October 12, 2023
At Marco, we’re device agnostic. We understand that every organization has its unique preferences and printing needs, and if one manufacturer were clearly the best fit for every workplace, the market would reflect that. However, while many manufacturers of print devices have upgraded their security features in the past few years, Lexmark has done a superb job.
In this blog, we wanted to explain why print security is so important and how Lexmark has gone above and beyond.
Why Is Print Security Important?
Back when printers were dumb, they still posed a risk to data privacy: Documents containing sensitive information could be left in a tray for any curious eyes to see. And it might be relatively easy for employees to use the company’s expensive ink and toner cartridges for non-business purposes.
But once printers got smart, they also got many of the same vulnerabilities as a laptop. They use hardware and software, have memory, and are also connected to your network. Those vulnerabilities went largely unnoticed for quite some time, and it took a few curious researchers at Columbia University to start ringing alarm bells back in 2011. However, print security still went largely ignored until 2018, when a hacker hijacked printers around the world and forced them to print out propaganda promoting Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie.
How Your Printers Can Be Used Against You
While security experts paid a lot of attention to the above stunt, hackers did too. Ultimately, hackers figured out how to use unsecured printers to do a lot more:
- Access your network
- Spread malware, including ransomware
- Force printers to produce harmful content
- Add or remove content from print jobs
- Steal data
- Launch a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack
How Lexmark MFPs Help Keep Your Data Safe
According to the Quocirca Print Security Landscape, 2023, Lexmark is currently a leader in print security. Louella Fernandes, Quorica Director, put it like this:
“Security is clearly central to Lexmark’s strategy and direction in the market. Lexmark is a good fit for organizations using managed print service (MPS) that are looking to drive further transformation around the security of their print infrastructure.”
When Lexmark says their multifunction printers are Secure by Design, here’s a bit more about what they mean.
Lexmark’s Secure by Design Approach
Core security features include:
- Encrypted and digitally signed firmware
- Secure boot technology
- Continuous verification
- A trusted platform module to secure hardware
- Disk encryption
- Easy options for data erasure and secure decommissioning
- The ability to opt-in to default secure configurations at setup
- Options for role-based authentication, active directory integration, and audit logs
Key Technology Ownership
Lexmark owns the core technology across its services, solutions, software, hardware, and firmware. Additionally, the company has received ISO 20243 Supply Chain certification. Lexmark is the first print vendor to do so for the entire printing device, including cartridges, supplies, and other integrated solutions.
That’s important because when you buy a Lexmark printer or any of its cartridges or components, you shouldn’t have any doubts that it’s been built exactly as specified and hasn’t been altered by a third party.
Recent Concerns With Reprogrammable Chips
Many businesses looking to save money on print costs have wondered about compatible ink and toner cartridges. Unfortunately, these supplies use reprogrammable chips that can also be hacked, allowing a cybercriminal to embed malware in the cartridge itself.
Lexmark having ownership over all of its technology — including supplies — is a big deal, and it’s probably going to be an even bigger deal in the coming years.
Proven Industry Expertise
Lexmark has a long history in some of the most highly regulated industries, including banking, finance, and healthcare, and the manufacturer is well-respected for its ability to meet stringent government and industry standards and certifications, including Common Criteria and FIPS 140–2.
Lexmark Cloud Services
Lexmark cloud print management provides faster, more secure cloud-based printing that’s easier on IT staff. Instead of sending documents through a print server to a device, where pages can be viewed, print jobs are held in a personal queue in the Lexmark Cloud until a user authenticates themselves at the device.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Capabilities
Lexmark Secure Document Manager (LSDM) is available worldwide to capture user data from every document that passes through the device for robust end-point monitoring.
LDSM also includes a comprehensive dashboard that allows your security team to set rules and configurations; if any subsequent behavior violates those rules, your team will receive a timely, automatic alert.
Lexmark Printer and Managed Print Services With Marco
Not only is Marco a Business Solutions Dealer for Lexmark — so we can pass on competitive pricing to our clients — but we’re also among the top five Lexmark Dealer Partners in the U.S. Our technicians understand these devices so well that we can provide as good or better service than the manufacturer can. But here’s the real kicker — at Marco, print security services are included as part of our regular managed print services offering at no additional charge.
We believe that every organization deserves to have the data of its employees, partners, and customers well protected, regardless of how they’re regulated. It’s the right thing to do, and we’re pleased that other organizations like Lexmark are going above and beyond regarding print security.
While these devices are much easier to secure than many others, we also provide the following for every device that is set up or disposed of through a facility owned and operated by us:
- Access to our dedicated print security team
- Secure passwords at setup that are unique to each client
- Multi-pass data overwrite of HDDs and NVRAM clearing
- A complimentary print security assessment
- Auxiliary uplift services
We’ve gone so far as to achieve a dedicated SOC 2 Type 2 report for our MPS offering, so no client ever has to wonder if we’re following best practices consistently.
In addition to saving our clients up to 30% on their print costs, we’ve worked hard to make sure our managed print services are affordable for small to midsize businesses.
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