Printers are a routine, yet integral, part of your workplace. However, the multi-function printers (MFP) found in most offices today actually operate much like computers. They have a hard drive, an operating system, are networked through your office and likely have an Internet connection.   With all the attention given to securing and protecting business computer systems from cyber attacks, it is surprising that your MFP is often overlooked.

InfoSecurity Magazine reported in 2013 that 63% of surveyed businesses reported experiencing one or more print-related data breaches. With vast amounts of information streaming through your printer daily, this statistic highlights the importance of securing all MFP connections.

What is the risk to my business?

If your printer is accessible via the Internet without any significant security in place, then the potential for hackers to access your company’s network is limitless. When hackers have a point of entry to your system, malware can be installed onto the actual printer. This could lead to the theft or loss of sensitive or confidential information.

Additionally, hackers could gain overall control of your printer and its functionality. It could be used to transmit strange faxes or print jobs, locked to deny capabilities to networked computers, or even used to retrieve saved documents from the hard drive. This risk increases as more mobile devices are networked for remote access to multi-functional printers.

How can I secure my MFP?

The benefits of utilizing multi-functional printers in the office far outweigh the security concerns. You just need the proper protection in place. In fact, many devices have built-in security features that simply aren’t utilized. Your MFP service provider will be an invaluable resource in helping you or your IT staff secure those connections. Strong consideration should be given to selecting a MFP that integrates security features into its overall functionality. One of the best examples of this is the Sharp Security Suite, which applies a multi-layered approach to protecting your business. You’ll want to be confident that protective measures are in place for the following areas:

Data Security

  1. Data & Information

Look for a device that will encrypt all your data before it is written to RAM and the hard disk drive. It should also provide overwriting protocol for deleted data, which will ensure that all information is virtually irretrievable by unauthorized users.

  1. Access control

To limit unwanted access, choose the MFP that will utilize all account codes, user profiles and passwords in your directory. These credentials can be transferred using proven encryption methods to help avoid interception. It is also key to train users on the importance of password protection when printing.

  1. Network

Make sure your MFP features an intelligent network interface that can limit access to specific computers on your network. It should also have the ability to selectively enable or disable any protocol or service port on each device.

  1. Documents

Protect your sensitive documents with an MFP that will automatically encrypt files for scanning and printing.

  1. Audit trail

This feature is especially important if your business is subject to industry regulations regarding security measures, such as the medical or legal fields. Select the MFP that provides comprehensive auditing of all user activity. You will want this information logged, reviewed and archived to ensure conformance.

Fax

Faxing is still an important function in many offices today. Your MFP architecture should provide a logical separation between the fax line and LAN, making it nearly impossible for attackers to gain access to the internal systems of the printer or local network.

It is well worth the time to educate yourself on all the printer security options available to you. A strong service provider can help maximize your existing capabilities, in addition to bringing new solutions to your attention.

 

Make sure your Southeast Michigan area business is not vulnerable to a cyber attack through printer connections. Email or call Dan Heimler, Sales Director at University Office Technologies, at (734) 434-5900 for a consultation.