In a new age of digital threats, it can be easy to forget one of the essential devices of the modern workplace: the printer. Printer security risks are significant and can have the same impacts as any data breach, including damaged reputation, loss of customers, fines and lawsuits, if your devices are not properly protected against malicious action.
While the connection to your network is not as visible as it is with your computer, printers and multifunction devices still store data and have an internet connection that can leave them vulnerable. With the right skillset, hackers can access any information that you’ve printed, scanned or copied using your devices, just as they could gain access to files on your laptop. They could also use your printer as a backdoor to your company network, potentially giving them access to all your data.
So how do you prevent this from happening? It starts with identifying the printer security risks your organisation is vulnerable to and then mitigating them.
What are the main printer security risks?
Six main printer security risks exist for all devices.
- Unauthorised access to print data: Someone goes to the printer and accesses documents that belong to someone else.
- Unauthorised configuration changes: Someone changes the printer configuration to route the print jobs to another location.
- Print job manipulation: Someone replaces the print content with other data, inserts new content into print jobs or deletes logs without authorisation.
- Print data disclosure: Someone accesses print data from the memory, file system, print jobs or hard drives when the device is decommissioned.
- The printer as an attack point: Someone uses a compromised printer to attack other applications, execute arbitrary malicious code or threaten other systems within the organisation.
- Cloud printing risks: Someone secretly routes data via a third location when it is being sent between the cloud system and the device (called a man-in-the-middle attack), or someone gains access to the enterprise network through cloud printing channels.
Securing your printers
So how do you secure your printer from these threats? Kyocera follows a Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability approach that helps to ensure that your devices and the data they store are kept secure. Through the use of printer security features, such as device-level protection, authentication, software and software-as-a-service (SaaS), you can protect every device in your organisation from malware or unauthorised access, while data encryption ensures that your information is secure, reducing the threat of a data breach.
Specific staff are granted authorisation to access the files they need. By reducing the number of users who have access to confidential information, such as customers’ personal data, this reduces the risk of a breach occurring.
The integrity of your data is protected with anti-malware software and data encryption so that your documents cannot be altered by a malicious third party. This means you can rest assured that your files are always accurate.
As only a limited number of users are able to access your information, it’s crucial to ensure that they can do so whenever required with sophisticated content management software that integrates seamlessly with your devices.
Mitigating printer security risks is essential both in a shared workplace, such as an office, as well as in hybrid work environments. Home office printers are a commonly overlooked security threat and businesses must take care to supply their hybrid workers with secure remote printing solutions, or risk a cybersecurity incident.
Choosing a trusted security partner
In the digital age, security is of the utmost importance to every business, whether small or large. However, as the volume of data grows and hybrid work models gain popularity, organisations need a trusted security partner to provide their expertise and grow with them.
Kyocera has been identified as a ‘Major Player’ in print and document security by the International Data Corporation1. The interplay of print and document security is increasingly complex in the era of remote work. But Kyocera customers can count on our industry-leading expertise and proven ability to protect their business. Download our guide to learn more about our specialised document security solutions.
1Source: IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Security Solutions and Services Hardcopy 2019–2020 Vendor Assessment, Doc #US44811119, Dec 2019.