Print security—it’s about protecting devices, data, and documents

December 3, 20163 Minute Read

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Cloudbleed. WannaCry. The Shadow Brokers. Petya/NotPetya/Nyetya/Goldeneye. Every day, it seems like a new cyber attack or hacking group launches—some might even say hacking is so easy in today’s world that it’s gone mainstream. All a hacker needs to do to inflict massive damage to your business is boot up a botnet army, set it loose, and watch as it wreaks havoc on a path of destruction.

It’s no wonder IT teams are reexamining their data protection tactics to fend off intruders and firm up every aspect of their IT environment. Print security, in particular, often receives limited attention when it comes to securing every endpoint and sealing network vulnerabilities in your environment.

To stop thieves trying to hack into your network printers in their tracks, consider the following:

1. Protect your devices

  • Apply administrative passwords to prevent changes to print device settings and functions. Authenticating the login username and password before changes can be made to settings or accessed from a network can prevent hackers from slipping in unnoticed.
  • Purchase print devices with threat detection and software validation features, so only authorized firmware and software are installed and executed. Embedded security features—such as self-healing BIOS, whitelisting, and continuous monitoring—can easily detect and stop hackers.
  • Arm your team with information to sharpen their skills around security, such as HP’s Secure Print Analysis tool, and configure devices according to security best practices, such as closing unused ports and protocols and changing passwords.

2. Protect your data

  • Require user authentication—such as PINs, LDAP authentication, proximity cards, smart cards, or biometric access controls—to access device features. And double down with features that monitor, collect, and track data by device and user.
  • Ensure print job data is encrypted in transit and at rest on the printer’s mass storage. Doing so ensures your print jobs remain almost impossible to read if intercepted. An array of sophisticated printing technology is available to safeguard data as documents move through the system.
  • Protect scans with document encryption features and encrypted email to lock out would-be intruders, restrict access to supported send-to destinations, and use authentication to control and track usage by device.
  • Use secure mobile-printing solutions to safely allow printing from mobile devices. Server-based solutions provide secure pull printing, as well as advanced management and reporting capabilities, and isolated peer-to-peer wireless connections—separate from company wireless services—protect network assets.
  • Data on hard drives remains alive and vulnerable unless you take action. The hard drive on discarded equipment can become a digital time bomb for your company and a gold mine for identity thieves. Make sure to erase sensitive data from hard drives before recycling old products.

3. Protect your documents

  • Activate secure pull printing to store print jobs until the user enters identification at the selected printer. Pull printing can store print jobs on a protected server, in the cloud, or on your PC. Employees can authenticate with two methods (proximity and PIN), using dual-factor authentication.
  • Documents can be tampered with or stolen from an unsecured tray. Equip your printers with input trays that can be secured to prevent theft of special paper used for printing checks, prescriptions, or other sensitive documents.
  • Employ anti-counterfeiting solutions, such as original HP toner, to prevent tampering and alteration of sensitive documents. You should also embed anti-fraud features—including custom signatures, company logos, and security fonts—in sensitive printed documents, such birth certificates or transcripts.

IT teams today face increasingly complex foes. Partner with experts who can work with you to shore up your printer security. Print professionals can assess your vulnerabilities, address compliance needs, and work with you to build a robust print security and data protection plan, so you have one less aspect of your IT environment to worry about.

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