How To Secure Your Business Printer

By: Marco
November 3, 2022

As the nation’s largest independent HP dealer, Marco knows the importance of printer security. Modern business printers have memory and software, and they’re connected to your network, just like every other device that needs protection. Unfortunately, they often don’t get any. 

However, some printers represent a larger threat than others. Left unprotected, a Multifunction printer (MFP) is an especially attractive potential gateway to hackers. 

What Is a Multifunction Printer?

An MFP is designed for multitasking, and can print, fax, scan, copy, and sometimes more. These devices can save your business space and time while reducing energy consumption. However, with multiple features comes multiple risks.

Why MFPs Are a Bigger Cybersecurity Risk Than “Normal” Printers

Generally speaking, because multifunction printers need to store more data for a longer period of time and integrate with your business’s network and infrastructure, they are more vulnerable to cybercriminals than standard office printers. 

However, there are other reasons you’ll need to do more to secure your MFPs: 

  • They tend to get used more by employees and not always for business purposes 
  • Because they have operating systems, they’re more vulnerable to ransomware 
  • They’re susceptible to unauthorized changes to configuration and print job manipulation
  • They can be used to attack your apps or systems, or launch malware or other common cyberattacks

Common Network Printer Security Risks

If you haven’t had a printer-related cybersecurity incident yet, you may have just gotten lucky. But that luck isn’t likely to last without additional print security measures. 

The Quocirca Print Security Landscape 2022 included some findings that aren’t exactly good news but are nevertheless important for organizations of any size to keep in mind. Here are just a few: at most organizations, print security isn’t given the same priority as IT infrastructure. In the past 12 months, more than two-thirds of organizations have experienced data loss related to their print fleet. Finally, fewer than 28% of IT decision-makers expressed satisfaction with their organization’s print security. 

12 Ways To Reduce Your Printer Security Risk

  1. Place printers in open areas that are easily monitored.
  2. Prohibit employees and visitors from using printers that handle sensitive information.
  3. Shred sensitive documents when you are finished with them.
  4. Change default admin passwords to passwords that are unique and intricate.
  5. Implement user authentication to eliminate the risk of unclaimed output being left in printer trays.
  6. Ensure your entire fleet is part of your overall information security strategy.
  7. Constantly update and upgrade printers with the latest security features.
  8. Manage the use of network protocols and ports to prevent potential viruses and malware.
  9. Enable features like secure watermarking, digital signatures, or PDF encryption.
  10. Use auditing tools to track usage at the document and user levels.
  11. Before selling or transferring an old printer, clean or destroy the old hard drive.
  12. Trust an expert like Marco to evaluate your printer’s vulnerabilities and help you prevent attacks.

Making Printer Security Easy

At Marco, we only source printing hardware that employs the finest security software. The brands we trust to protect your operation include HP, Sharp, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lexmark, Canon, and Toshiba. 

Of course, while security features are incredibly important, so is ongoing device management. Another finding in the recent Quorica print report that didn’t escape my notice was that organizations that use a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider indicated they were far more confident in their own print security even though they’re also more aware of today’s risks. While not all MPS providers are the same, our dedicated print security team provides best-in-class security services for all of our MPS clients as part of our regular offering. 

In a world where 40% of IT professionals admit they don’t always change default admin passwords, finding a provider that will take care of it for you, apply security patches promptly, and help you with secure decommissioning can be the difference between safe and sorry. 

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Topics: Copiers & Printers