Data security usually refers to securing of databases and servers.VPN, IPS and firewalls are considered essential. Data security is a multi-billion dollar industry as companies world-wide scramble to keep their security up to date.
However, most of these companies have never considered their printer security. Who would have thought this necessary? After all, printers are simple output devices, aren’t they? Au contraire!! Modern day printers are capable of multitasking and can be used along side several devices at a time. Several models even have their own hard drives on board.
Generally, large corporations talk about destruction and retention policies referring to portable hard drives, DVDs, CDs, printed copies of different documents and even the hard drives of laptops and servers.
Sensitive data passes through these printers minute by minute, with companies not realizing the capabilities of these machines. This underscores the necessity for security consideration. Some of these functionalities include:
- scanning and emailing files to other users
- copying files to other servers
- fax reception and distribution via a separate fax or email account
- storage of files on its onboard hard drive
Onboard data is an overlooked security breach. Any well equipped and trained hacker can access this critical data. Thoughtful placement of printes within the company’s local network where only trusted users and administrators have access must be considered. Additionally, when a printer is discarded or decommissioned, the onboard hard drive should be removed and/or destroyed.