Network security

Managed print services are the key to network security

By Andy Lyall, Full Service Networking

We live in the digital age and printing remains an essential part of any business. Hard copies of information are always important, and finding a way to maintain print access without depleting valuable resources can be a real challenge. Managed Print Services (MPS) is a great way to tackle this challenge and implement solutions to combat it. MPS is also an important tool that can improve the security of your network. Here’s why managed print services are essential to network security.

Digital security is vital. There have been many cases and reports that show how devastating a data breach can be. Even if you understand the dangers, it’s easy to ignore the risks in any network. Printers are arguably the most overlooked item of all. According to a CIO Review poll, 90% of businesses don’t even know how many printers they have, let alone how secure they are. Your networked printers are a glaring blind spot when it comes to data security, and it is crucial to stay informed about the risks these machines can present if they are not properly configured to fight cyber attacks or security issues. Consider the following:

A community printer is open to prying eyes. Anyone can walk around and read a document on your printer’s output tray that may be confidential. It does not require a master plan. But when the evil eyes see sensitive information, it’s a breach. This is especially true in legal and medical spaces with strict compliance regulations.

It makes sense to put an office printer on a network, as one workstation can serve multiple team members. It is a more efficient and cost effective solution for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, if a printer is on a network, it can be viewed remotely by malicious people. This can lead to espionage, data insecurity and even hacking. If businesses aren’t sure how many printers they have, how can they be sure networked printers are actually secure?

It’s often overlooked, but one of the reasons printers attract data theft is the prevalence of internal data storage capacities. A single printer can digitally hold an incredibly large number of documents passing through the printing system. This digital information can be stolen and cause huge problems for a business that has not taken the proper steps to secure these endpoints.

The problem that your printers pose a threat to your business data has been identified. This identification is an important first step, but what comes next? Every business needs a means to solve these security problems, and for many SMBs, the most reliable solution is to implement an MPS plan. This modern solution can manage printer security and directly address any vulnerabilities. Here are some ways MPS secures your business.

This aspect of MPS strikes on two fronts. If you’ve read the advice of a digital security expert, they’ve probably emphasized the importance of software updates, and for good reason. Software updates are extremely important for digital security, and an included MPS program should include software updates as part of the standard package.

Printers don’t get the same attention as other digital assets, but the exploits of printers are discovered over time. Sometimes you need physical updates in order to fix these exploits. Physical upgrades can be just as critical as software upgrades, and MPS is one of the only ways to access regular hardware upgrades without paying a hefty price tag.

Any network printer is potentially a vulnerability. A professional MPS provider will include VPN security for printers. It’s as important to their network security as yours, and it’s a simple solution that massively reduces most risks and points of attack. Printers generally need to be on VPNs, and a good MPS provider makes sure they are.

Perhaps the most underrated benefit of MPS is the industry knowledge it provides. It is not just a knowledge of printing. Chances are your MSP provider knows your vertical market. They may not know enough to run your business, but they have considerable experience with how technology plays a role in your workflows and processes. With this experience, they can eliminate the most common problems before they arise. Industry knowledge is invaluable, and you’ll get a lot of it from a reputable managed print service provider.

/ University Liberation. This material from the original organization / authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author (s). here.

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