According to a survey of over 2,000 global IT security practitioners—conducted by the Ponemon Institute—60 percent of respondents acknowledge that a data breach involving a network-connected printer has likely occurred, and most respondents predict a data breach resulting from insecure network-connected printers in the next 12 months.
But only 34 percent of respondents said their organisation has a process for restricting access to high-risk printers, including printed, hard-copy documents. These glaring security gaps can leave small and midsize businesses in particular open to attacks that are expensive at best and crippling at worst.
Jason O’Keefe, HP Print Security Advisor, said most organisations underestimate how vulnerable they are through their print infrastructures. “Most companies don’t think they need security for their print infrastructures, so print is very low on their priority list for security,” he said. “We present our framework, which has up to 200 controls that we evaluate for vulnerabilities across the print infrastructure. All of a sudden, eyes widen, and the tune changes completely. The initial scepticism becomes disbelief and shock, which then opens the floor for a very frank and lively discussion.”
A good printing services strategy should start with an evaluation of vulnerabilities. According to Michael Howard, HP Chief Security Advisor, most print-based security vulnerabilities boil down to four factors: aging technology; failure to implement security controls properly; heterogeneous vendor environments; and unmanaged print environments.
Did you know the average organisation has around six users per printer? While computers and laptops may get locked down between uses, printers don’t follow the same protocols—leaving a vulnerability for every six users. “Many security teams could not tell you how many print devices exist in their environments. There could be 5,000 devices—all open,” said Howard. “When you think about how pervasive print is in most organisations, the lack of proactive security is shocking and scary.”