It seems like every time you open the paper, there’s another story about a data breach. The latest involves the theft of millions of accounts from MySpace. Even though it’s an outdated and rarely used website, it still houses plenty of valuable data - now in the hands of a cybercriminal.
One positive aspect of all this publicity is that we're all gaining awareness of security and the need for vigilance when protecting company data. Today, it’s common for offices to employ one or more multifunction print devices (MFPs). These devices are more than simply printers; they're sophisticated network devices with embedded web servers, hard drives and cloud accessibility. They function just like any other computer on your network and if not properly secured, leave a wide open door directly to your company network.
When it comes to protecting your data and network, here are three areas to consider:
Security at the MFP - First, never leave confidential documents sitting at the device. Swipe cards, passwords or features such as Secure Print can help ensure that a print job isn’t output until the user is waiting at the device. These steps can also help reduce the risk of unauthorized faxing, helping to ensure sensitive documents aren’t inappropriately distributed. Different levels of access can be granted at the MFP such as blocking certain employees or guests from more sensitive material, higher-level functions or server-level access.
Create Mobile Print and BYOD Protocols – There’s no question that as workforces become increasingly mobile the need for mobile printing is in demand; however, this presents a whole new level of security risk. Not only does your MFP need to be secure, but so does every device that has access to it. Develop guidelines outlining around who can, and can’t, access your network and always utilize the authentication measures as mentioned above to ensure your data stays safe.
Protect Your MFP’s Hard Drive - An MFP’s internal drive can be vulnerable whether it’s in use or decommissioned. Make sure to protect your device when it is active with automatic disk/log wiping and data encryption, and be sure to properly dispose of the hard drive when your MFP is retired.
Taking simple proactive steps can protect your company network from a data breach. Remember, your MFP is basically another computer on your network. Give it, along with any mobile devices your staff might use, the same level of protection as your network to keep your data safe and secure!