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WHITEPAPER: Networked devices within your managed print solution present a security risk

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Cyberattacks continue to become more sophisticated and pervasive, and so too are the countermeasures that organisations put in place to protect their sensitive data. But as firewalls, antivirus, email and web security software becomes stronger; cybercriminals are constantly probing and searching to find the next weak spot to attack. And, in many cases, the weakest link and easiest point of entry to your managed print solution is via a networked print device.

When it comes to security, remember to treat a printer on your network like any PC or server

Modern print devices and Multi-Function Printers (MFPs) have now become more like a PC or server. They process huge volumes of data, have integrated hard drives and are connected to the enterprise network. Meanwhile, attitudes and policies surrounding the security of managed print services have hardly progressed at all.

Recent research by analyst company Quocirca found that just 22% of businesses have implemented initiatives to secure their printing environment, and 90% have experienced one or more print-related data breaches.

Any organisation that fails to include networked printers within their overall security strategy is leaving the door open to cyberattacks and serious breaches of confidential data. If you think that sounds like an overstatement, try typing “MFP hack” into a YouTube search and you’ll see all the tutorials and evidence you could need to change your mind.

Educating staff to print securely

And it’s not just external hackers that you have to worry about. A recent study by a major printer and copier equipment manufacturer revealed that 54% of employees admit that they don’t always follow their company’s IT security policies. Furthermore, 51% of those employees say they’ve scanned, copied or printed confidential information at work.

Data security lapses can result in non-compliance and regulatory issues, fines and financial losses, and lasting damage to corporate reputation and brand equity.

One such case occured at a City Council in the UK, which was fined £60,000 when personal data was sent to the wrong person. This was a direct result of an employee not collecting their print out and it being unknowingly collected by another employee. The Council has since taken steps to prevent this situation re-occuring by implementing a managed pull print solution which requires employees to enter a unique pin code to release their print outs.

In New York a finance organisation was also fined, and an employee sent to prison, after it was discovered that the employee was profiting from information relating to mergers and investment decisions, which he read on print outs from a shared printer.

An insightful whitepaper

DTP has put together a white paper exploring the issue of networked printer and MFP security. The whitepaper explains why, rather than being treated as harmless devices, a printer should be treated as an equal citizen to any other network-attachable device. It also explains what IT leaders and security departments should do to protect their printers, data and enterprises from malicious attack.

Download the whitepaper

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