October is Cybersecurity Awareness month and to kick it off this year, we wanted to dive into a much-overlooked cyber security risk – multifunction printers (MFPs). While businesses take many precautions to safeguard their systems and their data from cyber-attacks, many don’t realize how weak their printer security is. The fact of the matter is that if your printer is connected to a network, it is just as vulnerable to a cyber attack as a computer is.

In an effort to help as many businesses secure their print devices, CyberNews’ security team conducted an experiment to see how many devices they could access. They found more than 800,000 networked printers around the world that were accessible over the internet. After selecting a sample of 50,000 open printers, they successfully hijacked 27,944 printers (≈ 56%) and forced the devices to print out a short 5-step guide on printer security.

How confident are you in your printer security?

printer security for the distributed workplace

The Threat to Printer Security is Real

For hackers and malware looking for a way onto a corporate network, unsecured IoT deployments such as printers provide the perfect entry point and the pandemic has only helped to speed up this activity.  According to a 2020 Quocirca Print Security Study, prior to COVID-19, only 33% of IT Decision Makers were completely confident in the security of their print infrastructure, dropping to just 21% post-COVID-19. Additionally, six months after the onset of the pandemic, 64% of organizations reported a
print-related data loss due to unsecure printing practices, including device malware.

At the same time, the pandemic has also driven a large majority of businesses to move employees to a flexible work plan.  With more employees working remotely than ever before, this creates additional security risk which should be a top-of-mind issue for companies with remote employees – with the average cost of a print-related data breach in the US being $1.6 million.

Threats can come from just about anywhere. While some can be malicious and intentional, others can come from simple employee mistakes. What’s more, the increasing number of hybrid and remote employees has also increased the number of entry points, highlighting a growing security risk for all.

How Secure is Your Business?

How secure are your print devices and policies? Take the quiz below to assess the state of your printer security, and see how much you might be at risk! At the end of the Cyber Security Awareness month, we’ll be doing a drawing of all participants and one winner will receive a $100 Visa Gift Card!

Download the Guide: Prevent, Detect, Protect

As a Xerox Platinum Partner, Parmetech provides our customers with a set of offerings that take a comprehensive approach to workplace security that proactively protects your device fleet, the data associated with it, and can meet your specific security needs.

Some questions to think about when it comes to current state of your print infrastructure:

  • Do you have a print security policy?
  • How is security being managed on your print fleet?
  • How are you auditing for compliance?
  • Can you see the compliance status of your fleet in real-time?
  • Do you know if users are printing off work hours or printing confidential information?
  • Do you know if/when users are accessing data they shouldn’t?

Download our Xerox Device Security Framework Guide for a deep dive into this multi-layered approach to workplace security that mitigates risks through a focus on:

  • Preventing intrusions and safeguarding access to devices, documents and data
  • Detecting malicious or suspect behavior and attempts to breech a print fleet
  • Protecting sensitive content and confidential data and documents by managing unauthorized activity

Download the Xerox Security Framework Guide.