Keeping print secure against cyber-attacks Jun 15 2017 | Darren Bird, head of technology, Xeretec Scotland

NOWADAYS, large-scale cyber-attacks are a growing risk to networked devices posed by external hackers. The recent ransomware attack on the NHS caused severe disruption to hospitals and GP surgeries across England and Scotland, highlighting the need for companies to take their cyber security seriously.

I recently considered the sort of risks that network devices pose internally. This week, I’m looking at the growing risk to networked devices posed by external hackers. Connected devices with web browsers are a great entry point to a company’s network and all the confidential customer and business data held within.

Whether your business is a major brand or an SME, the consequences can be the same – a direct impact to the business, customer concern over a breach of confidential data and an incalculable damage to customers trust in a brand, that can rock its reputation for years.     

In my opinion, there is a reason why organisations place a lower priority on print security. Simply put, print as a business function is often overlooked. Companies have only recently started to wake up to the fact that unmanaged print can become a hidden – yet considerable - cost to an organisation.

If print costs are only starting to become a realisation for many companies, then it may take even longer for businesses to appreciate the security vulnerabilities that print and print devices can expose them to.

Another factor could be the fact that cyber security is typically viewed as being a computer or network problem. The data content of these systems are considered extremely valuable to hackers, but all it takes is an innocuous printer in the corner of the office to become a gateway to these robustly protected assets. Therefore, businesses need to realise that it is just as important to protect the potential gateway as it is to protect the assets that cybercriminals want to steal. 

One of my concerns centres on whether businesses are simply unaware of the security risks that printers pose. I believe it is Xeretec’s role to ensure that print security is an integral part of our clients IT security policies. This is where our long history of working with clients in sectors where data confidentiality is vital, such as financial services, legal and healthcare, pays dividends.

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