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The printer in your office is a prime on the table of hackers and malware, so what do you do to safeguard it?

Like all office device printers are susceptible to attacks by threat actors, such as the denial of service theft of information or botnet attack. Yet, studies show that they’re often neglected when implementing safety protocols within the workplace. Printers are not a priority for security for many US and European companies, which tend to be focused on the security of their hybrid or cloud-based application platforms and networks, such as emails, public networks, and traditional devices, as per the latest research by Quocirca.

The result is the reporting of 68% of companies with loss of print-related data in 2021. This is an average cost for a breach of PS632,000.

Although many organizations are gearing up for the paperless workplace, the number of printers has increased significantly since the pandemic. According to Quocirca, director of research Louella Fernandes, it is growing continuously. One of the main reasons for this is the growing popularity of the hybrid and remote approach to work that saw employees purchase computers at home to work. While there are numerous benefits for working at home, most home-based printers do not have the security measures needed, which creates an inviting space for cybercriminals seeking to attack businesses by using a less obvious endpoint.

“Printer estates have widened and now include homes, offices, and devices purchased by employees, which increases the risk of accidental data loss and cyber-attacks. Companies are finding it difficult to keep up with the print security issues and suffer costly security data breaches,” she warns.

The last year has seen the emergence of various printing-related vulnerabilities that were made possible by the simplest printers becoming equipped with sophisticated capabilities. According to Fernandes, the vulnerability increases “their possibility of being exploited by malicious actors.”

Security of printers: best practices

While it’s a significant threat, there are steps you can take to safeguard your printers and prevent costly data leaks. We will discuss the three most effective ways to ensure the security of your printer in business from access controls and a software update.

How do you secure your printer using authentication for users

Enable options that demand employees enter a PIN code or swipe their security badges before printing to authorize the printing job will ensure that confidential documents aren’t left on the paper tray. Also, it prevents documents from accidentally being reprinted to save paper and money.

How can you secure your printer by encrypting data

Employees often print documents that are full of sensitive data. If the printer’s data isn’t secured, the information is without protection over the network. Printers serve as a frank point of access to networks. This means that the data is accessible.

Encrypting data as it travels between printers and endpoints can help stop this from becoming a concern.

How do you secure the printer’s firmware?

The process of updating the firmware, the program that is to be installed on the printer after it’s made it, ‘s a standard step that’s often not considered. However, keeping the software current is a great way to detect weaknesses and secure your printer fleet.

Be aware. However, it takes time and money to test, review and update firmware for all printers. That’s why it’s not happening more often than it ought to.

In the final phase, when purchasing your printers, look for models with built-in security features since printers can be vulnerable to security issues after they’ve been purchased and shipped.

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