How Secure is Your Printer?

Is your printer secure?


When it comes to network security, every device matters. Why then do more than 50% of companies overlook one of the most commonly used devices on the network – the printer? (IDC) Hackers know this, making the printer an easy target for cyberattacks that can affect your whole network and cripple your business.


Printer Vulnerability

An unsecured printer provides an open door to your entire network. Once inside, hackers can gain access to other devices and sensitive information on the printer’s hard drive. Hackers can change printer settings, have your printer fax and print at random, and otherwise disrupt your business, while also stealing data. If you don’t use encryption for your printer, your information is easy to read, putting your business at great risk.


Printers are vulnerable even if they’re not connected to a network, though. Any time sensitive information, such as your payroll data is printed, any employee or other unauthorized person could see – or steal – the printed pages.


Closing the Gaps

Securing your network requires that you secure your network printer. Any device not currently being used should be removed from the network, and ports that aren’t being used should be disabled. This reduces the number of entry points onto your network.


Protecting your information is also key. Encryption can help prevent extensive damage being done if hackers do gain access to your information. Even so, you should regularly erase the data from the printer’s hard drive, and be sure it is wiped fully clean, or outright destroyed, when taking the printer out of service.


Pull-printing protocols – whereby a user initiates a print job from a workstation or a mobile device, and then releases it at a printer through an authentication method of some kind when they’re physically at the printer – can help eliminate sensitive data sitting in the printer tray for anyone’s eyes to see.


Network security is an ever-changing landscape. Be sure to keep all your software and firmware up to date, and only install updates from authorized sources. User authentication and management software can help secure your system and track usage, security and other benchmarks.


Your network is only as secure as your least-secure device. Incorporating your printer into your security protocol can help fortify your network, preventing dangerous and expensive data breaches.


Is your current MFP smart enough to protect your business against malware and today’s cyber threats? Take our 30 second pop quiz “How Smart is Your MFP?” and see what grade it gets!


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