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You have locks on the doors, passwords on the WiFi, and badges at every entrance. Your business clearly takes cybersecurity in the workplace seriously. So, why are you making the common mistake of forgetting about securing your office printers?

Because office printer security is often ignored, print and copy devices 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.

Every time an employee prints a job, your network—and your company's data—is most vulnerable at three crucial moments: Let's discuss when those moments are, why they can cause catastrophic security problems, and what your IT team can do to protect the company.

1. When a page is sent to the printer

Printers are much more than glorified copy machines. They're actual computers filled with your company's critical information.

In addition to spitting out quarterly reports, printers also connect directly to wireless networks and store all data needed for scanning, copying and sending information. Without a smart IT security strategy, hackers can intercept the confidential files that your team works hard to protect. This makes focusing on printer security paramount.

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

For added security, we recommend using managed print features like 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.

With self-healing printers, after a reboot occurs, the program automatically assesses the device and, when necessary, remediates the security settings to comply with pre-established company policies.

As a result, your IT department saves time and money without additional print security intervention. 

2. When a document is alone 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 workplace security. Maybe the print job went to the wrong floor of the office. Or, maybe it was accidentally picked up by a colleague. Either way, a missing document significantly increases the likelihood of it landing in the wrong hands.

Luckily for you (and your rushed evenings), there are many print security solutions available. Here are a few of our favorite methods is with a pull print model or tool.

Pull print solves this problem by requiring two-step authentication before a document can be printed out. First, a user sends their print job to the queue as they normally would. However, before being physically printed, the job is held in a centralized print queue.

The document is only released after the original user approves it with a verification method. Typically, the job is pulled from the print queue via a unique PIN code or a badge swipe at the device itself. That way, the user can immediately grab the page as soon as it is printed.

3. Before users even click print

You sent the contract to the printer—but now it’s missing.

Maybe it was just picked up by an innocent co-worker, but you don’t know for sure. Now, you'll spend hours worrying about who found it and what consequences could be in store.

But couldn't this whole scenario could be avoided by removing the need to print at all?

Most businesses print many unnecessary documents, thereby increasing the likelihood of confidential information entering a more vulnerable network and being seen by the wrong individuals. By setting up a digital workflow and reducing your office print needs, your company can boost efficiency and save money. It also keeps information securely within your network.

One of our favorite digital workflows is Laserfiche. This tool streamlines document management so critical and confidential company data will never leave the security of your digital network. Now, your workplace will be safer than ever.

Enhance your Cybersecurity

Isn't it time for your business to take printer security more seriously? We'd love to help! As HP Managed Print Advanced Specialists (the highest designation for printing and imaging partners), imageOne can assess and manage your printing needs. We'll also develop cutting-edge IT and cybersecurity procedures so your workplace computer network will be safer than ever.

Set up a free 15-minute consultation today and together we'll discuss how to get the most secure office print environment possible. 

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Chris Mee

About Chris Mee

Chris Mee has been helping organizations save money and eliminate time spent managing their print environment for over 13 years. Chris is passionate about keeping his customers educated in all the progressive ways to reduce cost and ensuring that their print environments are in alignment with their corporate goals and needs. He was an original committee member for the MPSA, has his Enterprise Content Management certification, and is Sales Certified in Endpoint Printer Security. In his spare time Chris is an active fund-raiser and committee member for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and he enjoys skiing, kayaking, hiking, running, and biking.

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