How to know if your printer is protecting the data or not

Published: August 10, 2017 3:47 AM

Modern workplaces increasingly rely on information technology to drive daily business. Technology brings with it the promise of increased productivity and profitability.

privacy, printer privacy, privacy data, printer privacy data, private data, data protectionIn the Indian context, IT decision makers have still to consider the threat of non-secured multi-function printers on an organisation’s network security. (Reuters)

Modern workplaces increasingly rely on information technology to drive daily business. Technology brings with it the promise of increased productivity and profitability. But it also opens an organisation to risks. While organisations spend billions of dollars on cyber security infrastructure and training employees, a crucial aspect is often overlooked—the humble printer – except that it is no longer so humble.

Today’s printers look a whole lot like PCs. They have many of the same hardware components as PCs, including disk drives, keyboards, and LCD control panels. Printers have built-in operating systems, are connected to the internet and can be used to send emails. Today’s mobile workers need to print wherever they are—without sacrificing security, often from their own devices. And today’s IT managers need tools to manage security across the fleet more efficiently. While print security is emerging as a serious concern in many parts of the world, organisations’ investments in securing them remain low.

In a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute, 30% of respondents said their organisation had a process for identifying high-risk printers, while 44% said their organisations’ security policy included the security of network-connected printers. And 64% said that their organisation assigned a higher data risk to desktop or laptop computers than printers.

But security issues aren’t limited to computers and networks. The print room and the printer itself are often the most unsecured in the office. Users can change device settings, access data, or send scanned documents anywhere. Confidential print jobs are often left uncollected. These security breaches can be costly, especially if customer data is compromised.

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With organisations not prioritising the need for having a secure printing system in place, the possibility of a printer being the gateway to a breach increases manifold. Hence, it is imperative to invest in a secure and robust network that prioritises the printer.

In the Indian context, IT decision makers have still to consider the threat of non-secured multi-function printers on an organisation’s network security. Organisations will have to invest in secure printing solution and services. Security and risk contingency plans will have to be more comprehensive considering all end points in a network which could be vulnerable to malicious code and viruses. The aim is to put in place measures to mitigate data security risks for end-point devices such as printers.

One way that organisations can look to secure their printing environments and networks is by moving to ‘Managed Printing Services.’ These include advanced security professional services, software solutions and expanded core delivery capabilities for organisations’ print infrastructure. Customers get the ability to secure their print environment with the strongest possible protection available, with real-time responses to evolving threats and compliance requirements.

The writer, Rajkumar Rishi is senior director, Printing Systems, HP India

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