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How organisations can protect their print privacy in a digital world

By Contributor, 11 Jun 2021

Article by Konica Minolta general manager for marketing and innovation, Mark Brown.
 

Data privacy and security have never been more critical in protecting businesses than they are today. This need will only grow as new technologies are introduced, and malware and cyber-attacks become more sophisticated.

Learning how to better protect the data used and stored by organisations’ print systems is in their best interests for the company’s future success. There are four key areas that organisations should be looking at to protect their privacy: firmware, passwords, printing protocols, and network printing.

Firmware

Ensuring printers are running the latest firmware is a bit like upgrading Facebook settings from public to private. Firmware lets print systems communicate with other systems and computers, and, when it comes to protecting privacy, will include things like bug fixes and security updates. 

Organisations should ensure their print system is set up to download automatic updates so that any security problems that have been recognised are patched as soon as possible.

Password updates and protection

While it may seem obvious, something as simple as changing a printer’s default password can help protect data privacy. Because of Wi-Fi, print systems can now be accessed remotely with a password. While this makes working easier, it also opens up organisations to potential hacks. 

Most printers have a default password, which hackers can easily look up to gain access. Changing this password to something long, complicated, and unrelated to the business name or industry will strengthen an organisation’s defence against this kind of cyber threat.

Printing protocols

Protocols, such as Bluetooth, that let devices such as computers and phones to communicate with our printers, are a necessary part of how a print system works. However, by disabling the printing protocols not in use and only having the ones in use active, organisations can help prevent any suspect devices or users from connecting to their print system. 

Even if a printer does not store any critical information, once hackers access the system, they can spread viruses and cause faults, so it’s important to keep them locked out.

Limit network printing

Leaving an unprotected printer connected to the internet makes it easier for hackers to access the network. Organisations need to ensure that the printer only responds to commands coming from their network router. 

Organisations should disable anything that involves printing over the internet by turning off the printer when not in use, disabling the Wi-Fi function on the printer, and turning off the wireless print setting on the control panel.

Printers have access to, and often store, important data for organisations, so maintaining proper privacy settings should be a priority to avoid costly and disruptive cyber-attacks.

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