BLOGS

Printer & Copier Hard Drives: A Security Risk?
5/28/2015
Data security will always be a crucial consideration for businesses that handle consumers' personal information, whether it's credit card or banking account numbers, private medical files or sensitive demographic information. You've likely taken measures to protect your networks, servers and computers, but what about your printer & copier? If you haven't thought about the security of your networked printer or copier, you should. If you're printing sensitive documents on multifunction, web-enabled printers, this could provide an easy point of entry for hackers.



Your printers and copiers face four main threats:

  1. Document theft and snooping: It's an obvious threat, but often overlooked. Documents left on the printer present a blatant security threat, as anyone walking by the printer can pick up a document, scan sensitive information or take photos on a cell phone.



  1. Changes to settings: If your printer settings and controls aren't secure, you're risking a security breach. Printer and copier jobs can be changed or re-routed, saved copies of documents can be accessed and redistributed, or the printer could be reset to factory settings, costing your business time and money dealing with the lost settings and files.



  1. Stored data: If your printer has an internal drive, it can store any job that it processes. If you discard the printer or sell it, or if someone steals it, any documents still saved could be recovered. It's critically important to erase stored data at important junctions.



  1. Network spies and invaders: Did you know that if a hacker gains access to your network, they can capture documents sent from your computers to your printer? If you have older model printers that lack security features or aren't password-protected, it's even easier for a hacker to gain access.


The list doesn't end there. If your devices are web-enabled, hackers can take over the systems to re-arrange or create new jobs, change settings, and more. Distributed denial-of-service attacks can busy up your printer, knocking it offline and unavailable for office use. Malware can even be installed on printer software, allowing for total remote control.
How to Keep Your Printers Secure
The first step toward securing your networked devices is to contact Coordinated Business Systems for printer and copier solutions that fit your business. We offer a comprehensive selection of technologies from global brands like Kyocera, HP, Sharp and more. It's imperative for businesses to align their document imaging requirements with current and future business objectives, and our "Customers First Always" philosophy that emphasizes security.

Below are some tips for securing the printers and copiers you already own and devices you may soon add to your document management fleet.
Location
Where you place your printers makes a difference. Consider moving common printers to highly trafficked areas. While this may seem counterintuitive, it can deter nefarious behavior. We recommend designating a printer for management and other sensitive departments and placing it in a secure area that requires a badge, key or other secure access method. As an added measure, you may want to buy printers that require users to provide identification, such as a PIN, before the machine will print.
Password-Protection
With many modern printers and copiers, you have to ability to password-protect the control panel to prevent anyone from changing the settings. Refer to your owner's manual to learn how to do this. If you purchased a printer from Coordinated Business Systems, give us a call and we will be happy to walk you through setting up a password for your printer.
Encrypt Your Connection
If hackers are determined to breach your network, a password won't stop them. Encrypting your connection when you access the admin control panel (if your printer supports it) adds an additional layer of security. For example, when accessing the control panel from a web browser, use https://, which uses an SSL encryption, instead of the standard http:// connection. For command-line access, use encrypted SSH versus clear-text Telnet sessions. The folks at PC World have more ideas for encrypting your printer traffic.

If you're not sure if your printer(s) support encryption, check your user's manual or contact the experts at Coordinated Business Systems for instant IT assistance.

We're Here to Help

Recent data breaches at major corporations have raised public awareness about information security. Now's the time to take extra measures to ensure your company's and clients' data is safe. Coordinated Business Systems has 30 years of experience delivering enterprise printer services and copier services. If you have questions about printer security or upgrading your printers to more secure models, we're here to help.