Secure Your MFP: Best Practices for Improving Your Large Format Printer Security

Like many other types of technology today, large format printers are vulnerable to security threats. If unauthorised third parties access data on your printers, this could negatively impact your business. Taking the right printer security steps can help properly secure your multi-function printer (MFP) and prevent potential issues.

What Is Printer Security?

Printer security entails protecting connected printers from external threats, including hackers who may be able to access the printer's stored data. Failing to do so could result in costly data loss. In 2019, 60% of businesses experienced data loss because of data breaches affecting printers. Because of this, these businesses lost an average of over $400,000.
The risks involved with using printers and other devices with a WiFi connection make it important to use the proper security measures. By optimising for secure printing, you can further secure your business.

Is Printing Secure?

With the right measures, printing can be secure. However, many businesses don't prioritise printer security best practices. Printers often broadcast an unsecured network for the purpose of wireless printing capabilities, including remote printing. While this allows for more convenience, it puts data at risk. As a result, the printer may store copies of any scanned or printed documents, along with other sensitive data.
Unauthorised third parties may be able to access connected printers, configuring them to send unprotected data to themselves. Thankfully, you can prevent this risk from affecting your business with effective security.

How to Increase Your Multifunction Printer Security: Printer Security Best Practices

Want to increase large-scale printer security and ensure your data doesn't fall into the wrong hands? The following are some steps you can take to optimise your large format printer security.

Change the MFP Default Password

MFPs typically include a default password to access them, much like other technology. Attackers can determine what these passwords are and use them to access the system. In the process, they could change the network address to send printing data to their own systems. They may also use the printer as a channel for attacks on other devices. Others may perform Denial of Service (DOS) attacks that keep the printer from working.
To avoid these issues, one of the first courses of action you can take is to change your printer's default password. You can then restrict access to the network to secure these devices further.

Apply User Access Restrictions With Passwords

You can choose who has access to your printers with carefully generated passwords that attackers aren't likely to identify. Additionally, you should restrict the access of users to prevent unauthorised administrative changes. You'll also have the ability to control the printer's storage settings. With sufficient access restriction and visibility into the printer's operations, you can minimise the chances of a data breach.

Encrypt the Hard Drive

Another way to secure plotters and printers is to encrypt your device's hard drive. Your large format printer will likely store data on the device's physical hard drive. If third parties were to steal and access this hard drive, they would be able to access the contained data. To keep this from happening, you should encrypt your printer's hard drive.
With the help of more advanced MFPs, you can set a unique password for the hard drive through its Basic Input Output System (BIOS). This would require anyone with access to the hard drive to enter the password before viewing data.

Utilise Secure Pull Printing Capabilities

Another strategy for protecting your printer is pull printing. This would require staff to be physically present at the printer before printing. The employee would need to enter a PIN or password to complete the process. This further prevents others from accessing the print job at any point.

Implement Automatic Data Cleanup

Without secure printing, data could wind up in the wrong hands if it’s left available for an extended period. Everything from architectural CAD drawings to various business forms could be vulnerable once stored on the MFP. This is why it's often best to have a data cleanup feature that deletes this data. Once you no longer need any of the data on the printer, this feature would use auto-deletion to ensure that nobody could access it.

Install Automatic Temporary Image Removal

While deleting data can improve printer security, your printers may still contain temporary image files from previous jobs. The reason for these images is to preserve print data in the event of a disaster or inadvertent deletion. This may benefit businesses, but other unauthorised users may also have access to them.
To ensure secure printing, you should also apply automatic data cleanup to these files.

Update Printer Software Regularly

Similar to other technology, you should update your large format printers regularly. Not only will these updates help boost large format printer security, but they'll also help optimise performance.
If you want to stay on top of updates, you can set reminders for them or even set automatic updates. You can then update accordingly and make updating your printer a routine task.

Engage in Third-Party Testing

In addition to the previous steps, third-party testing can enhance the security of your printer and the privacy of your business. This testing will help determine if there are any other security risks.
Specifically, third-party testing involves connecting with IT service providers to perform tests on device and network protocols. They would then be able to indicate whether any security risks are present. Subsequently, businesses can take the appropriate steps to mitigate these risks and avert data breaches.

Keep Your MFP Data Secure With the Proper Measures

With the help of each of these large format printer security measures, you can protect your data and, ultimately, your business. Today's tech innovations make it easier than ever to keep printers consistently secure while allowing easy access for authorised parties. Implementing these printer security best practices and updating your settings will prevent data from winding up with the wrong people. The key is to find the best printing technology to integrate into your business operations.
To learn more about protecting your printer and finding the right large format printer for your business, contact HP today to speak with an expert.

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