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Best Practices to Secure Your Network Printer – Part 3 of 4

Posted on Wed, Dec 23, 2015

This post is the third of our four-part series on tips to keep a secure network printer within your office. We take a look at how you can ensure your network printer and confidential data remain secure, and out of reach of hackers. As the third part of the series on Network Printer Security, this blog post will provide you best practices to secure your network printer within your office environment. 

Physically Securing Your Network Printer

The easiest way to hack most devices is to have physical access, so your first step in protecting your network printer is to ensure that it is physically out of reach of unauthorized individuals.

First locate your printer in a controlled area where it is easily observable, this alone can deter people from trying to interfere with it. Secondly you may want to consider locking it down physically so that it cannot be easily removed from your premises. Once you’ve done these two actions, you should enable your printer’s authorization settings and require a username and password for use. PIN authentication or Smart Cards won’t stop a determined hacker, but every security barrier you put in their way will help. You’ll want to disable any physical ports on the printer that you don’t need to use to prevent unauthorized access. Lastly, if you are getting rid of your printer (or if leased, returning it), you should physically wipe it of any data held on its internal hard drive. Otherwise someone can easily get access to it once it has left your premises.

Digitally Securing Your Network Printer

When sending print jobs or accessing the control panel, your messages can be digitally intercepted. To protect against this, you should always use an encrypted connection, for example if you use a browser to connect to your printer’s interface you should be using a https:// address. Some printers support encrypted connections including SSL/TLS and IPSec which will ensure that messages sent between your computers and your printers are kept secure. To prevent hackers from accessing your printer remotely you should never open up your admin interface to the internet, and instead require a network connection only.

Don’t Forget to Update

Printer companies release firmware updates and driver updates to add new features and secure against known exploits. If you do not update your printer, you are leaving yourself open to security vulnerabilities that have already been identified and corrected by the manufacturer. If these exploits are known to the manufacturer it is probably because somewhere, someone has already used them to hack a printer – don’t let your device be next.

multifunction-printerStay tuned for our next update, net week, - in our final part of this blog series we’ll be taking a look at some of the world’s most secure printers! For more information on network printer security, visit www.GovernorSolutions.com, or call our printer specialists at 313-441-4600.

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