Every printer is an important part of your company’s network security strategy—yet they’re often overlooked. Instead, people think of them as “just printers” and not the computers filled with sensitive data that they actually are. 

Believe it or not, over 50% of all organizations don’t take adequate measures to secure their printer data. This leaves them vulnerable to a devastating breach. 

There are many mistakes companies make with their printer security. Here are four of the top mistakes:

1. Leaving Documents in a Printer Tray

This is perhaps the most common—and the most solvable—problem we see. Simply put, documents should never be left sitting alone in a printer tray. 

Just think about all the sensitive data printed on a regular basis: customer information, payment and billing information, business strategy, insurance documents, and so much more. Imagine what could happen if that information got into the wrong hands?!

Thankfully, there are solutions to this common print problem. For one, ensure your team understands why they should avoid leaving documents in the output tray. Without awareness, they might unknowingly downplay the potential consequences.

Also, some modern printers now have built-in solutions. Though choosing these machines are a great start, most are limited in their security capabilities. That’s why we often recommend additional programs like PaperCut. 

PaperCut requires authentication from an employee at the device itself before printing anything. This eliminates any issue regarding sensitive information being left out for anyone to see—or walk away with.

2. Leaving Data on a Printer’s Hard Drive

It’s easy for people to think of printers as oversized carbon copy machines—and this is a huge mistake. As an actual computer, every printer stores the data of every document they print. This creates a huge security risk if you’re not careful.

That’s why setting up your printers to regularly wipe their hard drives is vital. Some companies even do it nightly after business hours. Furthermore, if a print job is sent to the print queue but never actually authenticated for print, this data should also be wiped to minimize any vulnerabilities. 

Lastly, it’s crucial that the printer’s hard drive itself be properly encrypted.

3. Set Your Printer Behind a Firewall (And Keep your Software Updated)

These two tips go hand-in-hand. It might sound obvious to set your printer behind a firewall, but it’s surprising how often we see them left out. Also, all of your printing devices should be behind the same firewall as the other devices on your network.

It’s also critical to stay up-to-date with software patches. Even outstanding companies like PaperCut, HP, and Laserfiche continuously find “kinks in the armor.” By regularly updating your software, you’ll also receive their updated security measures. 

Essentially, just because you have the right software in the right place doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fully covered. By neglecting to stay up-to-date, you can become exposed to security breaches. 

4. Lack of Employer Training and Enforcement

It’s important to ensure every employee is trained on proper print security practices. In any organization, some people will be more tech-savvy than others and educating your team on the reasons behind these programs, procedures, updates, is helpful in executing your document security strategy. 

If your organization is making mistakes, don’t panic! At imageOne, we’re here to help companies like yours optimize your document security strategy. Schedule a 15-minute discovery call and we’ll show you the way to a “sleep better at night” security strategy.

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