Today’s businesses all maintain sensitive or confidential data in some shape or form, with most taking information security seriously. According to Gartner, global spending on enterprise security is expected to reach $96.3 billion in 2018. Clearly, companies see the need to heavily invest in securing their computers, networks, and mobile devices. However, while most organizations are thorough in their efforts, the office printer is often overlooked when it comes to security. This can spell big trouble.

Common printer-related risks
IT ProPortal reports 61 percent of companies have experienced a printer-related attack. Why so high? It’s because many organizations categorize printers as business equipment rather than IT assets. In years past, the printer was simply a copier of documents; but today’s printers are so much more because they process, transmit, send, and store data, just like a computer. As a result, they pose a significant risk to your organization if due care isn’t exercised. Common printer-related risks include:
• Employee accidentally leaves a document in the printer
• A document is swiped by someone before the owner picks it up
• Networked printer is hacked
• Sensitive information is sent to or from an unsecured machine

Costs of not securing printers
Not securing printers can come at a high cost, harming both your reputation and bank account. A breach can result in:
• Loss of consumer trust
• Violation of regulatory requirements with fines and penalties
• Lawsuits and legal costs associated with data breaches
• Theft of proprietary information

It’s important to always change default device passwords, use firewalls, and disable any unnecessary protocols. But that’s not all—you’ll want to mitigate all other printer-related vulnerabilities as well.

How to mitigate printer vulnerabilities
While there are real security risks associated with printers, fortunately, these can be mitigated through security measures, such as:
• Activating a printer’s internal security features
• Conducting audits to identify any vulnerabilities
• Updating equipment (i.e. software patches and firmware updates)
• Employing authentication controls
• Using encryption
• Establishing strict printing policy and protocol
• Making printers an essential component of IT security

Additionally, you’ll want to create a security-focused culture by educating your team, so they understand the high need for safe printing practices.

Working with an office technology expert to help you implement security strategies is one of the best steps you can take. They’ll help you identify any weak points in your printing processes and show you how to integrate protective measures. To learn more about how to safeguard your sensitive and confidential information, contact Golden Gate Office Solutions today.