The office printer and copier (or multifunctional device – MFD) is now capable of a vast array of functions and processes, helping organisations in their drive towards ever-greater security and efficiency.
Naturally, these devices require an internet and network connection to live up to their true potential. This creates a security problem, however. Should an attacker manage to hijack such a device, they’ll have access to a company’s systems and a potential treasure trove of data.
In late 2018 a notorious worldwide printer hacking incident occurred, whereby a hacker gained access to 50,000 unprotected printers across the globe and instructed them to print a message proclaiming support for PewDiePie, a Swedish media and digital personality. Luckily this was not a malicious attack, but it so easily could have been.
Security issues like these aren’t just applicable to digital systems either. Printed paper documents can be, and frequently are, left on print trays and made susceptible to confidential data breaches.
It’s clear that printers and copiers can provide a relatively straightforward way for unscrupulous parties to gain access to an organisation’s data and networks. Ensuring that these devices are fully secure should be a key concern for any IT manager.
How secure are your devices?
Below are a few steps you can follow to make sure you’ve safeguarded your systems and devices:
You send a confidential document to the printer, but then you get distracted. What happens to the pages you’ve just printed? Known as ‘orphaned print jobs’, these pages can easily be picked up and, depending on the information contained within, used for underhand activities.
Leading MFDs allow you to utilise ‘Pull Printing’, whereby printed documents can only be released when a user is at a device. Such a system also allows you to send a job to print and then conveniently release the document from any device you choose to walk up to.
A variety of authentication options are available for securing these devices, including passwords, pin codes and all in one key-cards, which can also be used to access office buildings. If using passwords or pin codes to sign into your devices, make sure they’re updated frequently for added security.
If you consider how many files and pieces of information are printed, scanned and copied each day, the amount of data travelling through and being stored on an MFD is enormous, and much of this is confidential.
Leading MFDs encrypt files stored on the hard disk/drive, as well as in transit to and from the device. If your hard drive is stolen, you can rest assured the data contained on it will be safe. Similarly, with data and documents being encrypted or at least password protected while they’re distributed throughout your organisation, they’re not left open to unscrupulous parties.
Disable unused features
Having all your devices connected to the internet and internal networks is great for enabling a smooth flow of information, but if you’re not using certain features on your MFD, a simple fix is to make sure those features are disabled.
Not only will this strengthen your devices by not leaving unattended doors open, but it’ll also simplify the systems your employees need to familiarise themselves with.
Make sure the latest firmware updates are installed on your device.
Manufacturers work hard to release updates that deliver key benefits. Most importantly, recently discovered bugs or security vulnerabilities will have been addressed in new versions, so it’s important to make sure your devices are up-to-date.
Engage with a print management expert
A great managed print service provider and document management expert will be able to build a bespoke solution for your business, taking into account the types of documents your organisation produces and the day-to-day habits of your staff members.
As well as making your print and document management systems more secure, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to save money on your printing and enhance staff productivity too.
In addition to the points above, our devices and systems offer a whole host of additional security, efficiency and compliance benefits. Visit our document and device security page for more information on what we do.