Printers aren’t always considered in a company’s cybersecurity strategy, despite their presence in every office (and often home offices for all of us who are working remotely). Yet, all manner of sensitive information passes across them every day. That creates a weak point in your cybersecurity strategy. If you want to know how to secure the printers on your network, and keep them from being hacked or the entry point for a virus, this post is for you. Read on to learn about protecting your printers to protect your devices and data.
Not every employee needs access to printers. Likewise, printers don’t need access to the network 24/7. You can adjust both employee permissions and printing preferences to limit exposure. You can also set your printer to shut down during off-hours, reducing the amount of time it is online.
Printers often have firmware that helps them function, but they might also have an antivirus or malware software built into them as well. Consult your device’s manual to get a sense of what your printer possesses and what needs upkeep. You also want to know if your printer has security patches or regular updates that should get installed, since outdated software is often a top cause leading to data breaches.
Many printers like MFPs come helpfully equipped with settings that allow users to store print histories or other sensitive information. While that improves speed and performance, it also makes it easy for hackers to swipe if they access the printer.
In an office setting, you will need to think about physical security too. You don’t want someone to print sensitive documents from across the office, which they forget about or the wrong person grabs from the printer. Printers that hold documents and require users to enter unique passcodes to “release” their documents to the printer can help prevent sensitive documents from getting forgotten, taken by the wrong user, or thrown out.
Print tracking software lets you monitor all of the printing activity that occurs in your organization. By seeing who is printing what, when, and where, you’ll be able to better monitor the movement of sensitive information in your organization and spot suspicious activity before it has the chance to harm your business.