Is your business overlooking security for printers?

March 9, 20172 Minute Read

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In the first six months of 2016, there were 500 cyber breaches across a variety of industries, with more than 12.8 million records exposed, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Companies are fighting these cyber intrusions by deploying network security, device security, and access controls on their desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and sometimes, on their printers. Too rarely on their printers.

The deployment trend

According to a Spiceworks survey of over 300 IT decision-makers with small and midsize companies worldwide, security practices are deployed significantly less frequently for printers than for other endpoint devices. How much less frequently?

2016 Desktops/Laptops Mobile Devices Printers
Network security 83% 55% 41%
Endpoint security 77% 61% 28%
Access control 75% 52% 40%

These numbers for printers indicate only a slight increase from a similar Spiceworks survey two years ago:

Printers 2016 2014
Network security 41% 36%
Endpoint security 28% 28%
Access control 40% 39%

Companies are addressing the problem—but not nearly fast enough. After all, these printers and multifunction devices are just as susceptible to malware and hacker attacks as PCs and mobile devices.

The bad news

Printers lag behind nearly all other endpoints when it comes to endpoint compliance and audit practices, too. Nearly 90 percent of organizations in the Spiceworks survey have a security controls policy deployed, but across the board, those policies don’t extend to printers.

For example, while 57 percent of respondents have malware defenses deployed on their PCs, only 17 percent have them deployed on printers.

Printers need higher priority

“Many printers still have default passwords, or no passwords at all, or 10 are using the same password,” Michael Howard, HP’s chief security advisor, told Computerworld in June. “A printer without password protection is a gold mine for a hacker.”

Giving printers the same priority as other endpoints—and thereby ensuring printer security doesn’t lag behind—will cut down on breaches. But IT has to make the effort to prioritize printers, something that currently isn’t happening.

To learn more about trends in printer security and how the lack of protections impact companies, check out HP’s new infographic and download the white paper.

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