Your connected printers can be exposing your company to unnecessary security risks. Although the networked printer can bring many benefits to the business, like increased productivity, reduced costs and streamlined operations, it can open the doors to printer security risks such as a potential data breach.
Printers and multifunction devices (MFDs) handle a lot of company information on a daily basis. Many of us don’t really think twice about sending important and sensitive data to the networked printed. However, any unauthorised access can have a significant negative impact on the business.
In this post, we will help you better understand the possible security risks with your printers, implications of a potential data breach, and ways to enhance the security of your print network.
Printer security risks
For a lot of businesses, security is always a major concern. They spend considerable time and resources to improve security measures and safeguards across both digital and physical assets. But many still tend to overlook the potential vulnerabilities of the networked printer.
The major printer security risks can include:
1. Confidential information being left in printer trays
We’ve seen this happen (or we may have even done it ourselves). We print important information and then forget to pick it up. A staff member or a visitor can easily grab the document and walk out with it.
2. Unauthorised access to printer and administration settings
How secure is your printer? An unsecured and unconfigured printer can open your network to potential hackers and unauthorised access.
3. No network visibility and control
Are you able to monitor your print network users, access levels and usage? Unless you have complete visibility and control over your network, it would be very difficult to constantly protect your data.
4. Highly sensitive materials in printers and unsecured networks
Data is one of the company’s most valuable assets. Are you sending and storing data over unsecured printers and networks? A data breach can have serious consequences for your business.
Implications of a data breach
Have you ever considered how much a data breach can cost your business? According to a recent report by IBM and Ponemon Institute, a data breach can cost a business on average AU$2.64 million!
As you can see, theft or unauthorised access to confidential information can have a major impact on your bottom line. Here are the implications of a data breach you need to consider:
Loss of customers
There is a massive loss of trust and confidence in your company in the event of a data breach, especially if it involves customer information.
Clients and partners would not think twice about walking away from a business that fails to protect their personal data. This will not only harm the overall reputation of your brand, but also significantly impact current and future revenues.
Businesses have the responsibility of keeping people’s personal data safe and secure. According the Australian Privacy Act, data breaches must be reported through the proper channels, and the affected individuals need to be notified. Failure to comply with the privacy laws can lead to substantial fines for the company.
Lawsuits and legal costs
Data breaches can lead to lawsuits from customers and other affected parties. In 2014, the Australian Government faced a series of court battles after accidentally disclosing the personal details of almost 10,000 asylum seekers.
Unauthorised access to confidential information
It’s not only customer data that you need to worry about. Confidential information like bank accounts, company secrets, payroll and employee data can all be at risk in the event of a data breach.
What your business can do to improve printer security
How secure is your print network? Now that you’ve seen the possible security risks of your printer and implications of a data breach, it is important to spend some time and resources to secure your network. Here are 5 ways to get started:
1. Conduct an audit
When was the last time you assessed the security of your printers and networks? Conducting an audit can help you identify vulnerabilities in your network and processes, so you can start making the necessary improvements.
2. Update and configure printers & MFDs
Unsecured printers and MFDs are potential security risks. Take the time to configure and update your machines and devices with the latest software and technologies. Make sure to activate the appropriate security features and measures.
3. Secure the network and implement strong authentication controls
It’s not enough to just focus on your printers and devices. You need to have a secure network with strong authentication controls. You also need to ensure that you have complete visibility on the whole network. This way you can properly monitor users, user levels and usage.
4. Create a culture of security
All your security measures and procedures would be useless without the people to implement them. Keep your staff informed and educate them on your document and print security policies. Creating a culture of security will go a long way in protecting your business data.
5. Work with experts
Consider working with a reliable Managed Print Services or MPS provider. They can help you identify printer security risks, implement a customised solution, and provide technical support when needed.
So, are printers a security risk? They can be if left unconfigured and unsecured. What this post has aimed to highlight is the importance of constantly assessing and improving the security of your printers and networks. A data breach can have serious consequences for your business – from loss of customers and compliance issues to lawsuits and leakage of sensitive information.
Managed Print Services is a flexible and scalable print solution that can meet the changing needs of your organisation in the new era of work. To learn how you can reduce your costs, minimise risk, improve your environmental footprint and gain greater control of your print environment, download our Managed Print Services Fact Sheet.