Ensuring your office printers are not a security risk

It is an unfortunate, untrue assumption that computers are the office’s sole weak point, targeted by viruses and hackers. Network and wireless-connected printers can also be infiltrated – potentially putting the whole network and office at risk.

The huge benefits attached to implementing network and wireless printing means they are almost mandatory in the workplace – so here we have a look at the most effective ways to maintain your printers security throughout the office.

office printers securityAvoid off-brand printers

An Epsom or Sansumg printer found at the local market in a tatty box with a barely-legible instruction manual at a third of the price does represent good value. These off-brand printers with names resembling authentic, trusted manufacturers will not feature the same security measures – potentially endangering the network and all connected printers, computers and devices.

A spokesperson for printer specialists, Printerland, explained: “Well-established manufacturers identified the risk of network connections a long time ago, and subsequently worked tirelessly to ensure their products were as safe and secure as possible. Top manufacturers will endeavour to continuously offer updated security software to provide up-to-date protection.”

Invest in professional standard printers

The top printer manufacturers are aiming for a huge range of different markets from large Blue Chip companies to small domestic users – and will implement different levels of security accordingly. Whilst your office may only require quite a modest printer with basic functions – a model at the lower end of the budget spectrum may not benefit from the required security features, putting the office at risk. Even if you have to pay extra in the short term – a more comprehensive and secure printer could save you significant amounts of money in the long term.

Train the team

Whilst some members of the team may roll their eyes at the prospect of ‘printer training’, having used the technology for years, it is important to ensure they indulge you and carefully learn all the security features of the office printers.

Create personalised logins for the printer so any mistakes or lapses can be accounted for and the team members will accept culpability. If the team have individual accountability, they will act more responsibly – potentially deterring reckless behaviour.

The IT team should be informed of all the security aspects of a printer so they can complete all their tasks whilst observing safe practice. It is important to ensure they have direct instruction to always install all necessary safety measures on all printers and devices.

Wipe leased hardware

This CBS Investigation details the dangers of not wiping the hardware on a leased printer, copier, scanner or fax machine. Failing to wipe the hardware before returning a device could preserve important and private information which may be accessed and utilised by third parties. This is particularly important if the machines are used to print or copy vital information, business plans and employee information.

All printer manuals from respected manufacturers will include detailed information about how to wipe all information from the printer’s hardware.

Use the cloud

Google have pumped significant funds into their Google Cloud Print service and the attached security – helping ensure that cloud sharing and cloud printing are highly secure. This simplistic functionality can accommodate remote printing from almost anywhere with an internet connection and can ensure the security is not threatened by external parties and unwelcome parties.

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