Whilst computers and shared networks may be the most obvious entry points for hackers and viruses to enter and target office-based information, hardware and software – printers can also be targeted. This makes it vitally important that your office printers are protected from potential privacy infringements and attacks.
Here we offer a few tips to ensure your office printers don’t present a potential security risk to the workplace and all intellectual property.
Implement Professional-Setting Printers
One of the biggest features which differentiates higher-end printers designed for professional environments and workplaces and consumer-focussed printers for the home is the built-in security. Understanding the need of workplaces to protect their output and networks, all the major printer manufacturers ensure their professional printers are stocked with the latest security features including network protection and keyed login codes.
This makes it important to select professional standard printers which benefit from comprehensive security features – especially if your printed output includes potentially sensitive data.
Avoid Off-Brand Printers
Long-established manufacturers such as OKI, Epson and HP have developed high quality security features for printing technology from decades’ of research and development. Creating bespoke security features and software, the printers from esteemed manufacturers can help ensure all your office’s printed output is protected.
Printer security is one of the biggest focusses for printer manufacturers. Understanding that viruses and hackers are growing more and more skilled, the biggest companies employ huge teams to ensure that users of their products are protected from attacks and security problems.
Use the Cloud
Cloud computing has revolutionised how businesses store and share information – allowing whole offices to remotely safeguard all their documents and resources. Whilst this removed storage function may seem to open up a whole world of potential security problems, storing all resources in a centralised location – major cloud storage providers have developed high security safety features for their users.
Google have pumped significant funds into their Google Cloud Print service – helping to keep documents and resources out of the hands of external parties and unwelcome visitors.
Clean the Internal Hardware
Many people are unaware that all scan and copy jobs are stored on a multifunction printer’s internal hardware – potentially preserving delicate information. This makes it vitally important that any printers which are being sold or returned after a lease are completely wiped of information. This slightly hyperbolic (but still pertinent) CBS investigation looks into the risks attached to selling or returning copying devices which have not been completely and comprehensively wiped.
This makes it vitally important that all printers with copying and scanning functions which are being released from the workplace are wiped of any stored information – including invoices, cheques, interdepartmental memos and more.
All printer manuals from established manufacturers will include a step-by-step guide to erasing any data on the machine’s hard drive.
Train the Team
All members of the office should be trained about how to use the printer effectively and securely to ensure the safety of the machine and its operations are not compromised. Whilst established members of the team may find printer training to be condescending, it is important that best practice is carried out at all times – protecting the office and all devices connected to a printer.
Creating personalised logins for the printer can ensure no external users access the printer. Furthermore, this can help an office manager determine culpability if the security of the printer is breached.
If the office has access to an IT department, it is important members of this specialist team are fully trained in all aspects of the printer’s technology – helping them service and maintain the machine with the same respect and due diligence they would pay a computer.