Mention IT security to most people, and the chances are they’ll think about viruses on their computers and devices, phishing emails, or passwords that are easy to crack.
But there’s an equally important threat that most people forget – one that can be just as damaging to your business and your bottom line.
Your print environment can open you up to all sorts of risks if it’s not securely configured. Too often, those risks go unnoticed, as attention is focused on more high‑profile security issues.
Let’s have a look at some of those hidden threats.
The perpetual paper chase
Uncollected documents lying in printer trays are so common they often go entirely unnoticed. In fact, 25% of print jobs are never collected 1. That’s not just a waste of paper, toner and effort required to clear and dispose of the documents. It’s also a huge security threat, as valuable data is left around for all to see.
It could be commercially sensitive information that might find its way to your clients or competitors. Or it could be confidential internal information, such as business plans or performance reviews.
Even when print jobs are collected, the threat doesn’t end there. Printed documents need to be stored securely, and often, that’s not the case: they’re put into unsecured filing cabinets that pretty much anybody can gain access to.
Because you need to keep historical records, you have to keep printing and storing. And the more you print, the more you store, so the problem grows exponentially.
Assuming you’ve solved the storage problem – with more and more secure filling cabinets – there’s still a virtual problem to face.
That sensitive data we mentioned earlier may not be lying in your printer tray, but it could very well have been intercepted on its way to the printer.
70% of organizations have had an accidental data breach through printing2. The total cost of all data breaches (including print breaches) to business is enormous – $400m annually at one estimate. And 60% of breaches can compromise data within minutes3.
Whether the data travels over the physical network cable or through a wireless connection – increasingly the case in the world of BYOD – it’s at risk.
Even when it gets to the printer, your data isn’t always secure. Multifunction printers (MFPs) these days are more like computers, and sensitive data stored on MFP hard drives is just as vulnerable to security threats.
Apps and users everywhere
All of those BYOD users expect to be able to print anywhere, anytime, from any device. If you don’t make that functionality as easy as sending an email, they may find their own solution: downloading and installing unauthorized apps to make cloud printing easier.
But making mobile printing push-button easy can also have a downside. Anywhere, anytime, from any device is fine – but not anybody. You need to be able to see who’s using your printers, what they’re using them for, and whether there’s any unauthorized access to printers.
With MFPs effortlessly scanning documents and routing them to the people and places they need to be, you also need to ensure that there isn’t unrestricted access to scanned documents.
Balancing flexibility and security
If you’re thinking all of these sound like big problems, you’re right. And they’re problems that businesses of all sizes face.
Intelligent printers and the mobile revolution have created a perfect storm for security threats – but it’s one that you can weather with the right technology.
To find out how we solve each of these problems head on over to Spot the security threats – our quick, interactive guide to common document security problems.
1. Nuance – Based on Nuance Customer data / Internal Study of Help Desk Calls↩
2. 2010 “Annual Study: US Cost of a Data Breach, The Ponemon Institute, LLC, March 2011 ↩
3. Verizon 2015 data breach investigations report ↩
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