Security is increasingly climbing to the top of list of IT priorities for businesses large and small – and with good reason. As security threats become more sophisticated and regulatory compliance requirements more strict, businesses owners are looking for simpler ways to protect their data.
While cost is still the key driver for business owners considering MPS, security is quickly becoming a close second. You have the opportunity to add value and bolster your business by raising awareness about printer and document security risks, and ultimately incorporating security expertise and products into managed print contracts.
And let’s face it, when it comes to IT security, multifunction devices are often overlooked. Malicious software and viruses are most often associated with personal computers, but the truth is, any networked device is vulnerable.
Security and networking expert Mark Gibbs explains it best, in these article excerpts:
With this increased sophistication [of multifunction devices (MFDs) running highly customised versions of open source operating systems] comes the requirement that MFDs have to be managed and their integrity has to be protected just like any other network endpoint.
To defend your network against the many potential attacks that MFDs could be subjected to there are a number of features that any enterprise-worthy product should offer and which you should have incorporated into your network security strategy. These include:
- Fine-grained and rich user authentication and access control services
- Extensive audit logging facilities
- Secure printing that blocks unauthorised viewing or theft of output by holding jobs until a PIN or authentication device is physically presented at the MFD
- Disk image overwrite to securely delete data stored in the MFD
- An embedded fax subsystem to completely separate the network connection and telephone line thus preventing unauthorised communications between the two channels
- IP address filtering to limit communications with specific networks and devices
- Support for secure protocols to transfer data to and from the MFD and for administration access over the network
To ensure that the MFD can’t be manipulated or subverted, its operating system needs to have built-in integrity checking and intrusion detection. While the technologies that support this level of systemic defence are becoming common in top-end server systems, their use in MFDs is only just becoming understood as a strategic issue in enterprise networks.
Every enterprise looking to invest in new multifunction devices should be demanding that along with the rest of the shopping list of security features, integrated operating system defences are included because ever more sophisticated and complex threats to networked devices are only going to become more common.
Want more data to convince your customers? Let them know that more than half of office workers surveyed (54 percent) say they either don’t always follow their company’s IT security policies (33 percent) or aren’t even aware of the policies (21 percent) – leaving the security of customer credit card numbers, financial reports, and human resource and tax documents at risk. This survey data from Xerox and McAfee also showed 39 percent of employees who copy, scan or print confidential information at work say they wonder (at least sometimes) whether the information on a networked device will remain secure.
IT administrators don’t always consider printers as a threat – you have the opportunity to help them put up even more defences in products and policies, so they don’t have to.