, usually performed within larger businesses with broader capabilities, is to place your printer on a separate network than the other devices in the office. It serves as another barrier to any parties attempting breaches, which is why it’s important to have numerous points of defense. By placing a printer on a separate VLAN and using a firewall, you have extra protection that can keep your data safe.
Another step to take on the user level is to restrict who has permission to each printer and what features each user has access to. If access is limited based on what features users actually need, it allows only a select group of people to use the printer, preventing a number of security problems. This can also be completed through password or PIN protection; we recommend setting this up through your information technology department or alternatively through a managed print solution. It’s important to update passwords or PINs frequently, as with any password you use. Many printers have the capability to require log-on credentials, which is a great function to enhance your printer’s security. These features offer significant security increases.
Typically, print jobs travel through your network in plain text, making them a major security risk in the hands of a hacker. When you encrypt your data, however, this changes the way the data appears. Encryption prevents hackers from being able to decipher the code, effectively eliminating major risks.
Additionally, the printer drive typically stores the data of the jobs printed on it. You can (and should) encrypt this data as well. This is often a blind spot in many IT efforts, as you may have these protections on the computers but forget to implement them across other devices, such as printers. With this being said, you may also find it beneficial to enable automatic data deletion after a certain amount of time so the printer doesn’t hold data from various print jobs for an unnecessary amount of time.
When it’s time to retire one of your printers, make sure that you properly clear the device’s data. If your business’s printer has not been cleared before disposing, it could be a potential hazard to your security.
Keep your eyes peeled for security updates. Making sure these systems remain up-to-date prevents hackers from taking advantage of any weak spots. Firmware updates keep your printers from falling victim to any possible vulnerabilities in the system. Again, this is often a focus when it comes to employee computers, but it can be forgotten on the office’s printers. The same security protocol, such as updating the software, should exist across all devices in order to ensure the most comprehensive protection possible. Outdated systems pose a huge risk to your network.
The importance of printer protection
Whether you execute these strategies yourself or through the help of a managed print service, it’s crucial to stay on top of best practices in print security to guard your data to the best of your abilities. If you’re seeking expertise on the best ways to protect your business in the technology sphere, look no further than Goodsuite. Visit their website today to receive a free technology assessment and a customized plan from an experienced profession. With the right technology guidance, your business can grow safely and securely!