Although it took businesses and individuals some time to protect their networks and computers from malware and viruses adequately (and there are still breaches), it seems that many companies are now taking their sweet time when it comes to protecting their multifunctional printers. According to security experts, these commonly used printers found in offices and homes worldwide, pose a serious risk to networks simply because most people don't yet regard them as security threats.
Assessing the Threat
Networked multifunctional printers can provide access to business networks if they are not adequately secured. Many experts have been warning about the importance of shoring up these security gaps, but businesses and their employees have been slow to do that. Experts point out that multifunctional printers render the network just as vulnerable to the threats of hackers as PCs and other devices do. Yet even many IT professionals overlook their network printers and do not protect them as they should.
The Cost of a Breach
According to a report by Forbes, the average cost of a security breach lies in the neighborhood of $5.5 million for a company. Yet that's just the financial damage. Companies suffer a blow to their reputations as well. A company that cannot adequately protect its data from hackers loses credibility among its clients, customers, or potential customers. In that sense, the cost is enormous. Even though companies spend large sums on managing their security risks, they are often missing some essential gaps like the multifunctional printers.
How Bad Is the Risk?
Most people believe that the greatest security threat for IT networks comes from computers. Yet experts have stated that hackers can launch their full-scale attacks through multifunctional printers if the devices' access points aren't protected. Think of these printers as a back door. Once the hackers are inside, they certainly don't care how they got in; the point is they got in. The risk is even more complicated as many employees have admitted that they don't know about multifunctional printer risks or haven't taken the risks seriously. Does your business know that employees are following security protocols regarding all IT devices?
Securing Multifunctional Printers
Many companies are now purchasing their multifunctional printers that are already loaded with the necessary security software. Other businesses are working with vendors that specialize in secure printing solutions. These providers understand the inherent security needs of printers far better than most companies do. Their expertise can help businesses find the solutions they need for reliable security 24/7.
While there is no need to be fearful about purchasing multifunction printers, it is important to understand that they can compromise security when not effectively secured. These essential office items simply need to be securely protected along with all other network devices. Be sure to discuss implementing security procedures with your IT staff too. Everyone in the company needs to be aware of the risks that multifunctional printers and other devices pose for security. It's important to eliminate these risks for the good of the company and its clients.
"The Hidden IT Security Threat: Multifunction Printers", Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2013/02/07/the-hidden-it-security-threat-multifunction-printers/
"TROY Multi-Function Printers", TROY Group, http://www.troygroup.com/products/printers/multi_function_printers.aspx