Your network is only as secure as the least-secure device on it. For many companies, that means the printer. Failing to secure these devices can lead to a number of problems, including the risk of a data breach. Understanding why, and how, to secure your printers can help keep your business protected.

Printer Threats

Printers have access to your network, just like computers and other devices. However, while computers are subject to regular updates, the printer is often overlooked, making it a perfect weak spot for hackers to infiltrate your network. Once access is gained to your printer, hackers can use it to do a number of things including:

  • Reset your printer’s settings
  • Manipulate print jobs
  • Capture all the information in any print job stored on the printer’s hard drive
  • Cause your printers to go offline
  • Destroy printer hardware
  • Gain access to your network, causing a major data breach

While this is not a comprehensive list, you can see that a printer breach can cause a wide range of trouble.

Securing Your Printer

The best way to avoid a problem with your printer is to proactively secure it. There are a number of things you can do, including the following:

  • Change the password. Many people forget to change the printer’s password from the default.
  • Employ user authentication to limit printer usage to only authorized users.
  • Perform regular security updates on your printer.
  • Monitor print usage, to catch any anomalies sooner.
  • Use the same network security protocols on your printer as you do on other devices (firewalls, etc.)
  • Use the printer’s built-in security features.

Data breaches don’t only occur digitally. If sensitive data is left on the print tray, this can also cause a problem. Pull-printing, in which a print job won’t begin until the user is at the printer, can help eliminate this problem for a more secure printing environment.

You secure your computers and other devices – but is your printer secure? Taking the time to make sure your printer has the same level of security as the rest of your network is an important step in having a truly secure network. Hackers know the printer is often the weak spot in the network, so be sure to take the necessary steps to secure your network printers and prevent a data breach.