Is Your Printer the New Silent Security Threat to Your Network?

Equipping an office with printers that are connected to the Internet offers a wealth of benefits, but in an age where cybersecurity should be a concern for all of us, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential implications of failing to make sure that your printers are secure. If you’re looking to tighten security and ensure your business technology is capable of battling modern security threats, here are some essential questions to ask your IT team.

Are your printing operating systems password-protected?

It is common knowledge that passwords are essential when it comes to operating computers, opening and sharing files and logging onto wireless networks. The priority may be to ensure that all computers are password-protected, but it’s also wise to ask questions about other devices that are connected to the network. If you don’t already have passwords for your printers, your network could be vulnerable and moving to secure your printers is likely to reduce the threat of breaches and downtime.

Expert Tip: Have your print vendor perform a print security assessment on your equipment.  They may find even more vulnerabilities than you weren’t aware you had.  If we can help, just request an assessment here.

Are your printers less than 5 years old?

Technology advances at lightning speed and a brand new printer can quickly become outdated. As the threat of cybercrime has intensified over the past few years, manufacturers are doing more to step up security and protect their customers. Many modern printers boast security features and innovative intelligence, which is designed to detect and nullify threats. These features are not present on older models. If you have a printer that is more than five years old, it is advisable to consider upgrading to take advantage of enhanced protection.

Expert Tip: Schedule a demo with a valued reseller.  They would be happy to bring in the latest model(s) and allow you a “test drive” to make sure you are getting what you need.  You can request a demo by clicking here.

Do you have policies related to what can be printed?

Most businesses have security policies in place, but they tend to focus on measures like creating new passwords every few weeks and using secure systems in a bring your own device scenario. Printer security is often overlooked. If your business doesn’t already have guidelines related to what can be printed by which users, it’s beneficial to implement policies and explain them to staff members. Everyone who uses the printer should be aware of best practice guidelines and the threats associated with unsecured printer systems. If there is a policy, but it’s been a long time since you talked about it as a collective workforce, it is advisable to put the subject back on the agenda.

Expert Tip: A company like Van Ausdall & Farrar can offer multiple software solutions for print administration.  We can explain the benefits of each to make sure you are selecting the right choice for your needs.  Click here to learn more.

How do you ensure that printer firmwares are up to date?

Printer firmware updates are crucial for repairing bugs, increasing security and ensuring you get the best out of your printer. If you haven’t updated your printer firmware for a long time, and your printer doesn’t update automatically, you’ll need to follow the instructions provided by the printer manufacturer. With modern printers, you can update from the printer itself. In the case of older printers, it’s possible to download software and driver downloads through your computer’s operating systems and look for updates manually.

Expert Tip: If this is your challenge, you may want to considered a managed IT solution from Van Ausdall & Farrar.  It takes you out of the “printer business” and allows you to focus your resources on taking care of the client.  Click here to learn more.

If you’re unsure if your printers are as secure as they should be, it’s beneficial to take the Van Ausdall & Farrar Technology Strength Assessment. This tool gives you an insight into how technology benefits your business, but it also highlights areas for improvement and optimization and detects potential risks and hazards. Within 10-15 minutes, you’ll be presented with your technology strength score as well as details identifying the necessary actions to take that will improve the security of your business technology.