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How to Improve Copier Security: A Step-by-Step Guide

January 8, 2019 at 9:25 AM / by Matthew Schotten - VP of Managed Print Services

While modern printers are fantastic devices, they can be a serious cybersecurity risk. In most office environments, imaging equipment represents the easiest way to infiltrate the corporate network. This is because many office managers and print administrators leave their equipment unsecured. Many set office imaging devices to automatically accept all incoming transmissions, which makes them an easy target for cyber-criminals.

Experts have already demonstrated the implications of this kind of exploit. PostScript vulnerabilities are well-known in the cybersecurity community, yet they are still one of the easiest and most common methods hackers use to access data on corporate networks.

Fortunately, there are steps that office managers can take to improve printer and copier security in 2019. Even older devices not designed for best-in-class security performance can be improved through the use of third-party print tracking tools.

The First Step: Printer & Copier Security Awareness

Before developing and deploying solutions to improve printer and copier security in the workplace, management needs to clearly communicate what’s at risk. Most IT specialists and employees are aware of cybersecurity best practices, but neglect to follow through when it comes to imaging equipment.

The problem is that most people are not aware how unsecured print equipment allows hackers to compromise entire business networks. Many believe that if a hacker infiltrates a printer, the hacker will be stuck because of the network’s other, more robust protections.

But this approach leaves out the critical role that printers play in the office environment – they print documents, and documents contain data. If a cybercriminal gains access to the right printer, they can easily find critical information that compromises the rest of the network or that helps them impersonate an executive.

Every office employee, from the entry level to the executive board, needs to be aware of how cybercrime works. Only then can the team work together to mitigate the risks cybersecurity vulnerabilities represent.

Pull Printing Technology Offers Office Security Solutions

A comprehensive office printer security policy lets office managers and leadership establish protocols for dealing with suspicious behaviors and activities involving office print equipment. These protocols should be enforced as part of an overall document security solution that covers sensitive data from the moment it hits the print queue.

Pull printing is one of the most reliable ways to prevent unauthorized print orders from compromising sensitive data. It allows users to release print jobs using a specific action or interface that authenticates the user who ordered the print in the first place.

• PIN Code Printing

With PIN code printing, every user has a print profile that he or she can access using a specific PIN code. Employees simply enter their PIN codes into the print console in order to release their print orders.

• RFID Badges

RFID badges allow users to bypass the PIN code format and simply swipe their business ID card in order to authenticate prints. The benefit of this method is that is allows employees to release prints faster, and allows management to consolidate access control with printer security.

• Mobile Print Release

With the right bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy in place, print administrators can implement solutions that allow employees to authenticate print orders using their mobile devices. This is not quite as secure as RFID or PIN code-based solutions, because employees can lose or compromise mobile devices outside of work, but it is convenient and mobile-friendly.

One of the primary benefits to incorporating pull printing is that it allows print administrators to gain visibility into the individual behavior of print users. This allows offices to incorporate solutions like PaperCut to identify the office’s top users and establishing print volume limits for them.

PaperCut also analyzes print usage and identifies ways to reduce paper usage. It allows print administrators to establish specific print rules based on document types. For instance, an administrator may wish to have color prints routed to a particular printer with low-cost color capabilities. Software-based print rules like these also help to improve office copier security.

Talk to Your Print Provider for A Customized Solution

A professionally managed print service provider can improve printer and copier security at your workplace by offering valuable expertise for print equipment purchases. Print providers can offer you integrated document security solutions that address known vulnerabilities while making corporate networks less susceptible to zero-day attacks for which solutions do not yet exist.

Entrusting corporate imaging networks to highly reputable managed print providers improves security, performance, and environmental sustainability while freeing up IT specialist teams. It offers the best solution for tracking print usage and maintaining accountability for potential security breaches when and if they should occur.

In today’s hyper-connected digital work environment, every job is a cybersecurity job. Equip your team with best-in-class equipment and protect yourself from cybercrime with our help.

Topics: Security , pull printing , Cybersecurity , print security

Written by Matthew Schotten - VP of Managed Print Services

Matt is responsible for ImageNet’s Managed Print Services strategy, strategic sales support, and hardware and software partner relationships. He is a technology and business visionary with a reputation for developing and implementing corporate-wide technology and rightsizing strategies while controlling costs and minimizing risk. Matt supports ImageNet’s strategy and pre-sales technical support relating to Managed Print Solutions, which is designed to improve ImageNet clients’ productivity, manageability, workflow, and security all while reducing costs and mitigating risk. He currently recruits, develops, motivates and retains a team of IT system engineers, project managers, enterprise sales individuals and business process analysts at ImageNet. Matt is originally from Fort Worth, TX and currently lives in Fairview, TX with his wife and two daughters. Matt’s family lives an active and adventure-filled life, with frequent mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, and ice hockey excursions. Prior to joining ImageNet in 2009, Matt spent more than nine years working in HP’s printing business.

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