How Hackers Target Printers: 4 Tips for better print security

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Apr 13, 2023

It is all too easy to forget about printers, stuck away in the corner of the office. But just think about some of the sensitive data and documents you send to your printer. The fact is, printers are no longer just a dumb peripheral, they are increasingly sophisticated and networked – which makes them an easy source for a security breach.

But like any networked device, they have the potential to expose your business to hackers, and risk your sensitive data and reputation.

Ultimately, your printer fleet, just like the rest of your IT infrastructure, needs to be monitored, managed and protected. Fail to implement some basic security controls, and you risk facing the financial, legal and reputational implications of a security breach.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure your printer security is solid. Here are four tips to help you amp up your print security:

  1. Place Printers Behind a Firewall
    Putting any device behind a firewall is a good way to secure it. This is because a firewall’s main purpose is to filter incoming and outgoing traffic. Additionally, it blocks any traffic from the internet that hasn’t been specifically requested. It’s also important to keep the firewalls updated on your devices. 

    Many organizations may put other devices behind firewalls but forget about their printers. It’s important to remember that printers can be hacked just as easily as computers, mobile devices, or tablets. A cyberattack on any device can cause the same amount of damage so it’s critical to ensure that your printers are secure. 
  2. Monitor Users
    More than 90 percent of data breaches are caused by human error. The biggest threat to the security of your data is your employees. Your employees are not typically trying to cause a data breach. However, they could print a confidential document and then leave the digital file on the printer. 

    It might be a good idea to give certain employees or departments access to a private printer. This is a good way to ensure that confidential files remain confidential. However, even with a private printer, the documents can be stored in the printer’s memory and can still be accessed. 

    It may be worth it to spend some time on training to ensure that your employees are printing in a secure way. It can be extremely valuable to make sure that your employees have been given the necessary knowledge and have a better understanding of how to protect the company from cyberattacks. 
  3. Make Sure You are Using Effective Software Tools
    Using the right software tools is essential. It may be more cost-effective to use software as opposed to having certain employees or departments use private printers. With secure printing software, employees are able to share printers with other employees and also maintain security. 

    With the right software tools, users will need to enter a PIN or access code to print documents. This means that whoever ordered the print will have to be there to enter the code. This prevents documents from being left where anyone can access them.
  4. Check Your Security
    You are probably checking the security on other documents frequently. It is just as important to check the security of your printer. Make sure that your security software is regularly being updated. Outdated software can easily lead to a cyberattack. It’s also critical to regularly test the security of your printer. 

The best way to guarantee print security is to utilize managed print services. With this, you'll have a team of experts to help manage all aspects of your organization's printing devices. It also keeps all of your printing devices running smoothly, and you'll have one less thing to worry about. These services also reduce costs, optimize workflow, and reduce the carbon footprint. Learn more about the managed print services offered here at Milner.