In an industry that is progressing technologically as quickly as the print industry, it can be difficult to keep abreast with all the changes that are taking place. However, whenever new technology developments take place, they are shadowed by associated threats.
For instance, if you notice, in recent years, remote access to printers has become possible not only at the enterprise level but also at the home use level. What this has done is given rise to printer security risks stemming from networks and the internet. This, in turn, has made it important for users to absorb and implement printer security tips.
You are most probably dismissive about kind of threat you can face if someone gets through into your printer. After all, what can that hacker do, make you use more paper and ink? However, printer security tips are important because the hacker can do much more than just make you empty your cartridges. Consider.
Why You Need Printer Security Tips
While most sources will tell you how wonderful the printer industry is, which it is, and what the wonderful new developments are, which they are, not many will focus on the threats borne out of such swift technological advancement.
Our focus on the print industry, on the other hand, is much more rounded.
Apart from informing you of major world events pertaining to the print industry and helping you improve your printing experience, we have also focused on printer security risks in the past and with good reason.
The most obvious threat associated with your printer getting compromised is breached sensitive documents. But wait, there’s more. The security of your system whether it consists of a single computer and a printer or multiple devices attached to the same network, is only as strong as its weakest link.
What this means is that if you don’t pay attention to the following printer security tips, then your printer may end up becoming the Achilles heel of your network.
Create a Printer Security Strategy
In today’s world, printer security is something that all printer owners, whether organisations or individuals, need to consider very seriously. This doesn’t mean just getting some kind of an antivirus or firewall and forgetting about other things.
Proper printer security, by its very nature, is much more elaborate and complex. In fact, depending upon your network system, the type of printer you use, and even the kind of usage you have, your printer security needs may require elements of all these printer security tips to be implemented.
But, before any other printer security tips, you need to focus on creating a printer security strategy. Your printer security strategy could be as simple as not giving your printer internet access to something much more advanced including encryption protocols, authorisation control, and constant monitoring.
Whatever your printer security needs are and whichever printer security tips you find relevant, catering to them starts with establishing a reliable printer security strategy. The first step to creating a printer security strategy is to pinpoint all the weak points. Once you’ve pinpointed potential threats, you can go about plugging them with proper security countermeasures.
Gain Iron Control over Printer Access and Usage
Printer security tips have to begin with the actual device or they’re unreliable. This means that the first thing you need to secure is your printer by controlling who gets access to it. If you’re at home, then this isn’t a big deal because only your family members will be using your printer.
However, if you’re looking into these printer security tips to protect your office printer or printers, then the required measures may be a little more elaborate. The trick is to create individual profiles for employees and password protecting each one of them.
You may not realise it but, more often than not, network breaches happen from within the network rather than outside of it. Having strong access control, authentication protocols, and other security measures in the same vein can make all the difference.
Only Allow Encrypted Communication To and From Your Printer
Now that you’ve gained an iron control over printer accessibility within your network and secured the device, you need to secure the data. Every time someone gives a print command and enters his password that information has to travel from the terminal to the printer.
During this period, this information can be intercepted or hijacked. Have you seen movies in which the conmen always wait for something to be in transit before making their play? Well, it’s the same thing here.
Securing the data means encryption. The stronger your encryption protocols are, the less you’ll need other printer security tips. Another thing you can do to protect your data is set up the printer in such a way that it doesn’t save printed documents on its hard drive because printer hard drives can be risky too.
One of the most obvious printer security tips is to protect your data when it is being transmitted via the internet. Most printers these days have remote printing capabilities. This also makes them susceptible to hostile attacks via the internet.
You can encrypt your online transfer of information too. In fact, it’s fairly simple and entails using HTTPS instead of HTTP. You’ll find the same encryption techniques being used by ecommerce and other finance related websites online.
Keep Printer Software Updated and Current
The reason why Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) keep releasing updates is that printers’ software programmes become obsolete after some time. This doesn’t only mean that new technologies are discovered but also that new printer security risks are discovered.
Updating the firmware is one of the ways through which these security gaps are plugged. Effectively, you should check for updates regularly and make sure that your printer firmware is as current as possible.
Protect the Printer Environment
Amidst all the hi-tech printer security tips, it can be very easy to forget basic countermeasures. You need to make sure that the printer environment itself is secure. This can mean multiple things for different people and organisations.
For instance, in some organisations, it may be wiser to keep all the printers in the same place, while some may require printers to be assigned to specific departments or divisions. There may even be some offices where printers need to be placed at regular intervals to ensure their proximity to all the employees.
Learn To Dispose Of Printers in the Right Way
The purpose of these hard drives is to save print jobs if there are too many coming in at the same time.
Moreover, these hard drives are also used to save printed documents in case they are required later. Since the installed hard drives are at the centre of many printer security breaches, no list of printer security tips can be complete without this one.
Every time a printer is discarded, the owner forgets that the hard drive is still installed inside.
This means that wherever the discarded printer goes, the receiver gets access to years of saved data. Making this data available only requires connecting the hard drive to a computer. So, the printer security tip here is for you to make sure that the hard drives are wiped before you discard any printer models that carry such components.