Canada has a great idea for thwarting attempts at cyber espionage. At a keynote address for a cybersecurity event, Scott Jones, the head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security at the Canadian Security Establishment (CSE), briefly shared the government’s approach: framing the country as an unattractive target for attackers. One way is to make vulnerabilities harder to find by complicating network scanning, so attackers will have a much tougher time unearthing potential exploits.

“My ultimate goal is to make Canada unattractive to cyber-criminals and data hackers, because our community is vigilant and engaged so much so that threat actors aren’t enticed to even attack us,” said Jones.

While specifics differ, this is one approach businesses looking to harden their security posture can adopt. Yet even while devoting resources to cybersecurity measures, many efforts have been limited to endpoints like computers and servers—with printers often left out of the picture. According to research, 70% of organisations have experienced at least one accidental data breach from insecure print activities. This oversight can have a heavy cost, as it leaves organisations susceptible to attacks and cybersecurity threats.

Need more reasons to bolster your print security? Take a look at the following:

1. Print is still an essential part of business

Many processes have gone paperless, with many companies opting to conduct their operations online. Yet, this doesn’t mean that physical documents have been eradicated; they still remain an essential part of business, with important paperwork such as contracts and brochures still being printed and exchanged. These points to one issue: important data are still being transferred and produced through printers. If unprotected, these documents can be intercepted by attackers, while employee credentials may even get stolen via these devices.

2. Employees can be careless about handling data

Unless prompted, it’s safer to assume that most end users aren’t inclined towards print security at the office. Employees sometimes print multiple copies of a document, leaving unwanted copies unattended at the out tray. Moreover, they may not be aware about the repercussions of a lax print security policy; plenty of breaches occur due to human errors—both stemming from accidental use and malicious intents—as well as messy internal processes.

3. Printers carry Internet of Things (IoT) vulnerabilities

Printers are no longer the devices they once were. For instance, multi-functional printers do more than just print; home to some of your most sensitive information, they can also scan, copy, send emails and upload such data to the cloud. Quickly becoming indispensable in the office, they’re also connected to the IT infrastructure and network, interacting with a host of devices and endpoints—such as your computers and servers. If left unprotected, they can easily become an open door to the rest for the infrastructure for cybercriminals, leaving your business open for breaches.

4. The cost of not complying with regulations is massive

Under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations, the ramifications of a data breach can be severe, with hefty fines imposed for non-compliance. For instance, the new penalties can result in fines up to S$29.8 million, or up to four per cent of turnover. Since printers can be just as vulnerable to attacks as other endpoints, this is a loose end more businesses should be concerned about.

5. Cloud services are gradually under siege

The prevalence of cloud computing has both bolstered and complicated the capabilities of printers, many of which are equipped with some form of cloud capacity, such as the ability to print via mobile phones. These features are incredibly convenient of course, but they may expand the attack surface of your business. A piece from the Financial Times has divulged how hackers are increasingly targeting cloud services, spreading their malware to their clients. Printers—and businesses—that are not sufficiently secured may just get caught in the crossfire.

 

Data is the lifeblood of all businesses—and a good percentage of it lies in our printers and documents. If you wish to take the first step into embracing more secure printing, learn what our printer and document security features can do for you.