Time to take care of print security
Posted by: David Carthy - Technical Solutions Manager, Pre Sales
When: 15 June 2017
HP has calculated that less then 2 per cent of the hundreds of millions of printers in the world are secure. What makes this statistic particularly staggering is that we’re talking about networked devices here, connectable hardware that sits on the LAN, just like PCs and laptops, but for some reason different rules appear to apply. Very often, no rules at all.
Perhaps it’s a legacy of earlier days, when copiers and printers were the responsibility of the facilities department rather than IT, a scenario we still come across from time to time. The first step every organisatsion should take to secure their print estate is to make it the responsibility of IT. Even if they hand it over to a Managed Print Service (MPS), it’s ultimately owned by the part of the business best able to lock it down.
One you have the governance in place, you need to find a Managed Print provider that makes a security a priority and offers an end-to-end service. Choose a company that will go the extra mile and have the experience and capability to review what you have and make it better.
One good reason for outsourcing print is to tap into expertise that can deliver a higher level of security than anything you could achieve inhouse. The devil is often in the detail, ensuring you’re always running the most up-to-date firmware and that old hardware is disposed of securely.
Working with the provider, you should also align company security and privacy policies to the print function. Role-based printing and document policies ensure sensitive jobs are only seen by the author or limited to a particular department.
Because cyber threats are constantly evolving, you also need an MPS provider that operates at the leading edge. Because Ergo’s print division is part of a much larger service organisation, we can draw on the knowledge and experience of our IT security practice. Our culture is all about being proactive, monitoring and maintaining devices, identifying and eradicating threats before they lead to a breach. In the case of printers, it’s about patching endpoints, shutting down unneeded ports, and managing passwords and protocols.
Crucial to print security is hardware, which is why we partner with HP, a company at the forefront of safeguarding MFDs (multifunction devices). Innovative features on the HP Futuresmart Enterprise models mitigate the threats:
- Jetadvantage Security Manager – after a reboot or when a new device is introduced, security settings are automatically assessed to make sure they comply with pre-established company policies. IT doesn’t have to get involved.
- HP SureStart – a self-healing security solution validates the BIOS at every power cycle and checks the firmware.
- Whitelisting – firmware integrity is validated during the load process and if it fails, it holds at the preboot menu to prevent a potential malware exploit from executing.
- Runtime intrusion detection – a live protection feature detects potential malware intrusions and automatically reboots the device system memory if there’s a problem.
With Ergo’s experience and HP’s hardware, our customers can reap all the rewards of an MPS – the cost savings and efficiencies – while mitigating the threats that are increasingly targeted at networked print environments. As ever in IT, the goalposts are constantly moving so we carry out ongoing security assessments and workshops to identify new risks. Just as importantly, we work with employees and try to embed a culture of security in a company. People are usually the biggest security risk, so it’s important to get them onside though education and training sessions.