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Category:
Printers
Published on
August 18, 2023
Andrew Goodwin Headshot
Andrew Goodwin
August 18, 2023

Printer Security: A Step-by-Step Guide

printer security
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If you’re a smart company in this day and age, you know how important it is to have high levels of security throughout your operations. Even your copy room is at high risk for security breaches, and it needs to be protected to keep your staff’s data and documents safe. Multifunction printers, copiers, scanners, and even networked desktop printers are a risk to company security because of the realities of malware, trojans, phishing scans, ransomware, and more dangers. And with these cyber attacks on the rise in recent years, this step-by-step guide on how to ensure printer security and copier security could be vital to the longevity of your company. 

Assessing Printer Security Risks

A protected print environment begins with a rock-solid assessment of your current printer security risks. It involves identifying vulnerabilities such as ease of unauthorized access, history of malware attacks, unsecured network conditions, and outdated firmware and software. All of these risks create the potential for unwanted actors to breach your important printer data and potentially even damage your entire company through ransom demands or data leaks. By assessing these risks, you can take proactive measures to strengthen your print security environment. 

Best Practices for Printer Security

Make sure you have a firm understanding of the best practices for your company’s printer security. Some of these best practices include but are not limited to:

Implementing Strong Access Controls

This includes setting up user authentication and authorization protocols, as well as restricting access to sensitive print jobs.

Network Security Measures

It is essential to implement firewalls, encryption, and secure network connections to protect against unauthorized access and data breaches.

printer security guide

Regular Firmware and Software Updates

The technology and security world is constantly changing. To stay protected against the latest advances in security breach technology, it’s important to keep your printers and copiers up to date with the latest security patches.

Physical Security Considerations

Securing printer trays, smart location placement away from high-traffic areas, and other methods to limit physical access to printers can help prevent unauthorized access and tampering. Safe disposal of printed documents is another key measure for physical print safety.

Monitoring and Auditing

Regularly monitoring and auditing printer activities can help detect and respond to any security incidents or breaches in a timely manner. By keeping logs and analyzing them for suspicious activities, you can quickly identify any unauthorized access or unusual behavior.

Following these best practices is a fantastic place to start for any company needing a boost in their printer security environment.

Securing Wireless Printing

The wonderful technology of wireless printing has introduced several risks to consider due to its connection to your local Wi-Fi, but fret not: we have tips for staying secure wirelessly. It starts with having a secure Wi-Fi situation. Make sure to use strong encryption, such as WPA3, to protect your wireless network, and therefore your printer, from unauthorized access. Additionally, you should disable Wi-Fi Direct if it is unnecessary to minimize potential vulnerabilities. Lastly, the final layer of security that should be considered is to implement wireless printer discovery and connection controls. This includes MAC address filtering and SSID hiding to allow only specific devices to connect to your printer and make your network less visible to potential hackers.

printer security guide

Data Privacy and Compliance

A robust print environment should also comply with regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA. From there, the next steps to ensure data privacy should be to implement pull-printing measures, in which users must authenticate themselves at the printer in order to release their print job. Additionally, encryption should be used to protect data while it is in transit between the computer and the printer. Regularly update printer firmware and software to patch any security vulnerabilities. Finally, it is also essential to train employees on data privacy best practices and the importance of complying with regulations.

Managed Print Services

Managed Print Services are a fantastic investment that delivers across-the-board security measures built-in to their wide host of benefits. When you partner with a reputable MPS provider such as ACP, you gain access to expertise and resources that includes hardware and software solutions, as well as 24/7 support and monitoring. They can help you identify vulnerabilities, establish secure printing protocols, and ensure compliance with industry regulations. Additionally, they can help you streamline your print infrastructure, implement secure printing practices, and provide ongoing maintenance and updates to protect your printers from potential breaches.

Employee Training and Awareness

A company as a whole is only as smart about printer security as its staff. When you empower your employees with the knowledge and skills to thwart potential threats, your whole organization’s defense will be boosted. Teach them to recognize social engineering and phishing attacks, as these are common tactics that target naive employees. Encouraging a culture of security-conscious printing by promoting best practices, like using strong passwords, securely disposing of old documents, and recognizing scamming attempts, will significantly enhance your organization’s security environment.

Responding to Security Incidents

If a security breach does occur, it is vital to know what to do and to do it swiftly and decisively to prevent further damage. First, you should identify and contain the breach by disconnecting the compromised printer from your network. Next, gather evidence by documenting any suspicious activities or anomalies. Then, notify all the relevant stakeholders about the incident, such as IT personnel and management. This will ensure a coordinated response and not leave any potential decision-makers in the dark. Then, assess the extent of the breach and determine the potential impact on sensitive data or confidential information. Hopefully, at this point, the breach is settled, and all that’s left is to work in the aftermath. This is when you should implement remediation measures, such as patching your printing environment’s vulnerabilities or updating security software or protocols. Finally. Conduct a thorough post-incident analysis to understand the root cause and continue to identify areas for improvement in your print security. 

printer security guide

Future Trends in Printer Security

As mentioned previously, hacker and malware technology is always evolving, so your prevention measures should evolve alongside and in front of them. One future trend in printer security is the integration of AI and machine learning for threat detection. This real-time technology will analyze patterns and behaviors on your devices to identify potential threats, providing proactive protection. Another future trend is the growing role of IoT, or Internet of Things, in printer security. Because printers and other hardware are increasingly connected to the internet and to other devices, coordinated and widespread attacks on your environment are something to be wary of. Understanding these future trends is a great way to stay ahead of threats that could be looming before you know it.

Conclusion

It is essential to prioritize the security of your organization’s print environment. By implementing recommended security measures, you can stay ahead of the curve in the constantly-evolving world of printer security and potential attacks. Regularly updating security protocols, conducting vulnerability assessments, and educating employees on the best practices are crucial steps. Advanced security features like user authentication, encryption, and secure print-release solutions should also be considered. By taking these proactive measures, the risk of data breaches can be significantly reduced, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information.

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