Sending documents for printing has been a common practice for decades.
And as of 2019, most businesses remain reliant on printers when conducting document-related workflows. These include printing out reports, contracts, application forms, correspondence, and even photographs.
What many people don’t understand, is that printers are capable of much more than just faxing, scanning and producing paper — with each having its own storage that may contain confidential corporate or customer data.
In a nutshell, a ‘printer’ is just another word for ‘computer’. Like any other computer, an unsecured printer puts the entire network at risk.
Could a paper-based workflow be the possible cause of a data breach?
How about we let the numbers speak for themselves.
First of all, although the paperless movement is in full swing, over 44% of office workers still use paper on a daily basis. Secondly, a recent survey by Quocirca shows that print security breaches are quite frequent and costly — with as many as 11% of the total number of security incidents being print-related.
The following are two major print related threats:
- A document that has been printed out and includes confidential data can end up in the wrong hands at some point in its lifecycle (for instance, when carelessly disposed).
- A print infrastructure could be weak/insecure. The truth is that even behind a firewall, a printer can be a vulnerable point of your office’s local network, which may lead to compromising sensitive data.
It’s a well-known fact that a single data breach can affect millions of users.
That’s why it’s important that businesses keep a close eye on this issue.
So how do you ensure the safety of the data transmitted across networks on printers, smartphones, computers and other connected devices?
Here are the basics on threat-proofing your office:
1. Secure the printers
Most printers do not meet the minimum security standards by default. It’ll help a lot if you ask your network administrator to change all the default usernames and passwords. Also, your printer is much more secure when up-to-date firmware is installed. Out-of-support printers are the most vulnerable ones.
2. Secure your data
Ensure the end-to-end encryption of network traffic in your office. Do the same for print jobs sent to printers. If someone has access to a printer, this person may also be capable of rerouting print jobs, opening saved copies of documents, etc.
3. Secure the documents
Make sure your documents are rock-solid secure by enabling advanced threat protection tools built for stopping malicious attacks, malware, and phishing attempts (including the potentially harmful links within your documents).
4. Make your office environment fully digital
Going paperless includes avoiding printing out paper whenever possible, signing documents electronically, and even working remotely. By doing so, you’re saving plenty of resources and presenting yourself as a reliable and financially savvy business partner who cares not only about your own interests, but also about the time and money of your clients.
Your business operations don’t necessarily have to be 100% paper-free. But still, your “paperlessness” will speak well for your entire company.
Become a socially responsible and solid business player, strong enough to be an opinion maker and inspire change through your own example.
Learn more about paperless online solutions here.