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7 steps needed to address print security

Findings from Quocirca's new Global Print Security Landscape report have brought the complexity and scale of print security vulnerability into sharp focus.

59% of businesses have experienced data loss in the past year, costing European companies an average of €400,000 per annum* according to the Quocirca report.

Given the complex nature of the print security landscape, Brother is sharing seven insights and recommendations to help firms protect themselves from the far-reaching financial, legal and reputational implications of a data loss.

An infographic from Brother and Quocirca on the improvements businesses can make with their office printing strategy for increased security and reduced data loss

1. Get the board onboard

The scale of devastation caused by cyberattacks and data breaches, combined with the requirements of GDPR legislation, mean print security needs to move beyond the domain of the IT department. It must be strategically considered at board level with CIO and CISO involvement.

2. Conduct a thorough audit

It is crucial for businesses to uncover any potential print security vulnerabilities by ensuring their print environment is included in regular security audits. This is particularly important if your business has a mix of new and legacy devices. With regards to Managed Print Services (MPS), not only do most providers offer full assessments, an evaluation will structure the ongoing monitoring of devices once the fleet is optimised and secured.

3. Change pre-set admin passwords

Default or pre-set admin passwords are a weak point for print devices – the good news is this is easily fixed. Once the device is installed, simply change passwords, opting for something strong and secure.

4. Update your firmware and patch

Potential security vulnerabilities for print devices can be significantly reduced by updating firmware and configuring the device for automatic updates. If you have any questions around this, contact your print device manufacturer for advice.

5. Protect print jobs

It’s not only printing devices that need protecting, but the documents you are sending to print. End-to-end encryption of network traffic ensures secure transfer of print jobs to printers. As most printers temporarily store print jobs, ensure data is encrypted.

6. Monitor devices 

Knowing the current status of your printing devices provides a holistic view of your entire print environment. Businesses should consider using software tools to monitor  devices and allow  issues to be fixed as soon as they happen. Devices generate a wealth of data and this can often be used to identify potential security events and enable fast responses to attacks. MPS users can also obtain regular compliance reports, which should include data breach monitoring and reporting.

7. Train employees

With many data loss incidents being caused unintentionally (Quocirca found that 32% of print security incidents involved the accidental actions of users), it is vital that businesses educate employees on the importance of protecting sensitive information and raising awareness of malicious threats. Often, MPS providers will offer help with training needs.

* Quocirca conducted an online survey with 250 SMB and enterprise organisations in UK, France, Germany and the US in December 2018.

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