Outsourcing Print Management: How to Stay Secure

Hollie Davies

Outsourcing Print Management: How to Stay Secure

Printers are often overlooked as security threats. But they can open a door for hackers if not secured. This can lead to big costs. In 2023, a data breach cost on average $4.45 million worldwide. So, ensuring printer security is crucial.

Not securing printers can be a goldmine for cybercriminals. They can use them to spread harmful software, steal data, and move through a network freely. Keeping printers safe is also important for meeting certain laws, like HIPAA. A report by Quocirca in 2023 showed many leaders in IT have lost data because of unsecure printers. This shows the urgent need to take printer security seriously.

Many businesses hire print management companies to handle their prints. But not all these companies prioritize security. It’s vital to pick a company that cares about keeping data safe. They should have strong plans to prevent printer-related risks.

Why Printers Pose Security Threats and Vulnerabilities

Printers are not just for printing anymore. They are digital devices that can be hacked. Hackers can use printers to sneak into a network, spread viruses, and steal data. This is a big deal for places that must protect data, such as health care under HIPAA.

Many companies forget to secure their printers. This mistake makes them an easy target for cyber attacks. Sadly, this opens the door for hackers to cause serious trouble. And, it’s not just a short-term problem.

When not addressed, these security issues can harm a company in the long run. They may face more breaches, which can hurt their reputation. Plus, it can be costly to fix problems caused by cyber criminals. With the rise of printer-related attacks, IT leaders are struggling to keep up with security needs.

To fight back, organizations need to assess and secure their printers. Checking for weaknesses and fixing them is crucial. A zero-trust model is also important. It means not trusting anything on your network until it proves itself. This mindset stops hackers from using printers to enter the system.

Key Printer Security Risks

Printers have their own set of security risks that companies must know. By being aware of these, firms can work ahead to keep their important data safe and avoid serious harm.

Printers as an Attack Vector

Printers can be the first step for hackers in getting into a company’s network. Once in, they can launch big attacks, risking the safety of private information.

WiFi-Related Vulnerabilities

Hackers might use WiFi printers to join fake networks. This opens the door for spreading malware and gaining access to private data.

Hacked Print Jobs

Weaknesses in printing processes can let hackers change documents and logs. This can mess up the security of confidential information.

Physical Access to Sensitive Documents

If not controlled, printers might let anyone print or see private papers. This risk is high in places where printers are shared or public.

Printer Misconfigurations

Accidental or malicious changes in printer settings can lead to document leaks. This might allow outsiders to get a hold of sensitive files.

Cloud Printing Complexities

Cloud printing can be risky, especially when using public clouds. Without protection, private data could be available to the public, urging the risk of leaks and unauthorized access.

Data Theft from Decommissioned Printers

Even old printers can still hold important data if not properly erased. To avoid data theft, companies should securely clean printers before getting rid of them.

Printer Malware

Malware can infect printers and spread through the network. This can give control to hackers, putting the entire network at risk.

Exposed Printer Hardware and Unpatched Firmware

Printer hardware or software that’s not updated can create openings for hackers. By exploiting these flaws, they might get into the network or control the printer.

Lack of Printer Security Strategy

Many firms don’t have a solid way to protect their printers. Without a clear plan, they are more likely to face issues like breaches and security threats.

To tackle these issues, organizations can take proactive security steps. This includes keeping printer firmware updated, controlling access, protecting print data, and having a solid security plan. Doing so can reduce risks and keep sensitive information safe from cyber threats.

Best Practices to Mitigate Printer Security Risks

Keeping your organization safe from printer security threats is key. Use the best methods to make sure your printers and private data are secure. This approach will build strong defenses against attacks.

Keep your printers updated to stay safe from new digital threats. Regular updates to the printer firmware and operating system software are vital. This prevents security holes from being used by attackers.

Good password habits are important for printer security. Update passwords often and use more than one way to prove your identity. This makes it hard for people to hack into your printer or network.

Don’t keep printing logs to lower the data breach risk. If you save less data, there’s less important information to be stolen. When getting rid of old printers, wipe them clean to erase any stored secrets.

Turn off printer features you don’t need to cut down on risks. This makes it harder for bad actors to mess with your data. Using encryption for print jobs also keeps your information safe, even if someone breaks in.

Firewalls add another layer of security against hackers. Make sure to use firewalls well to keep unwanted visitors away. They’re like a protective wall for your network.

Teaching your team about security is key to a safe work environment. By learning about printer risks and safe printing practices, everyone helps to keep the workplace secure. These measures make sure everyone is on the same page for safety.

Creating and following print rules is crucial in managing risks and keeping information safe. Tight rules and close watch on printer use reduce the chance of security problems. This way, only those who should print have permission to do so.

With the right steps, businesses can keep their printers safe. By following these practices, you can safeguard your data and avoid security threats.

Hollie Davies