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How secure is your printing against hackers and malware?

How secure is your printing against hackers and malware?

Cyber security risks are growing and data breaches can cost you not only money but also your reputation. Of course, you take strong measures to protect all your computers, but how secure are your printers? Network, printing and imaging devices are often overlooked, even though they account for more than a quarter of significant security breaches.

Perfect Colours’s sales director Jon Telling says: “It’s becoming more important than ever to protect yourself from cybercrime. Printing networks can be a vulnerable spot but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be just as safe as the rest of your systems.” To that end, HP recommends a number of security measures you can take, which we outline below.

Where are you at risk?

There are multiple vulnerable points in your imaging and printing network. Here are just a handful of the security issues you might need to address:

  • Your ports and protocols may be giving access to unauthorised users through USB and network ports or via unsecured FTP or Telnet protocols;
  • Your network could be the problem – printing jobs and images can be intercepted as they cross the network to and from devices;
  • BIOS and firmware can become compromised during start-up or running, leaving your network open to attack;
  • Mobile printing is risky – data may be exposed or printouts left unsecured;
  • Documents must never be left unattended in the input and output trays;
  • Unsecured cloud connectivity heightens your level of risk.

How should you be protecting your data and devices?

HP has identified a number of fundamental security practices that you can implement across all your departments. Firstly, all your sensitive information needs to be encrypted. HP devices come with built-in encryptions and secure erase options for when data is no longer needed. The company also offers secure disposal of data from hard drives before they are sent for recycling.

It’s important that you can trust any contractors that have access to your devices. To this end you’ll need to know the security practices of your printer maintenance providers. For peace of mind, choose HP Secure Managed Print Services or HP partners. Finally, be aware of and disable unused ports and protocols, and review who has administrator passwords.

Protecting your clients’ data and documents

These considerations become even more critical if you work with sensitive clients such as blue chip companies, educational establishments and government departments. Data and documents that come to you from third parties need to be secure both in transit and on all your devices. Encrypting networks and data are measures that go without saying, as are firewall protection and native user authentication. HP devices and software have additional features that will protect sensitive information, such as HP Universal Print Driver Secure Encrypted Print, which provides systemic security from the client to the page. PIN and pull printing can protect private documents, while locking input trays can be used to prevent the theft of pre-printed forms such as prescriptions.

Monitor, manage and get help when you need it

The only way to identify and fix your vulnerable spots is through security monitoring and management. You’ll need to establish a unified, policy-based approach to protecting your own and your clients’ documents and data. In doing so you’ll reduce your level of risk, plug the gaps and maintain compliance. Specialist security consultants can help you to implement further measures and shape your policy.

And, if you don’t understand some of the above, we’re happy to talk you through what it all means so you can continue with your main job: printing! If you’d like further advice on your printing security, give us a call or visit to learn more.

Note* - Post updated and corrected August 2022

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