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You’d be surprised by how often print security is overlooked by businesses, even though it is an essential aspect of overall information security. Considering that around 90% of businesses are unaware of the exact number of printers they own, it’s reasonable to assume they are equally uninformed about their security status (Lyall, 2021). Unsecured printing practices can pose a significant risk to your business’s confidential information. Here are some best practices to enhance the security of your printing environment:

Unattended Documents

It might seem obvious, but one of the easiest ways to compromise print security is by leaving printed documents unattended on the printer. Remember to always collect your documents immediately after printing to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. If you are printing sensitive information, it is a good idea to use a secure print function that requires a code to be entered before printing.

Location Of Print Devices

The location of your printer plays a vital role in maintaining security. Place your printer in a secure and monitored location so it is inaccessible to unauthorized individuals. Avoid placing it in common areas to prevent passersby from grabbing sensitive documents from the tray.

Software Updates

Just like your computer or smartphone, printers also require regular software updates. Keeping your printer’s software up-to-date ensures that you have the latest security patches and fixes. Outdated software can make your printer more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Restrict Access

Not everyone in your office needs access to the printer. Restricting access to only authorized personnel can help prevent unauthorized printing and accidental exposure of sensitive information. Use user authentication methods like PIN codes or ID cards for secure print release. Additionally, by assigning a unique code or badge to access the printer, you can keep track of printer usage and monitor any suspicious activity.

Change Admin Password

Default administrative passwords are often easily discovered or predicted, so leaving them unchanged provides an easy entry point for cybercriminals. When setting up your printer or MFP, remember to change the default admin password to a strong, unique password to enhance your printer’s security.

Secure Disposal/Return Of Old Printers

Printers often store information about the documents they print on their hard drives. Before returning, selling, or disposing of a printer, make sure to wipe its hard drive to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

Invest In Secure Equipment

Not all printers are created equal. When purchasing a new printer, look for one that comes with built-in security features, such as data encryption and secure print release. For instance, Sharp’s line of Multifunction Printers (MFPs) enhance document security by offering data encryption, access controls, and audit trails to protect sensitive information.

Educate Your Employees

Your employees are your first line of defense against print security threats. It’s crucial to educate them about best practices like not leaving printed documents unattended, using secure print functions, and being aware of potential security risks. When printed documents are no longer needed, ensure they are disposed of securely. Shredding is an efficient way to prevent sensitive information from landing in the wrong hands.

Conclusion

Remember, your printer is just as susceptible to cyber attacks as any other network-connected device, so taking the necessary precautions is crucial for protecting your business. Additionally, stay informed about emerging threats and technologies that can help improve your print security. When you choose AD Solutions as your technology partner, you can have peace of mind knowing that your data privacy and protection is our top priority. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help secure your print environment.

Reference

Lyall, A. (2021, December 6). Managed Print Services Is Key to Network Security. University of Cincinnati. https://www.uc.edu/news/articles/2021/12/gc-managed-print-services-is-key-to-network-security.html

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