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The Importance of Printer Security in your office – Part 1 of 4

Posted on Mon, Dec 7, 2015

download (1)It has long been acknowledged that cybercrime is a growing industry, with low risks and fantastic returns for criminals with the right skills. As businesses store and transmit more data across more devices, the returns improve. The sophistication of the attacks and strategies used by cybercriminals is also improving, after all, any industry where there’s big money to be made will attract talented individuals.

In 2014, it was estimated that more than one billion records were accessed by criminals [1], and in 2015 we’ve seen many more large data breaches. In the last week of November, it emerged that the toymaker, VTech, had lost 4.8 million records to hackers, including personal data for more than 200,000 children.

Another recent breach affected credit agency Experian, leading to the leak of personal data (including social security and passport information) of more than 15 million T-Mobile customers.

These and many more businesses, including Scottrade, Trump Hotels, Ashley Madison and CVS, have had data hacked this year. These data breaches are leaving enterprises open to regulatory fines and legal settlements, and also cause untold damage to their reputations. McAfee estimates that the overall global cost of cybercrime could be up to $575 billion [2} each year, with even a conservative estimate of $375 billion being enough to make your eyes water.

Are You Focusing Your Security Efforts In The Wrong Areas?

So what can you do to ensure your businesses don’t come next on that long list of hacked enterprises?

One of the first things you must recognize is that hackers will take any means open to them to get access to data. Modern movies frequently portray hackers as bespectacled nerds hiding in their basement churning out lines and lines of code, but in reality hackers often get access to information through quite simple means, with poor, guessable passwords being one of the prime suspects.

While the current trends in IT security lay a lot of focus on mobile device management (MDM), it is often the simplest things that can leave you left open. Across the world, millions of multifunction printers (MFPs) are connected to networks and the internet. Connected as they are, these devices are just as open to malware and other attacks as the desktop computers and mobile devices on the network. Yet many businesses don’t even consider their printer security.

What about Printer Security?

Research done by McAfee in partnership with Xerox has revealed that 51% of employees use MFP for confidential documents, and 78% of the time they don’t even have to use a password to do so.

Just as worryingly, 10% of workers indicated that they rarely or never follow their own company’s security policies, and a further 20% didn’t even know if one existed [3].

Because of the way they operate, the MFPs your office uses are susceptible to attack. They can provide a wide range of functions because of their internal hard drive, network connection, and online interface – but it is also these features that leave you vulnerable.

Left unprotected, MFPs leave you open to data being stolen or misdirected from the printer, or offer a platform from which hackers can launch larger network attacks. Clearly businesses need to lockdown their MFTs. In the next part of this four-part blog post, we’ll be taking a look at some of the specific printer security threats that threaten your organization. Learn more about printer security in our next week's blog post, "The Hidden Office Security Threat of Printers", or you can contact Governor Business Solutions at 800-333-2600. 

 

 


[1] Zdnet.com – These companies lost your data in 2015’s biggest hacks - http://www.zdnet.com/pictures/biggest-hacks-security-data-breaches-2015/

[2] McAfee – Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime - http://www.mcafee.com/uk/resources/reports/rp-economic-impact-cybercrime2.pdf

[3] Xerox.com – Realbusiness: Special Security Issue - http://www.xerox.com/downloads/world/r/RBL_PDF_2012_Security.pdf

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