Most businesses rely on a computer network to allow employees easy access to printers, data and software. The same technology that allows users to print wirelessly or from their connected devices however can leave your information exposed to cybercriminals—yet organizations often overlook their print environment when it comes to cybersecurity. Protect your network by following these best practices for networked printer security, and learn what can happen if you don’t.
The Risks of an Unsecured Printer
Whether you have a small business with two printers or a large organization with dozens of units, securing these endpoints is an essential element of any comprehensive security strategy. The risks to your network may include:
Network Vulnerability – Even one unsecured printer can lead to full network vulnerability, leaving all of your connected devices at risk of an attack. Whether hackers use this gateway as a means to spy on your business or install malware the consequences can be devastating.
Unauthorized Access – Most multifunction print devices are capable of storing data on the internal hard drive, which may contain banking, personal, or client information such as Social Security or account numbers and more.
Financial Loss – If your highly sensitive information should fall into the wrong hands it may be used to commit corporate espionage, resulting in a loss of profits or customers as your trade secrets are used to further another company’s gain.
Best Practices for Networked Printer Security
Apply the same heightened level of security to your printers that is used to protect the rest of your network, using these best practices:
- Upon installation change the printer’s default settings including the name of the printer, username and password.
- Disable all unnecessary functions and features on your printer.
- Enable a firewall.
- Upgrade older model printers that lack the security features of current technology.
- Keep your firmware up to date by installing patches and updates as soon as they become available.
- Ensure your printer has an encrypted hard drive and use encrypted connections to send print jobs to the printer.
- Implement user authentication to monitor print usage and prevent unauthorized use.
- Install or make use of existing monitoring and alerting software.
- Isolate your printers on their own network that is separate from the one used for your computers, and disable communications from equipment that is outside of the network.
Make printer security a priority in your organization to keep your data safe. Contact us today to learn more!