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Tech Check

Office Printer Security Risks You Need To Know About

Cyber security is a top of priority for most businesses. It’s all about protecting your IT infrastructure. This is particularly important in today’s brave new world of ‘Internet of Things’ connectivity. However, one often overlooked connected ‘thing’ is your humble printer and copier.


Beyond the daily frustrations of paper jams and lack of toner, your seemingly harmless printers can in fact present a significant security vulnerability, particularly if they’re not properly managed. Hackers are getting more creative and, with so many different devices connecting to your printers, the threat level has never been higher.

So, to help safeguard your business, we’ve rounded up some invaluable insights from our print security experts. In this article, we guide you through the critical aspects of printer security and the steps you can take NOW to protect your business.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: What Is Print Security?
  • Why Print Security Matters
  • Common Printer Security Vulnerabilities
  • Business Benefits of Implementing Printer Security
  • Practical Steps to Secure Your Printers
  • Key Takeaways
  • Further Reading

Introduction: What Is Print Security?

Printer security refers to the practices and technologies used to protect printers and the data they handle from unauthorised access, misuse and cyber threats. In the technological age printers are no longer simple, standalone devices. They are sophisticated, networked hubs capable of storing, processing and transmitting sensitive information. They also have access to your network and all the computers on it. This evolution has made them an attractive target for cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to valuable data.

Why Printer Security Matters

While many IT teams focus on more obvious network intrusions, printers and copiers often cascade down the list of priorities. The hackers know this, that’s why printer security should form an essential part of any robust IT security strategy. These devices are a gateway to your organisation’s network, and if compromised, can provide cybercriminals with access to sensitive information.

Need more convincing? Then let’s invoke the findings of a recent study by Quocirca which found 60% of businesses have experienced a print-related data breach. That’s bad news for business.

Luckily, we have some good news too! By implementing robust printer security measures, your business can protect sensitive data, ensure compliance with regulatory standards such as GDPR and HIPAA, reduce financial risks associated with data breaches and maintain their reputation with clients, partners and stakeholders.

To eliminate these risks, we first need to understand them.

5 Common Printer Security Vulnerabilities

As businesses increasingly rely on networked and cloud-based printing solutions, getting to grips with these vulnerabilities becomes crucial. Addressing these risks is key to safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining a secure IT environment.

Here are five common printer security vulnerabilities you need to know:

#1 Outdated Firmware

Outdated firmware is a significant security risk. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in older firmware versions to gain access to your network and sensitive documents.

#2 Open Ports

From phones and tablets to laptops and beyond, today’s bring-your-own device and remote working culture increases your vulnerability points. As you’ll no doubt agree, more people equals more devices, so failing to close off unused ports leaves your network exposed.

#3 Device Open Protocols

Protocols like AppleTalk and NetBEUI, often left open for easy connectivity, pose security risks. It’s essential to close unnecessary protocols, akin to closing windows in a house to prevent intrusions.

#4 Lack of Encryption

Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Internet Printing Protocol Stream (IPPS) are crucial for encrypting data transmitted over the network. Without encryption, your print jobs and sensitive data are at risk.

#5 Unsecured Print Jobs

Unattended print jobs can be intercepted or retrieved by unauthorised individuals. Solutions such as PaperCut provide secure print release mechanisms to protect sensitive information from being left unattended.

The Benefits of Implementing Printer Security

By addressing these vulnerabilities, your business can significantly reduce its risk of data breaches and ensure its printing environment is secure. To close these gaps, companies often look to third party trusted providers such as Right Digital Solutions. Here at RDS, we’re busy helping safeguard the networks of businesses just like yours.

By implementing robust printer security measures, we generate an array of commercial benefits. These include:

  • Data Protection: Ensuring print security helps protect against data breaches. Encryption and secure print release mechanisms prevent unauthorised access and mitigate the risk of data leaks.
  • Compliance and ESG: Many industries have regulations (such as GDPR and HIPAA) mandating the protection of sensitive information, including printed documents. Implementing adequate print security measures ensures compliance and avoids penalties.
  • Cost Efficiency: By preventing unauthorised printing and reducing data breach risks, organisations can avoid financial losses associated with legal liabilities, data recovery and damage control efforts.
  • Business Reputation: A breach in print security can damage an organisation’s reputation and erode trust with customers, partners and stakeholders. Demonstrating a commitment to robust print security practices enhances credibility and strengthens business relationships.

Steps to Secure Your Printers with RDS

Implementing robust printer security measures can be a complex task but, with RDS, it’s a streamlined process. Here’s how we can help you secure your printers and protect your IT infrastructure:

Initial Assessment

RDS offers a Tech Check to investigate your network thoroughly, identifying potential vulnerabilities and areas for improvement.

Comprehensive Report and Discussion

Following the assessment, RDS provides a detailed report and discusses the findings with you, offering insights into your current security posture.

Actionable Recommendations

Based on the assessment, RDS delivers actionable recommendations and a strategic plan to enhance your printer security and protect your IT infrastructure.

Arrange Your Tech Check

Conclusion: Key Takeaways

As you have seen, printer security is an essential – but often overlooked – component of your overall IT strategy. Here are the key points your business should keep in mind:

  • Understanding Printer Security: Printer security involves protecting printers and the data you handle from unauthorised access, misuse and cyber threats.
  • Importance of Printer Security: Printers are potential gateways to your network. Securing them is crucial to prevent data breaches and protect sensitive information.
  • Common Printer Security Vulnerabilities: From outdated firmware, open ports, device open protocols, lack of encryption to unsecured print jobs and beyond, audit all vulnerability points.
  • Benefits of Implementing Printer Security: From data Protection and compliance, to cost efficiency and reputation, securing your estate secures your business.

By keeping these key points in mind, your business can significantly enhance its printer security and protect its IT infrastructure.

Contact RDS today for a Tech Check and discover how our Managed Print Services can protect your business from potential security threats.

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