- Your documents and print data are exposed to a number of security threats. These threats can come from your printer’s internet connection and from inside the office itself.
- You can secure your printer by keeping your passwords and software up to date, disabling unwanted features, encrypting your documents, requiring authentication, and performing regular security audits.
- You can physically secure your printer by keeping the paper tray clear and putting your printer in a controlled environment.
- A managed print provider can help you decide which printing solution is best for your business.
Why Do You Need To Secure Your Printer?
Think about all of the sensitive information that you print: client contracts, pay stubs, insurance information, tax documents—the list goes on. When these documents are left at the printer for even just a few minutes, they become accessible to anyone in the office.
In addition, modern printers are just one of the many devices in your office that are part of the Internet of Things, meaning they use an internet connection to print from your network. Although this has a number of benefits—like cloud printing—it also comes with a variety of security risks. When your printer connects to the network, it becomes an avenue that cybercriminals can use to access your data.
In order to ward off security threats, it’s important to secure all of your print devices. Here are a few ways you can secure your printers.
Printers and Cybersecurity
Modern print devices are intelligent, programmable, and reliable. However, their connection to the internet makes them susceptible to the same security threats as your computer or other network devices.
Update Your Office Printer’s Password
Proper password protocol is the first step in maintaining print data security. Most modern printers come equipped with a default password that can easily be found online. It’s critical to update your printer password to something unique and hard to crack. Here are a few tips for crafting a strong password:
- Use at least 12 characters.
- Include numbers, symbols, capital letters, and lowercase letters.
- Don’t include common words or phrases.
- Don’t use the same password across multiple locations.
Having a strong password and updating it regularly can reduce the possibility of unauthorized access to your printer or queued print jobs.
Stay On Top of Updates
Printer manufacturers release updates regularly. These updates patch existing printer issues, provide new user functions, and upgrade security protocol. Not only do these updates ensure that your device is functioning to the best of its ability, they can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your network. These criminals are constantly looking for back doors into your system, hoping to uncover sensitive information, documents, or data that they can use against your company. These security updates can stop them in their tracks.
Disable Unwanted Features
Modern printers come with a variety of bells and whistles designed to make the printing process as intuitive as possible. However, it’s likely that some of these features won’t be applicable to your business, so you can disable them.
Turning off these unnecessary features actually helps secure your printer by reducing the number of entry points into your network. This gives cybercriminals fewer avenues to break into your network and harvest your data, as unmonitored access points are the perfect way for them to slip in.
Encrypt Your Printer Data and Authenticate Users
You can also ensure that you’re printing securely by using encryption. If you encrypt print jobs and queues, the data becomes unreadable to prying eyes. In addition, you can make document owners verify their identity before being able to print a document. This way, only authorized users are allowed access to the printer and printer data.
Encryption and authentication are critical for companies that use bluetooth or cloud printing. Because this form of printing goes through your network, it needs to be as secure as possible. Encryption prevents unauthorized users from accessing data within the printing system, and authentication prevents them from releasing a print job in the first place.
Audit Printers Regularly
Performing regular security audits can also secure your printer. These audits identify your printer network strength, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for improvement. One of the easiest ways to perform an accurate printer audit is by contracting a managed print provider. These providers are up to date on the current cybersecurity landscape and will be able to help your company adapt to new threats. During their audit, your provider can identify all of the security risks that might go unnoticed by an untrained eye.
Interested in managed print services? We have your solution.
Although there are a number of ways you can improve your printer’s cybersecurity, you can also physically secure it to prevent sensitive data or documents from being accessed by unauthorized users. Here’s two more ways to further secure your printer.
Empty the Paper Tray
When you print something on a shared printer, pick it up from the paper tray immediately. This ensures that sensitive information can’t be seen by someone else. Although this security tip may seem painfully obvious, it’s very easy to leave a document in the paper tray. Whether you get distracted or just haven’t gotten around to picking up your document, your information is exposed for anyone to see.
Keep Your Printer in a Controlled Space
Your documents shouldn’t be accessible to just anyone. Another way you can improve your printer security is by moving your devices to a controlled space, like a separate room. This way, only those with proper authorization are able to retrieve printed documents. You can even require key card or PIN access to the printer room to further strengthen your printer security.
Superior Print Management and Security
Every business can benefit from improved printer security, and the best way to do that is to contract a managed print provider. At Superior Office Solutions, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best possible security for your office printing. Our print management solutions are customizable for each business and will secure it against any potential security risks.
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