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Data Security for Businesses

March 16, 2016

In 2016, we know what an enormous threat data breaches pose to businesses of every type and size. According to Forbes, the average cost of a data breach is $5.5 million. What’s more, hackers are getting more and more creative in their means of accessing sensitive data. Companies take great care to keep their computers, servers and network secure. Few consider multifunction printers a threat to security, but they certainly should.

Think about it: the majority of today’s enterprise printers transmit data, store information on an internal hard drive and operate on a shared network. With mobile printing, malware can infect your entire network by attaching itself to a printed document on the cloud. Of course, printers carry the added security risk of producing physical documents that can be whisked away in the wrong hands.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to protect your printers:

  1. Find a good space for it. Make sure the printer is in an open, highly visible area that will discourage unauthorized file transfers, copies, general snooping. However, you don’t want your printer to be too accessible; in other words, you don’t want someone walking off with it.
  2. Enable password-protected printing. This feature holds the document for printing until the user enters their PIN at the printer. That means, documents won’t be left on the tray for anyone else to see or walk away with.
  3. Require user authentication for all printing. That way, administrators can limit certain printing functions as well as access to destinations (like scan to email). User authentication has the added benefit of producing an audit trail.
  4. Protect your printer’s administrative settings with a password. You don’t want users changing security settings on the control panel. It’s best to select your settings from your computer, but make sure the connection is encrypted.
  5. Use your printer’s document encryption offerings to ensure that hackers can’t intercept or read documents before they get to the printer. Some manufacturers, like Konica Minolta, offer security features that compress all data into an unreadable format. Even if information gets rerouted on the network, or the hard drive is removed from the printer, the data isn’t readable. You can also purchase additional encryption software for a printer that doesn’t come with encryption functions.
  6. Always keep your printer’s firmware up to date for the most enhanced security offerings, that way you’ll have the strongest defense against bugs or weak spots.
  7. Erase your printer’s internal hard drive before you get rid of it. You don’t know where the information it holds could end up.

Your best defense against data breaches is to choose a multifunction printer with top-notch embedded security software. At Pacific Office Automation, we can help you identify security threats, secure your data throughout all your workflow processes, and address all of your federal compliance needs. Contact us today for more information about how we can help with your data security needs.

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