What is secure printing and why is it vital for your business?

Written by
Jason
Published on
December 17, 2020 12:28:24 PM PST December 17, 2020 12:28:24 PM PSTth, December 17, 2020 12:28:24 PM PST

Due to the threat landscape’s growing prevalence in markets of all shapes and sizes across Australia, business’s understanding of cybersecurity and their overall maturity towards it is growing. But there’s one element/priority to security that is perhaps falling by the wayside or not getting the necessary level of focus that is deserves: print security.

  

For the average user or someone not overly well versed in cybersecurity, the question may get thrown around; “why do I need to worry about print security when I have a strong foothold across the other areas of my IT environment?”

  

Long story short, printers have an IP address, they’re connected to your network, have sensitive and business critical information sent through them every day and as such, present potential entry points for hackers just like laptops, mobile phones and tablets do.

 

The numbers around print security paint quite the picture.  

  • Over the past year, 11% of security incidents reported by organisations were print-related1 
  • 59% if organisations reported a print-related data loss incident in the past year2 
  • 55% of printers are behind in security patches3 

We say this a lot, but it speaks very true to the reality of cybersecurity for the modern business - every decision must account for security, and cybersecurity is an holistic approach across the modern business, touching every point of focus regardless of its context. In this new digital world, security is everything and secure printing is a must.

 

But what are some of the specific vulnerabilities that printers can pose to your business?

 

Network – A forever flowing highway of traffic, potential hackers can look to exploit deficiencies in your printers and intercept jobs or documents as they travel between locations and the printer.

  

Management – A lack of visibility across your printer environment can lead to gaps within your hardware, creating risks and potential entry points for hackers.

 

Ports – Unsecured USB, network or other ports also present potential risks for the information running through your printers.

  

Control Panel – An extension of the management element, if not taken care of and managed correctly, hackers can exploit inefficiencies and in your printer’s settings and functions.

 

BIOS and Firmware – Just like your other hardware devices, your printers have firmware that can be compromised if not kept up to date with regular security patches.

  

Capture – When you scan a document that image can remain in your printer for a very long time and if your printer isn’t secured correctly, cyber criminals can infiltrate and send those scanned images anywhere they like.

 

Storage Media – Just like the scanned images, if you send a document to the printer there’s a good chance that file is stored somewhere, leaving potentially sensitive information at risk if not properly looked after.


It’s important to understand that your printers are just as important to your overall security posture as any other piece of hardware in your IT environment, if not more important due to the amount of information that runs through them.

  

On top of having a robust and defined security strategy when it comes to your network protection, data risk management, and backup and disaster recovery, you also need to leverage printers with the right security setup – hardware enforced security tools at the BIOS and firmware level that are correctly managed to protect your documents, data and greater network.


At Landmark Computers, we are strongly recognised as one of Australia’s best-in-class IT procurement specialists, providing the right tools for the right jobs. And we’re proud to announce that we now offer managed services in addition to our procurement capabilities.


If you’re struggling to identify the right way forward with your print security strategy, need help assessing your current level of security, or want some advice on identifying the right printers for your requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Melbourne’s most trusted IT store since 1994.