Copiers & Printers are Security Risks

Even though organizations are aware of the damage that can be done to their company’s reputation and customer trust through the loss and/or misuse of sensitive data, only 22% of businesses have implemented secure printing initiatives, according to a Nuance-sponsored white paper published by Quocirca. This indicates a low level of awareness of the danger of copier/printer-related data breaches.

Every digital copier made since 2002 contains a hard drive, which has real life security implications for companies. Private documents on copier hard drives could be downloaded by the next user. Copiers must be treated like personal computers and other personal electronics. Owners of copiers must make sure to destroy all of their data before disposing of their copiers or selling them. Not doing so could result in serious security risks.

The office-based networked and multi-functional printer is increasingly becoming another security hole for leaking sensitive information. The Quocirca report published, that the top three reasons for print security not being adopted were:

  1. Low priority (92%)
  2. Unawareness of benefits (71%)
  3. Lack of a print security strategy (65%)

Companies must adopt secure printing to ensure that documents are only released upon user authentication. Also, by eliminating unclaimed documents from ever being printed in the first place. Secure printing tools offer audit and reporting capabilities in order to track print, copy, scan, and fax usage to then offer user authentication to enable businesses to monitor who printed what document at what time on which device. Also, online printers are at risk because they are more often than not connected to the LAN by IP and hackers have increasingly focused on the printing environment of the healthcare industry to intercept patient data without being noticed by anyone. There are now options provided by HP that offers a secure authentication for all online printers and can identify vulnerabilities.

A multi-pronged data security strategy must be encouraged. The white paper’s author said, “An organization’s information security strategy can only be a strong as its weakest link and, given the continued reliance on printing amongst many businesses, print security is no longer something they can choose to ignore.”