Best Practices for Printer Security

best practices for printer security

The printers in your office can be an easy source for a data breach. In addition to documents that lay unprotected in output trays, some printers can store information in memory that can be recalled or intercepted. These devices should be managed and protected, just like the rest of your IT infrastructure.

Secure the Device:

Increasing the physical security of your printers can help prevent document theft or snooping, unauthorized access to stored documents, and misuse of the printer’s ethernet or USB connections. Putting them in a visible open area that is accessible to most users may be a better idea than having them in a separate room or office where you can’t effectively monitor them. Consider designating separate printers for management and other sensitive departments and keep those machines secure from other employees.

Make sure that you keep your printer’s firmware and drivers up-to-date. Often, updates add new or improved security features, patch known security holes, and fix other problems.

Secure the Data:

Consider buying printers that require users to provide some form of identification (such as a PIN) before it prints.

How often have you gone to pick up your printout and found multiple documents in the printer tray or sitting around nearby? These documents can be viewed or carried off by anyone, creating a security risk.

Don’t neglect hard copies of documents. Shred sensitive papers when you no longer need them.

Before disposing of an old or broken printer, make sure that its internal hard drive (if it has one) isn’t saving any documents. Check your printer’s documentation to determine whether it has a drive, and if it does, to learn how to erase the data.

Your printer can be an unexpected security liability. They often handle sensitive documents and information, and they could potentially provide an access route to other computers on the network. It’s time to take printer security seriously.