The incredible speed with which printers are evolving is both exciting and highly significant to business growth. Through the streamlining of office processes, and the added efficiency of interconnectivity, the printer as a business staple is having quite a renaissance. However, the negative of introducing connectivity in this way is that many companies are completely overlooking the security risks they face.
Barely a week goes by without a security breach making the headlines. From the leak of personal details from a multinational technology company, to the intentional release of Olympian data post tournament, even the biggest organisations in the world sometimes find themselves at the mercy of hackers. With the profile of data security on the rise, big businesses are pumping more and more money into their budgets, in an attempt to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, these budgets focus primarily on computer devices. Although these devices are incredibly important, what business owners are underestimating is exactly how valuable the data on their printer is as well. A contemporary machine will not only print documents; it will also store them. As we will often tell our clients, this is an incredibly valuable feature, but also poses risks.
There are three main threats that a printer can pose in terms of a data breach. Each can be simply addressed, to make sure that your company’s data, and reputation, stays intact:
One potential threat that isn’t new, is guarding against who sees your printout. If you are printing confidential information to a printer you cannot directly see, then there is the risk that it will be intercepted by someone who shouldn’t be seeing it. If you have confidentiality agreements in place, then this could prove to be hugely damaging to your firm should data be released.
A contemporary solution to this problem is to add an additional layer of security to your device. This could mean the requirement of either a PIN or key card to release the documents. That way, the document stays in a queue up until the exact moment you are ready to collect it. The extra benefit to this is that your document can be printed anytime and anywhere, from any printer or network that is connected.
Moving into more technical realms, documents are also vulnerable in transit from device to printer. Whether you are using a wireless or wired connection, there is still the possibility for interception.
The key to prevention is encryption. This can involve both encrypting the print job itself, to protect it on its travels, and also to secure the printer’s storage too, keeping documents safe while they wait. The management software you would use for this particular task will also track and audit print policies too. If you have specific policies in place, you can see which members of staff are actively flaunting the rules and putting the company’s reputation at risk.
It is important to recognise that modern printers retain information. If you are leasing a device or retiring for a newer model, it is likely that every document ever sent will still be stored on the internal memory system.
An important feature to enable the auto-delete function. If the document is waiting longer than a specified period, for example, 48 hours, then it will be automatically removed from the system. You can also wipe the machine clean manually at regular intervals, integrating the practice into your routine.
The capabilities of modern printers can make a hugely positive impact to the way businesses are run. Highly intuitive and efficient, we highly recommend the most up to date machines. It is critical, though, that when you have a connected printer, you are securing it correctly. Consider the solutions above and add them into your printing process. By doing this, you can guarantee you are getting the most from your printer, without having to worry about the risks.