You have locks on the doors, passwords on the WiFi, and badges at every entrance. Your business clearly takes security seriously, so why make your printers the exception? Because printer security is often ignored, printers are an attractive target for both hackers and employees with ulterior motives.

The threat is so severe, in fact, that 64% of IT managers state their printers are likely infected with malware.

A print job can cause a security threat in three main places: while it's being sent to the printer, while it’s in the tray and before it’s even printed. Today on the blog, we’ll discuss why these areas cause security problems, and explain what your IT team can do to protect your company.

1. While it’s sent to the printer

The modern enterprise printer far exceeds its original purpose. In addition to spitting out your quarterly reports, printers also act as high-tech devices that connect to wireless networks and store data for scanning, copying and sending information, making security paramount. If your network isn’t secure, hackers can intercept confidential files that your IT department works hard to protect in all other areas of the business.

Encryption is an effective method to protect all data from being compromised, including that which can be accessed from the printer. When data in transit is protected, hackers aren’t able to access the information even if it’s intercepted.

For added security, our approach to managed print features the HP JetAdvantageSecurity Manager, which has a “self-heal” feature that enables your IT managers to focus on more pressing issues on a day-to-day basis. After a reboot occurs, the program automatically assesses and, when necessary, remediates device security settings to comply with pre-established company policies.

As a result, your department saves time and money, when no one needs to intervene.

2. Once it’s in the tray

We’ve all done it: you’re so eager to rush home at the end of the day that you print your document without noticing which printer you selected—and then you forget to pick it up. While this may seem like a harmless mistake, this scenario actually poses a serious threat to security. Oftentimes, the document goes to the wrong floor of the office or is picked up from the tray by a colleague by accident, rendering it missing and increasing its likelihood of landing in the wrong hands.

Luckily for you (and your rushed evenings), there’s already a few solutions available. A pull-print model solves the problem automatically: it serves as a roaming service that allows print jobs to find users based on their physical location.

In addition to pull-print, imageOne offers “secure pull print,” which takes all print jobs and, instead of automatically sending them to a printer, holds them in one centralized print queue. Then, whoever sent the job can go to any printer and pull their print job down from the queue using a PIN or swiping their badge.

3. Before you decide to print it

You sent the contract to the printer, but now it’s missing from the tray—hopefully it was just accidentally picked up by someone else, but you don’t know for sure. You’ll now spend hours worrying about who found it, and whether it even printed. What if this whole scenario could be avoided by removing the need to print at all?

Your business could be printing many documents unnecessarily, thereby increasing the likelihood of confidential information entering a more vulnerable network and being seen by the wrong individuals. Setting up a digital workflow could remove the need for so much printing, and keep the information from leaving the more robust areas of your network. Despite being a managed print company, imageOne promotes going paperless as much as possible, and our Laserfiche workflow feature streamlines many business processes so they never have to leave their secure digital network.

Your business takes security seriously, so stop treating your printers like paper-delivery systems and start treating them more like complex digital networks. Security is important at every step of the printing process. As an HP Managed Print Advanced Specialist (the highest designation for printing and imaging partners), imageOne is happy to help you assess and manage your printing needs.

If you already have a managed print service and are looking to optimize it, we can help there as well: download 6 Steps to Recharge Your Managed Print Process for more information.

Download here