What measures have you put in place to keep your office printers safe?

These days, just about everyone takes computer security very seriously. Printers? Not so much—which makes them a prime target for hackers, data-thieves, and even your competitors. Having a solid understanding of basic office printer security can make the difference between your documents being stolen and keeping them safe.

Today we’d like to discuss a few security tips ranging from firmware updates to proper employee training. Let’s get started on keeping your information safe:

#1 – Protecting User Authentication & Employee Training

The most basic and effective office printer security implementation is to make sure that anyone accessing your printers has access to do so, both within the physical office and over the internet. A variety of methods are possible to protect access to your office printers, ranging from login credentials for cloud-based data to simple PIN codes for physical access.

Regardless of the authorization method, security is only as strong as its user—employees should be trained to understand how to keep their authorization information safe (such as passwords). Stressing the importance of never sharing this information, even with other employees, will prevent the vast majority of cases of unauthorized printer access.

#2 – Use End-to-End Encryption for Sensitive Documents

End-to-end encryption means that documents traveling from one location (a computer) to another (the printer) are encrypted, meaning that if these files are intercepted in some way, the unauthorized recipient would run into the very difficult if not impossible task of decrypting the data.

The good news is that most cloud printing platforms and modern printers themselves offer this kind of must-have data protection feature. For example, the Xerox VersaLink C500, the Xerox Phaser 7500, and many other Xerox printers offer military-grade AES 256-bit encryption for documents in-transit or stored on the machine itself.

#3 – Turn On Automatic Log-Off

We’ve already discussed the importance of using authorization credentials such as a password or PIN code, but what about after the employee retrieves their documents and leaves the printer? In many cases, the user may forget to log-off or “re-lock” the printer, leaving it available for use by anyone else.

Most modern Xerox printers have an automatic log-off feature, meaning that after a set amount of time (usually just a few minutes) an inactive user’s printer access will be revoked. While employees should still be trained to logout, this feature can prevent accidental unwanted access to the printer.

#4 – Keep the Printer’s Firmware Updated

Modern printers are almost all equipped with firmware, which is the permanent software that resides in the printer’s onboard read-only memory. In a nutshell, this is the software that makes the printer work—and from time to time, manufacturers like Xerox will roll out firmware updates to make printing more efficient, to correct bugs, and to enhance security features.

Businesses ranging from tiny startups to massive enterprises occasionally neglect these updates, which can result in security problems. Don’t be like them! Keeping your printer firmware up-to-date ensures that you have the latest security features in place.

#5 – Protect Already-Printed Documents

How many times have you gone to use a printer in your office, only to find documents already sitting in the tray?

This is a fairly common occurrence in most offices, and most of us don’t pay it much mind. However, keep in mind that anyone with physical access to the printer could simply pick them up and walk away. What if those documents were sensitive in nature, containing data or other information that your competitors might find useful?

This is another case of training employees who use the printers in your office to be more security-minded. Documents should always be picked up after being printed.

Since this problem used to be so ubiquitous, modern printing manufacturers have implemented a solution called pull printing. Compatible with many Xerox printers, pull printing keeps documents safer by requiring users to execute a printing task both from their workstation and at the printer, meaning that the documents are only printed when the user is physically standing next to the printer.

Learn More About Keeping Your Personal and Business Information Safe

If you’d like to discover more about how to keep your documents safe, the trained staff at Document Solutions would love to help you learn more about which printers and security methods are best for your business.

With convenient locations throughout Texas, it’s easy to start a conversation about how to keep your data safe and which printers and accessories are best to do so. You are also more than welcome to request a free quote—we look forward to hearing from you.