Ensuring that your networked printers are secure, offering no threat to you, your team or the office can be a difficult and labour-intensive job, but it is ultimately a hugely important task. Without a secure printer network, hackers and cyber criminals may be able to gain access to important files and critical information, so it is vital that your printer’s security is every bit as robust as the protection afforded to the office’s computers.
But before you start to panic and wrap your printers in bubble wrap, we’ve put together a six-step process to help you protect the networked printers in the office.
1. Shop around
With an absolute smorgasbord of different printers available from trusted manufacturers all around the world, it can be difficult to pick the perfect model for your office. When searching for the perfect printer, its security features should make up an important search parameter. Look for a range of different, yet robust, security features such as PIN protection and auto back-up delete to help offer multiple layers of network printer protection.
2. Branded security
When you’ve picked the network-ready printers to make up your office arsenal (or are looking to update current machines), chances are you’ll have been offered the chance to implement manufacturer-developed security features. If you have ignored them previously, now is the time to install them. These features will be tailor-made for your machine, and offer the most comprehensive protection.
3. Continued updates
After installing the initial security to protect the network, it can be tempting to put your feet up and believe that your job is done. It is however important to keep up to date with the latest security features and implement them accordingly.
Printer specialists, Printerland, explains, ‘Hackers are constantly inventing new high-tech methods to attack computers and networks, so all the top brands and manufacturers are constantly updating their security software. Installing up-to-date security measures will help protect your printer network from potentially dangerous attacks.’
4. Extensive training
Top-of-the-range machines can only help you so much in the fight against network-infringing security attacks; the management and team members must also pay due diligence. It is important that the entire team is trained in implementing security features and following safety procedures. This will ensure that no member of the team becomes a weak link, reducing the chances that your printer network will be targeted by cyber criminals.
5. Add culpability
Some employees who have been using printers their entire lives may find ‘printer training’ to be a little condescending, and may not fully respect the importance of the matter. This makes it important to add culpability for all personnel. By giving each member of the team an individual and trackable account, it is possible to determine which members of the team are not respecting the security principles and are providing potential entry points for attack.
6. Clear your tracks
The majority of printers are fitted with a hard drive which will store information about your previous prints. This is used to help speed up the printing process, and create a more seamless transition between content creation and printing. However, it is possible for this saved information to be used against you.
Window Security reveals that hackers could potentially access this information via the network if the security is not robust enough. This is particularly important if you are printing private information that you do not want to be revealed.
Routinely wiping the hard drive, or investing in a printer which automatically wipes the hard drive, can help remove the risk that the information will fall into the wrong hands.