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4 ways to defend your printing environment

4 Ways to Defend Your Printing Environment

Reading time: 5 minutes
Cybercrime. Internal breaches. Compliance infringement. These are all risks and costs of an unprotected network. Cybercrime costs businesses $7.7 million a year,[1] so it’s no wonder that most businesses go to great lengths to guard their PCs—but what about printers?
Let’s look at the numbers: 60% of companies had a data breach involving printers[1]; 73% of CISOs expect a major security breach within a year;[1] and 64% of IT managers state their printers are likely infected with malware.[1]
Protecting your PCs but not your printers is like padlocking your front door and leaving the back door open. They’re both gateways into your network, and hackers and malware will try both doors to make their way in.
Critical gaps can occur at multiple points within your imaging and printing environment. Once you understand these weak spots it’s easier to reduce the risks. Here are your vulnerability points—and what you can do to help protect them.

Where are your printers most vulnerable?

Storage media | Imaging and printing devices store sensitive information on internal drives or hard disks, which can be accessed if not protected.
BIOS and firmware | Firmware that becomes compromised during startup or while running could open a device and the network to attack.
Mobile printing | Employees who print on the go may accidentally expose data, or leave printouts unsecured.
Management | Without adequate monitoring, security blind spots across your fleet may remain undetected and increase costly data risks.
Network | Printing and imaging jobs can be intercepted as they travel over the network to or from a device.
Input tray | Special media for printing checks, prescriptions, and other sensitive documents can be tampered with or stolen from an unsecured tray.
Ports and protocols | Unauthorized users can access the device via unsecured USB or network ports or via unsecured protocols (such as FTP or Telnet).
Control panel | Users can exploit imaging and printing device settings and functions from an unsecured control panel, and even disable the device.
Cloud-based access | Unsecured cloud connectivity may expose data to unauthorized users.
Capture | Multi-function printers can easily capture and route jobs to many destinations, potentially exposing sensitive data.

What steps can you take to help prevent a security breach?

Step 1: Protect the device

Embedded features and add-on solutions can help you defend your printers and reinforce simple but effective security habits.
  • Count on embedded security features to help protect from attack. Multi-level, built-in features help protect your printer against complex security threats from bootup to shutdown. HP Enterprise printers with FutureSmart deliver the industry’s deepest printer security.[2]
  • Physically secure your devices. Protect each device from theft and tampering by using a lock that requires a physical key for removal. Disable physical ports to prevent unauthorized access or use.
  • Secure code. Choose devices certified as compliant with internationally recognized security standards. Ensure device updates are code signed to confirm authenticity and integrity of the code.
  • Control access. Require authentication for access to device settings and functions to reduce potential security breaches. Restore control, reinforce security, and help reduce costs using HP Access Control Secure Authentication. This solution offers advanced authentication options, including touch-to-authenticate with NFC-enabled mobile devices.

Step 2: Protect the data

Stored or in transit, your data requires constant protection. Here are some essential steps to help ensure safe arrivals and usage:
  • Authenticate users. Ensure that only authorized employees can access data on your printing and imaging device by using PINs, LDAP authentication, proximity cards, smart cards, or biometric access control solutions.
  • Encrypt print jobs to protect data in transit. Make print jobs virtually impossible to read if intercepted. Protect your network and documents with a variety of encryption options.
  • Encrypt data in storage. Any sensitive data stored on the internal drive or hard disk is potentially vulnerable. HP devices come with built-in encryption to help protect sensitive business information.
  • Remove sensitive data. HP Custom Recycling Services can ensure data is eliminated from hard drives before responsibly recycling old products.

Step 3: Protect documents

Integrate smart hardware and software solutions with your larger IT security plan to protect the thousands of documents printed organization-wide every day.
  • Activate secure pull printing. Pull printing stores print jobs on a protected server, in the cloud, or on your PC. Users identify themselves with a PIN or other verification method at their chosen print location to pull and print their jobs. HP’s cloud-based JetAdvantage Private Print is a good choice for small businesses—it’s simple to set up and does not require a server, installation, or maintenance.
  • Enable secure mobile printing. Help employees stay productive with effortless mobile printing from their smartphones, tablets, and notebooks—while maintaining security policies and managing printer access. With HP JetAdvantage Connect and HP Access Control, employees can print from their mobile devices without connecting to your network, using a secure peer-to-peer connection.
  • Protect sensitive media with secure input trays. Equip your printers and MFPs with input trays that can be secured to help prevent theft of special paper used for printing checks, prescriptions, or other sensitive documents.
  • Prevent tampering and alteration. Embed anti-fraud features—including custom signatures, company logos, and security fonts—in sensitive printed documents such as prescriptions, birth certificates, or transcripts.

Step 4: Get help from the experts

Feeling overwhelmed? HP can help.
  • HP Printing Security Advisory Services. We’ll work with you to engage stakeholders, assess the current state of your security, develop a cohesive security strategy, and recommend solutions to help protect your business.
  • HP Managed Print Services. We can do it all—deliver a full-service, no-hassle solution, or develop a customized strategy to help resolve the imaging and printing security areas you specify.
[2] Based on HP review of 2015 published embedded security features of competitive in-class printers. Only HP offers a combination of security features for integrity checking down to the BIOS with self-healing capabilities. A FutureSmart service pack update may be required to activate security features on the HP LaserJet M527, M506, M577. Some features will be made available as a HP FutureSmart service pack update on select existing enterprise printer models. For list of compatible products visit: http://h20195.www2.hp.com/V2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=4AA6-1178ENW. For more information visit: www.hp.com/go/LJsecurityclaims.

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