Printers are an essential part of every business. As environmentally friendly as we’d like to be, it’s hard to imagine running a business without printing. Smart printers often referred to as multi-function printers (MFPs) offer many benefits to businesses. However, if they aren’t protected effectively to maintain your network’s cyber resilience, they could be providing a back door into your computer network. An opportunity for hackers to gain access to your network to launch an attack either against your organisation, or against other businesses.

On average, a cyberattack costs a business over £4,000 to remedy[i], but this is an average figure and experiencing a cyberattack could cost your business millions, depending on the type of attack and how resilient your business is.

Aside from the need to reinstate their data, businesses will also need to secure any systems, and repair or replace any damage that may have been caused. There may be reputational damage, and trading be forced to cease for a while as the issue is resolved. With each of these, the costs mount.

The biggest risks to a network include weak or default passwords, misconfigured devices, software vulnerabilities and software updates. To stand a chance, your protection needs to be multi-layered. Here are 4 ways you can boost your cyber resilience and limit the impact a cyber threat has on your business.

  1. Inventory your network.

Understanding your network is essential if you are to successfully manage it. Working through the equipment, the software, and ensuring everything has been updated with the latest patches and software is essential to ensure your system is as secure as it can be.

When you first appoint a Managed Print Service, they conduct an inventory of your network to ensure that all your existing systems are up to date and that you are using the best hardware for the job. However, not if you aren’t using a MPS, you should carry out your own network inventory.

  1. Ensure your printers have inbuilt security controls.

In the same way that your PC has virus protection, modern multi-functional printers (MFPs) should have controls that limit network access and manage and oversee the use of protocols and ports to prevent viruses and malware.

Many MFPs come with integrated protection these days, including run-time intrusion detection, BIOS protection and self-healing capabilities in the event an anomaly or attack is detected.

If you’re recruiting a managed print service, they’ll be able to ensure that any printers within your network are fitted with the right security features. In the event that your printers aren’t equipped with the security functionality you need, they’ll be able to source printers that have the requisite security features you’re looking for at a competitive price.

  1. Protect your data with user authentication and access rights.

By creating data and security policies that enable you to limit those that can access and print sensitive documents, you vastly reduce the threat of data theft within your organisation.

If you’re using a Managed Print Service, they’ll create a security policy for your print network which could include user-authentication printing and access rights to ensure that only those who are authorised to access specific types of data do so.

MSPs will usually offer training to your members of staff to make them aware of their responsibilities around keeping the network secure. This really helps to boost the awareness of good data hygiene, however if for businesses that aren’t using a MPS, this is another achievable step you can take to improve your cyber resilience.

  1. Understand who is printing off data, when and where it’s being printed

Continual monitoring and management of specific activities is useful if you want to see what’s really happening to your data.

There are some cyber security software solutions that can give you this visibility, but if you have a managed print service that you use, they often have audit software that enables organisations to identify when data was accessed and who it was accessed by. Only by understanding how your data is used can you keep your data safe from abuse.

If you’re not currently using a Managed Service Provider, but want to boost your cyber resilience with the expertise and knowledge gained over years of delivering managed print services to companies like yours, give us a call today to find out how we can help on 0345 305 2601.

[i] https://www.itproportal.com/news/cyberattacks-cost-uk-businesses-dollar370bn-last-year/

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