Keeping Office Hardware Secure: The Devices Most Often Overlooked

February 20, 2020 at 9:15 AM / by Juan Fernandez - VP of Managed IT Services

Securing your business data and devices in the age of cybercrime is getting harder than ever. With data becoming ever more valuable, hackers go to greater lengths to get their hands on it. In response, many businesses invest more in their network security hoping to thwart a breach. However, companies often miss a spot when developing a cybersecurity strategy: keeping all their hardware secure.

The modern office relies on a plethora of digital tools to operate, and many of these devices can be hacked.

Network Security and the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a fantastic invention. The IoT network encompasses every internet-connected device, from the office printer to the smart coffee maker in the break room. These network-connected devices can move data rapidly between themselves, helping employees keep their work streamlined and efficient. Companies are quickly adopting the IoT to gain a competitive advantage in their industry.

However, when it comes to the IoT, security is not often prioritized. These devices are frequently overlooked for several reasons:

  • They don’t have interfaces: Unlike a computer or a phone, users don’t necessarily interact with the device. Instead, they interact with a computer that communicates with the device.
  • They’re modern: Most people equate modern with secure and take the security of such devices for granted.
  • A network connection is not apparent: If a device, like a printer, is considered to only interact with a computer, it might not be evident to users that it’s actually connected to the Internet.
  • Notions of security still mostly focus on computers: While most users understand that a computer needs an antivirus, the idea of a printer also requiring one remains an abstract idea.

In reality, the many network-connected devices scattered around an office are just as susceptible to a hacker – if not more so because there are no security measures taken to protect them. Always remember: if it’s connected to the internet and capable of storing (or transmitting) data, it can be hacked.

The Top Unsecured Office Devices

Most offices are awash in devices that don’t look like computers, yet they contain powerful processors, hard drives, and the seemingly ubiquitous internet connection – the same as the office computers. Unlike computers, however, they often go unsecured.

There are many devices that hackers can – and do – leverage to access a company’s network. Among the most frequently hacked include:

Printers

Printers have long been a network security concern among IT professionals. In fact, hacking them is so common that the US government has issued official guidance to businesses reminding them to keep their printer hardware secure.

Modern digital printers are not only capable of being infected by viruses and providing access to the rest of the network, but they also often contain hard drives. These hard drives hold a history of the print jobs completed by the printer. Unencrypted, this data represents low-hanging fruit for a cybercriminal. 

Phones

Phone hacking is an old practice that continues to remain a threat to businesses. Many companies now use voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone systems, which routes a phone call over the internet rather than through a landline.

Although primarily seen as a convenient and cost-effective alternative to landlines, VoIP can leave businesses vulnerable if left unsecure. In August 2019, one of the most popular brands of VoIP desk phones was found to be vulnerable to hacking.

Building Automation Systems

Cybercriminals don’t limit themselves to the smaller devices on the desk. As organizations leverage smart building systems, hackers are wasting no time with researching ways to break into them.

Building automation systems, which handle things like climate control, lighting, elevators, locks, video surveillance, and more, rely on the network connection to manage all of these elements of a building. However, they’re not only one of the most overlooked network-connected pieces of technology in an office - they're also one of the most difficult for IT personnel to access and therefore protect. IT can rarely access the firmware running a building automation system, and even rarer that it even shows up on a list of network-connected devices.

ImageNet Managed Services Are Secure and Effective

Keeping all of the office hardware secure is a full-time job, and it’s just one of the many things that an IT department is expected to do. Bringing on board a Managed Print Service provider to help manage the security of your printer fleet, and utilizing Managed IT service to protect your network and devices significantly improves a company’s cybersecurity strategy. With ImageNet, your business enjoys:

  • Total visibility: Gain insight into precisely what is in an office environment and take steps to secure it.
  • Expert guidance: Deploy best practices to configure and secure hardware, software, and smart devices, from certified and experienced professionals.
  • Constant monitoring: Benefit from round the clock monitoring to catch intrusions before they cause harm.
  • Customized services: Get solutions that are directly relevant to an office.

Keeping hardware secure is critical across an organization, whether that hardware is a computer, phone, or another IoT device. Today’s offices leverage a constellation of devices to operate, making it much more likely that a hacker will be able to find a way into a network. Don’t wait until it’s too late – secure your entire office today.

ImageNet helps companies secure their hardware and stay productive. Protect your IoT devices today.

Topics: Printer Security , MIT

Written by Juan Fernandez - VP of Managed IT Services

Juan Fernandez is the VP of Managed IT Services for Imagenet Consulting. He has been in the IT industry for over 22 years. Over the last 22+ years, he has worked for several companies, such as San Juan College, Honeywell International, and Sandia Labs. With proficiencies on HIPAA and PCI, compliance he has focused on small business, government, education, healthcare, and financial industries. Juan believes in best of breed technologies education and certifications and was recently selected to assist in writing the CompTIA A+ and Security + tests and was also invited to participate in validating the CASP (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner). Juan was also selected to join the CompTIA Subject Matter Expert Technical Advisory board. He is dedicated to improving service delivery through embracing effective and efficient use of technology, creating effective business models for delivering new IT-based services such as SaaS, DRaaS, and HaaS. Juan is active in technology collaborations related to strategy, computer infrastructure, and cybersecurity. He has served as a leader to many organizations and is an experienced presenter at technology seminars and conferences. Juan holds a BS degree in computer science from Western Governors University, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Cisco Certified Network Administrator and Network +, Security +, A+ Certified, Certified Internet web professional.

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