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21st November 2017.

The Suspicious Suspect in your office.

When we think of data and security breaches we think of Yahoo, and the 3 billion users' whose personal contact information was hacked in 2013 but not exposed until 2017 or the NHS cyber-attack that happened in May 2017. 

But what if I told you that the printer that sits in the corner of your office is one of the biggest security risks to your organisation. Mystified? Let me tell you why.

30% of the data security incidents reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) between April and June 2017 were network printer-related. However, only 18% of IT professionals consider printers to be a medium or high risk for security threats or breaches. Here’s how your printer is a risk to your organisation’s security:

1. Message from copier (scan) 

100+ of the incidents reported to the ICO occurred when data was sent to the wrong recipient. Faxing and scanning documents is a very simple task, but can also incur security risks if sent to the wrong person.

2. Network Exposure

Anything with an IP address is connected to the internet but, whilst most IT professionals apply security practices to servers, laptops and mobile devices; one device that is often forgotten about is the printer. Your network printer is an access point connected to the network with an IP address, no different than any other network-connected device. Ensuring that all network-connected devices are secure is vital to minimising the risk of a data breach.

3. Did anyone pick up my documents from the printer?

15% of the incidents reported to the ICO were occurrences in which paperwork was either lost or stolen. This is not surprising when you think how easy it is to pick up a printed document from your printer that isn’t meant for you. If sensitive documents are left at a printer for too long, everyone and anyone can pick it up and use it.

But there is something that you can do. 

  1. You can set your printer up with authentication software. This means that documents are sent to a cloud or server print queue, preventing unauthorised scan and copy jobs as well as creating a complete audit trail.
  2. You can implement solutions, such as Secure Release/Follow-Me, which removes the risk of documents falling into the wrong hands. That's because documents are only released from the device when an authorised key card or passcode are presented.

Ethos are one of the UK's leading providers of document security solutions. Becoming an extension of your IT team, we ensure that your document infrastructure is secure. 


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