Is your business safe from hacking?

Data security is one of those buzz words that have entered the lexicon of business-speak and it looks like it’s here to stay. If words like this make your eyes glaze over and your mind starts to wander, the chances are that data security is not too high on your radar. This just makes you all the more likely to suffer some sort of data breach. With 43 % of cyber-attacks targeting small businesses, putting in place a system for securing your customer and employee data, for example, is of paramount importance. It’s time to get your head out of the sand and wise up to protect your business

Data security is one of the biggest growth industries of our time. Why?

Data is king. Every transaction and interaction we make is recorded and archived on a server somewhere, often in the Cloud. Much of this data is personal, private and certainly of no business to anyone else. And yet, data gets hacked and sold to the highest bidder, or used to extort money. The possibilities for exploitation are limitless.

To all account managers out there!

Handling sensitive data is a daily occupation for anyone in a client-facing role.  How you handle it could make or break the contract. In the daily grind, we come across all sorts of data and its protection is one of the key preoccupations for business today. It comes in many forms – email distribution lists, company databases, contracts, simple requests for information, for example.  These are things that you wouldn’t email to the competition or store publicly on your website for anyone to see. Why? Because your customers have a right to privacy and because you don’t want to give away your competitive edge.

What has this got to do with my office printer?

Everything – Data security

Printers are no longer basic machines that churn out copy after copy. The arrival of MFPs (Multi-Function Printers) changed all that and now we tend to have a centralized, smart machine in our offices and also our homes that emails, scans, copies and stores our private documents; sometimes it even prints them!

Printers have evolved into centres for document management. They can authenticate users, send alerts and notifications about their use and connect into the company network to make life easier for employees. At the same time, most office printers have multiple users sending commands for print and these users are human.

How many times have you been waylaid heading to the printer to pick up your documents, only to then forget where you were going in the first place and leaving your precious document sitting in the output tray for hours at a time? Never? I don’t think so. With open offices; shared space between departments and businesses; leaving your sensitive print on the output tray could prove disastrous. Not only that, if you are scanning, copying, emailing from your printer, all that data could be hacked too – we saw a major downfall not too long ago, and that’s because the hacker wanted money for the computers to restart, how many hackers are out there stealing data from one source and selling it to another, right under our noses?!

If your printer can answer these questions, your business data will be much more secure.

1. Who is using me?

Make sure you know who the users are.  Include printer access in the physical and virtual access badge of each employee so there is no possible, unauthorized use of each machine.

2. Am I protected?

Keep your printers in a specific lockable room, within sight, so the output tray is secured from prying eyes and sticky fingers.

3. Do I feel secure?  

Data is vulnerable as it passes between a printer and a PC. Install data encryption for documents passing from PC to Printer or from Printer to PC.  Only the user entering the correct key into the Printer interface will enable the reading and printing of the document.

4. Am I on the pull?

Pull or Push Printing means that print jobs don’t just stack up and wait for their owners.  Users can initiate the job as they arrive at the printer.

5. Can my memory be wiped? 

When it comes to disposing of your printer at the end of its lifecycle, don’t forget about the hard drive.  Potentially thousands of documents are stored there offering a mine of information.  Depending on the origins of the printer, this could be anything from confidential financial reports to campaign data that you certainly don’t want to get into the hands of the competition.

If you think that the time might be right to stop with the ostrich routine, your first port of call needs to be your MFP manager – this could be your FD, IT or Office Manager, depending on your company structure – they are in the best place to call Colyer and discuss the best secure printing solution for your business.

You are only as secure as your weakest link. Don’t let it be your printer.

Colyer London

Author Colyer London

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