Developing good print hygiene habits has never been more imperative. The introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) has brought with it the ability for networked devices to communicate and share information in an unprecedented way. Multifunction printers (MFPs) resemble powerful computers in their ability to connect to a network, share and store information. This makes them susceptible to privacy breaches and data security threats.
Companies are often more relaxed when it comes to their MFP security standards, making them an easy target for hackers. A breach in data, malicious or not, can damage reputations, put customers at risk and cause serious financial consequences. The best practice when it comes to print hygiene is to create a preventative strategy, that will mitigate cyber security risks and ensure you have done your due diligence when it comes to protecting your information.
Beaches in data security can occur at number different points during the transfer of information; the network itself could be compromised, the MFP hard drive attacked or a printed hardcopy could fall into the wrong hands from the paper tray. It’s important to think about protecting your data at every step during this journey.
A secure network is often your first line of defense in preventing a breach in your privacy. An unsecured network puts your data at risk for anyone in range to gain access. You could also see slower access and unusually high usage rates when your bill arrives. It is also recommended as a best practice to encrypt your network, a process that scrambles information. In the event your data is intercepted, it will be unreadable to an outsider.
Breaches in privacy are not always malicious, often a data leak is caused by an innocent human error. For example, an employee could forget to pick up a printed private financial statement, leave an original scan on the printer, or fail to properly destroy unwanted print material. Without a process to minimize these errors, large holes can appear in your print security strategy, and make for bad print hygiene practices.
To mitigate these errors, most MFPs allow you to set up an authentication process using pull printing. Pull printing occurs when a print job is held in sequence and released when the user authenticates themselves at the printer using a smart card, pin code or biometrics. This system reduces paper waste from unclaimed print jobs, reduces unattended documents and simplifies queue management from an IT perspective. After printing is complete, files stored on the printer should be electronically shredded immediately or according to a regular schedule. Don’t forget about hard copies – physical documents should also be shredded and disposed of in responsible manner.
Organizations should take special consideration to prevent against duplication of sensitive documents. Techniques could include using a hidden watermark, applying a secure password to the document or using magnetic ink.
Educating your employees and customers on print hygiene best practices can help them understand the risks associated at each level of information sharing. Consider hosting an educational session to talk about printer security and provide the most up-to-date strategy and policies to empower your workforce. Having your team on the lookout for potential areas of concern can give you extra eyes and ears when it comes to monitoring your data security.
A complete security strategy should include the management of your print environment. A trusted managed print services (MPS) provider can help you track and record your print jobs to monitor and optimize device usage, and monitor behaviour of your users. This can help you identify problem devices and users who are failing to abide by company polices. PrintFleet is committed to keeping your data secure. Our solution can take the headache out of managing your devices, save on money, time and even identify potential security issues before they arise.
Implementing a security strategy can be a daunting task with many different areas of concern. Use the Print Hygiene Checklist to keep your organization up-to-date with our recommended best practices.