The Cost of a Non-Secure Network

Wednesday November 28, 2018

Cyberattacks cost small and medium-sized businesses an average of more than $2.2 million. So, it’s no surprise business owners have been investing much more time and money into proactive network security – especially as the number of cyberattacks continues to rise.

While the majority of cybersecurity risks lie in your organization’s digitized data and overall network infrastructure, there’s another significant security threat you’re probably ignoring – your printer. This is particularly important for businesses that regularly print confidential documents, including schools, hospitals and law firms.

At these organizations, you don’t need to be an expert hacker to gain access to this confidential information. A data breach can happen as easily as someone picking up another employee’s confidential document that was left in the printer.

Fortunately, it’s just as easy to make sure your print environment – and confidential information– is secure. Here are a few ways to keep your data – digital and printed – safe from potential threats:

1.Pull Printing and Authentication

Many companies implement pull printing – also called “secure release” or “follow me printing” – solutions to foster a secure print environment. This strategy is particularly useful in large workplaces, where employees print to a shared printer from their personal desktop. With pull printing, users submit documents from their desktops, but the documents are held in a queue. The printer doesn’t release the documents until users authenticate their credentials directly on the device’s keypad.

This method even provides businesses benefits beyond safeguarding sensitive information during the printing process and ensuring the document only goes to the person printing it. Pull printing and authentication also mitigates the security risks – and reduces costs – by eliminating unclaimed documents being left in the tray. It also promotes employee mobility and productivity, since they can print to any device throughout your organization – they don’t need to be hooked up directly to only one department’s printer.

2.Print Encryption

Print encryption means your organization’s data is encrypted on a terminal or on a print server, sent to the printer and then decrypted in the printer. This, again, protects against unauthorized access to important documents and information in the server. There are many different software interfaces available to encrypt print jobs, which will help your data stay confidential while it’s in your system or being sent to the printer. With print encryption and authentication, you’re able to secure network traffic to and from devices, protecting print data and the contents of jobs scanned to any destination.

3.Digital Certificates and Port Filtering and Authentication

Digital certificates are electronic “passwords” that allow a person or organization exchange data securely over the Internet using the public key infrastructure. Digital certificates are used in numerous different online resources and portals – whether they’re using it to make an online purchase or for online banking.

This same principle can be used in printing to help ensure only proper network users and devices are able to access the information. Digital certificates allow your device to trust and validate the credentials of another system on the network, so remote printing becomes much more secure.

IP address and port filtering are other strategies commonly used by businesses using services hosted on the Internet. Filtering increases control over your network device activity, and you can use it to configure devices and make sure only equipment within your company’s fleet has access. By implementing IP address and port filtering, you’re also able to filter out traffic on specific network ports, making it difficult for people outside your network to gain access. Additional printers and multi-function devices can only join your wired and wireless networks via authentication.

4.Password-Protected Scanning and Fax/Network Separation

Password-protected scanning and faxing means that only verified users with the proper credentials will be able to use these devices. By separating fax and multi-function devices from the network, you’re preventing any interaction between the modem and network adapter, greatly increasing security. The modem can only accept image data from a fax transmission, so you have much more control over the information that gets transferred.

The Importance of a Secure Print Environment

While your printer may not seem like a major security threat, it can certainly put your network and confidential data at risk. By accidentally leaving an extra page in the printer tray, your employees can easily help put clients’ confidential information in the wrong hands. And, with access to a networked printer, an unauthorized user can easily discover device configurations, network information and user credentials and passwords to facilitate a larger breach.

Although 63 percent of businesses experience one or more print-related data breaches every year, more than half of companies don’t have a print security strategy. Don’t put your organization, employee and client information at risk of a hack simply because of a non-secure network and print environment. 

If you have additional questions about your business’ print environment and security, contact your local Cartridge World today! Our local experts can help you find the best solutions for your business, while facilitating best practices for print efficiency and security.