The multifunction printers found in most offices are equipped with hard drives, operating systems, and direct network connections, meaning they should be managed and protected with the same diligence as the rest of an office network. Office printers handle sensitive documents and information as well as provide access to all computers on its network, posing a serious security liability. These often overlooked pieces of an office network are a favorite back door target for hackers. Keep your company’s documents and data safe by following these office printer security guidelines.
Purchase with security as a priority
One of the most important factors when selecting among the wide variety of available office printers should be its security features and functions. Look for security features such as PIN protection, automatic hard-drive wipes, and manufacturer guarantees.
Physically secure your office printers
Place printers in a somewhat visible open area rather than a separate room. Consider designating separate printers and printing areas for departments where secure documents are often printed. Use a physical lock and key to secure the printer to an immovable object to prevent movement or removal of the printer.
Authorize and identify printer users
Authentication and authorization can protect against security breaches and reduce printing costs. Document owners can authenticate themselves with a PIN number, smart card, proximity badge, or biometric before their pages will print. This authorization should also be applied to altering a printer’s settings. By employing these methods, users know they can be identified for misusing a printer.
Install manufacturer supplied security
Often completely free, all leading printer manufacturers offer security options for their products. It is vital that these security provisions are integrated as soon as a printer is added to an office network. An unprotected printer can allow a hacker unlimited access to company data. Third party security options are also available for companies looking to protect themselves against specific threats.
Update software immediately
Printer manufacturers are constantly working to counter new methods devised by hackers for gaining access to networks. When they provide a new update it is crucial that you do not dismiss it. These updates are as important as software updates for your company’s computers.
Provide constant training
Educate all staff members on the importance of printer security. Regular training sessions are necessary to ensure that everyone is familiar with safe and professional printer use.
Properly discard old printers
Before disposing of a printer, make sure to erase, destroy, or remove the internal hard drive to prevent access to previously printed documents.
Monitoring and managing an office’s printers is a constant task. For additional assistance, add a tracking tool to record print jobs and monitor usage. By auditing your offices printing practices you can see who is violating company printing policies, as well as find opportunities for reducing print jobs and saving money.