It might not strike you as obvious, but printers can be responsible for some of your organisation’s biggest security holes.
According to research from Quocirca, over 50% of employees regularly see sensitive documents abandoned at the printer, with around a third admitting to seeing confidential correspondence. What’s more, many printers keep a copy of any documents stored locally on the machine. All it takes is a few lines of malicious code to leak these documents to a third party.
Although actual data breaches via printers are one of the least common forms of data loss, they do still count for 18% of all data breaches. Given the financial and legal fallout from a data loss of any size, these are worrying figures.
Most businesses have policies around what documents to share, when, how, and over what networks. Very few, however, have policies over what to print, where to print it, and how quickly printed documents must be claimed.
What industries are most likely to be affected?
Mid-market companies and public sector organisations are likely to be the most vulnerable to this sort of malicious data theft. They are big enough to steal from yet also small enough not to have policies that secure their print machines.
In fact, 90% of organisations say that securing print is integral to their overall security strategy. This figure gets even higher for financial and professional services companies. Yet despite this intent, only a quarter have already fully achieved their security plan.
Just 60% of financial and 48% of professional services companies have implemented what’s known as “pull” or “follow-me” printing. Using this system, the user must type in a PIN or swipe their card to release a print. This minimises the chance of prints being abandoned at the printer, whilst also securing the temporarily saved document.
Tackling security concerns with MPS
A Managed Print Service (MPS) can be a bit of a broad and ill-defined term. At Capital, we use it to refer to our print programme where we manage and also optimise your entire print fleet.
This means we are constantly monitoring usage to identify areas for improvement to:
- Security – Are policies being followed? Are there any vulnerabilities? Are there any opportunities to improve security policies?
- Efficiency – Can the office use less paper or ink? Could the office run as effectively with fewer printers?
- Software – Is the software up-to-date? Does it have any current security issues? Would additional software provide more flexibility?
- Environment – Are there ways to reduce waste? Are machines the most efficient on the market? Can end-of-life machines be recycled?
- Device placement – Can devices be relocated into more central areas?
As part of a MPS, you should get regular reports in addition to a full analysis of your print fleet with a range of suggestions on improvements.
The benefit of a MPS is that you don’t need to complete time and also resource intensive print analysis on a regular basis solely for catching security holes. Spotting every potential issue is also quite tricky unless you have print management specialisms in your IT security team.
Choosing an MPS provider
There are some key questions to ask potential providers to ensure you receive the best service available:
- Will they provide proactive consultation on the best print solutions for your organisation?
- Can they demonstrate experience in your sector?
- Will they work as a print partner rather than simply a supplier?
- Do they have the technical ability to secure print across multi-site organisations?
- Do they have accreditations and certifications from leading technology companies and vendors?
- Are they part of any government or public sector frameworks?
- Do they have sufficient local resources to respond to your needs?
Related article: 7 questions to ask your print provider.
Finally, you may want advice on this topic. Get in touch to request a call-back at a time convenient to you.