With minimal security protection, printers can quickly become a target of hackers and data thieves when least expected. While printers and copiers may seem like innocuous office equipment, they can pose some of the biggest security risks, including:
- Firewall breaches: If your internet connection or firewall is not secured, your printer is at risk of being targeted or accessed without permission.
- Data breaches: When left unsecured, printer caches may store documents that include important data such as social security numbers, business account numbers, and even sensitive financial information.
- Open network: If the network being used in conjunction with your printer and copier is not secured properly, your equipment is at an increased risk of exposure, DDoS attacks, and exploitative hackers.
- Remote access: Using a printer with remote access sounds appealing to those who wish to print from a different location. However, if left without proper security in place, this can leave your printer open to hackers and those who wish to intercept information being sent between your locations.
- Office attacks: If a printer or copier is hijacked by a hacker, it can wreak havoc on the equipment, triggering massive printing jobs or the inability to use the machines altogether.
- Physical theft: Another risk of using an in-house printer or copier is the physical theft of important documents with sensitive information. When left unattended, anyone can walk by and swipe printed documents with classified or protected data.
How to Improve Printer Security
Improving printer and copier security does not have to feel overwhelming, even if you are unfamiliar with the process yourself. There are numerous methods and solutions available, from encryption to managed print solutions to ensure your office equipment remains secure.
Update Firmware and Software
To increase print security in your home or office, you will need to ensure your printer’s firmware and any included software are updated regularly. Outdated software can leave electronics extremely vulnerable to hacking and data breaches.
Use Password Protection
Invest in printers and copiers that allow for the use of password protection. When creating a password for your office equipment, it is best to use a randomly generated password with a variety of numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters for maximum security. Change your passwords at least once every few months.
Using two-factor authentication on your printers and copiers is a great way to improve print security in any home or office. Using a pin, a thumbprint, or even mobile verification to gain access to your printer and copier can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach.
Printer Data Encryption
Encrypting printer and copier data is another way to help improve security while minimizing risk. Whenever you send communications, information, or data across the same network to another individual or machine, the data can typically be intercepted and read in plaintext with the right tools. However, a properly encrypted printer system and solution help to protect data from being seen by those who are not permitted or do not have access to specific files and documents.
Managed Printing Solutions
Working with a managed print service partner, or MPS, is one way to gain peace of mind while ensuring your copier and printer security is top-notch. The right MPS can provide state-of-the-art security technologies to streamline your ability to manage printing and copying equipment.
Understanding the risks that unsecured printers and copiers pose is essential if you are working in an office with equipment that is currently at risk. With the right tools, resources, and printing solutions, optimize your printing security to keep the data and information you handle safe and always secured.
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