Faster Delivery = Happy Users
Automated Process = Fewer Errors
Standards = Cost Reduction
Order Visibility = Confidence
Linking Systems = Efficiency
Most small- and medium-size business owners and executives relish the prospect of growth. Increased client sales, greater revenue, and rising profits matter to driving the company even further forward. These benefits propel visions of adding new products, expanding into other markets, investing in cutting-edge technologies, creating economies of scale and so much more.
Of course, SMB principals recognize that many risks accompany growth, too. Growing businesses are aware of the dangers of spreading themselves too thin too fast, and of possibly decreasing the quality of products and services under increased pressures. But likely there’s less attention placed on cybersecurity risks and threats. Evaluating internal IT security processes can help ensure that customer, intellectual property and other sensitive data stays safe.
While most smaller companies today are as savvy as larger businesses about the need to use on-premise or cloud security solutions to keep PCs, laptops and servers free from viruses and malware, they may not enjoy the advantages of a dedicated IT staff to point out that other important endpoints need security, too. These are their networked multifunction printers (MFPs). As new employees come on board and new I/O devices are added to support expanding workloads—without putting in place security measures to support these and existing MFPs—the possibility grows that unmanaged and unmonitored units will be accidentally or maliciously compromised.
More staffers in a growing business’ main office, for instance, means that there are more people around who might casually glance at a printout left in a device tray that contains customers’ payment data. No harm meant, and no identities stolen, but still a breach of customer confidence and probably a compliance violation, too. And should an employee have bad intentions, such a situation could have even more dire consequences.
An unsecured wireless network MFP also is vulnerable to internal bad actors or outside hackers. Malicious users may easily intercept print or scan jobs, then access and copy information stored on a device’s hard drive or in its memory—among other data theft activities. All of this can result in big compliance fines and other direct and indirect cybersecurity breach costs, which are especially harmful to smaller companies striving hard to get big. There even have been instances of cybercriminals using printer hard drives to host malicious files and to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks through vulnerabilities in some common network protocols.
In fact, according to a survey from research and analysis firm Quocirca, 60% of organizations said they had at least one print-related data breach.
Fortunately, securing MFP activities doesn’t have to be a trying and tiresome effort, which is especially important in a smaller business whose’ IT resources still may be scarce. It’s fairly easy, for example, to change a printer’s default password to one that’s more challenging to break, or to disable or restrict SNMP protocol access via access control lists in order to stand up to DDoS attacks.
Security-minded MFP device manufacturers will smooth the way even further with smart management solutions that make secure printing a standard that the business can live up to. They may provide server-based administrative tools that create a secure printing, scanning and copying environment by requiring user-authentication with card readers and demanding user logins with passwords and PIN codes to release print jobs, keeping sensitive documents from falling into the wrong hands. IP addresses can be filtered, too, limiting what other devices can or cannot have access to the MFP. Multifunction printer management systems that fully encrypt communications to and from these devices mean that only those with proper authorization have visibility into them, thus stymying hackers hoping for a view into confidential data.
The best of these solutions also let today’s workforce print and capture information securely across any of the business’ devices, no matter which office or branch a user is currently in, while complying with the organization’s security policies. And, they offer central reporting and auditing capabilities, in case the SMB needs to investigate specific users that may be linked to an attempted device data breach.
With capabilities like this, there’s no longer any reason for MFPs to be vulnerable endpoints just waiting to be exploited. And there’s no reason for companies to worry that their growing organizations will face even greater risks than before from these necessary devices.
This article was originally published here.