How to keep data safe by securing your printer & Photocopiers from cyberattacks

Digital Document Solutions or DDS Group has been providing print and photocopier solutions across Victoria since 1998. Our team of passionate and experienced professionals go to great lengths to provide technology solutions to make your business more productive. As one of the largest providers of Managed Print Services, DDS Group has acquired an unique insight into secure printing for organisations. Let’s take a look how securing printers and photocopiers can minimise data breaches for any enterprise.

How printers impact your data security

Organisations go to great lengths to protect their data. From installing sophisticated antivirus software to encrypted hardware, all options to secure their information are on the table. But there is one area which often gets overlooked: printer security. Think about it. Most companies are heavily reliant on printers to print confidential data and internal process information. An unsecured printer can become the weak link in the security network; opening the door to data theft, hacking or unnecessary risk. Luckily, the solution isn’t too complicated. Following a few simple steps can secure your printer network and ensure you aren’t exposed to any external threats.

Understanding how to set-up your printer securely

Most of the times, the problem starts with setting-up an unsecured printer network. As you may know most printers, when you initially set them up, come with a default password. Unfortunately, some organisations continue to use these passwords, which can be easily guessed by a cybercriminal. The first step you should take is to do an audit of your printer network and change all the passwords to something complex (using uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols) which isn’t easily breached. But a password alone, not matter how strong, may not be able to ward off sophisticated and determined cyberattacks.

If your data is precious, then you may need to secure your printer or photocopier behind a firewall which can resist remote probing. Ensure that your printer isn’t on an open or ‘Guest’ Wi-Fi network. If you use Managed Print Services from DDS Group, then you can be rest assured that our technicians will set up your printers and photocopiers professionally and securely.

Regularly update printer firmware and malware

Printers are as vulnerable to being hacked as computers. Sometimes cybercriminals install malware onto your printer or photocopiers to siphon off data or cripple the network. Your Sharp Copier and Epson Copier usually come with in-built malware protection. Canon, for example, has tied up with McAfee as its security partner to protect your printer against malicious threats. But like all software, these need to be updated regularly to ensure that the protection stays one step ahead of the threat. Towards this end, printer manufacturers release firmware updates periodically which can be downloaded manually or automatically, depending on the printer settings. Ensure that the printer firmware is always up-to-date. If your company has a contract with DDS Group for managed print services or photocopier lease, you can also tap into our expertise to secure your printers and photocopiers.

Ensure all your employees are aware of printer security.

After a PC or laptop, one of the first things most new employees get, is access to the office printer. This clearly illustrates why data security has to be a shared responsibility in any organisation, not just the exclusive domain of the IT team. Try and limit the number of people who have access to printers in the first place. After all, your security is only as strong as the weakest link.

During onboarding of new employees, ensure that they understand how critical it is to follow good practices to secure the printer network. Even existing employees should be asked to attend mandatory training programs to ensure they are updated when it comes to printer security. When you use printers or photocopiers from DDS Group, our technicians educate employees on site how to print securely. Simple measures like avoiding printing using mobile devices which are vulnerable to hacking or not being careless in leaving printouts unattended in printer trays or resisting common phishing attacks go a long way in plugging all gaps in print security.

How to keep your print-out safe during transit and storage

Data is often at its most vulnerable during ‘transit’. When you shoot a print-out, confidential data can be hacked when it is travelling from the PC or laptop where it originates to the final destination which is the printer. You can prevent this by encrypting these vulnerable print jobs when they are in ‘transit’. Canon copiers and printers come with McAfee Embedded Control which protects the integrity of the printer system and helps limit data loss by blocking unauthorised or potentially malicious applications.

Another place which needs close attention is the hard drive of the printer. Prints are often stored as images in the printer’s hard drives and are susceptible to being hacked. While printers & copiers like Epson and Sharp copiers have built-in encryption tools, it is good hygiene to ensure they are regularly updated. Most importantly, when a print job is completed, ensure that the data which is on the printer’s drive, including emails, confidential personal information is wiped clean. Thus securing your information in a 3-ring formation: during transit, during printing and after printing. This ensures the best possible security against malicious cyberattacks.

Why install a secure ‘swipe to release’ printing solution

Swipe and release is nothing but installing an additional layer of security to the printing process in an organisation. Instead of just shooting a print-out directly, a software redirects the print job to a printer queue. Employees have to go to the printer and swipe their ID card or punch in a secure code to ‘release’ the print. This creates another buffer between an organisation and cyberattacks while also, ensuring that each print out is picked up by the employee directly and isn’t left lying unattended in print trays.

Join thousands of Australian businesses that have chosen DDS to reliably service and support their business requirements. For the past 21+ years, we have committed to high quality printers, prompt response times, and great prices, delivering you the best solution for your needs. To know more about how to secure your printers and photocopiers, get in touch with our team today.