Importance of print security cannot be ignored in the age of IoT, says Y Soft

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While the expansion of the Internet of Things is helping bring added efficiency and convenience to the way people work, such a rapid proliferation of internet- and cloud-enabled devices is also allowing the cyber threat landscape to grow with it.

Although the need to secure devices such as desktop computers and mobile devices may garner a lot of attention, businesses need to include print security as part of their wider cybersecurity strategy. This is according to Y Soft Corporation, the enterprise office solution provider.

Given the frequency of data breach incidents, it is clear that cybercriminals are developing ever more sophisticated methods to conduct their activities. The recent WannaCry ransomware attack demonstrated the potential scale of such data breaches, and mobile-focused vulnerabilities such as Cloak & Dagger have shown that smartphones are very much in the firing line too.

While these stories may make headlines, networked printers – especially multifunction printers that offer a range of features – present a considerable risk to businesses if they are not properly secured. This is encapsulated in a recent report by Quocirca which revealed that 61 per cent of large enterprises have suffered at least one data breach through insecure printing.

Nick Parkes, Regional Sales Manager at Y Soft, said: "Networked printing has undoubtedly made print management processes more efficient for organisations. However, this increase in software sophistication can be a double-edged sword if businesses do not have the means to secure it. Having a large fleet of multifunction networked printers means that would-be hackers have a wide variety of access points through which to facilitate a data breach. Quocirca's report has shown that more needs to be done in order to secure the print channel."

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force next year, businesses that do not do enough to protect sensitive data could be liable to fines of up to four per cent of global annual turnover. Parkes believes that this should give decision-makers added incentive to look at securing their print estates.

He added: "GDPR is going to set strict security standards for UK businesses of all types, and the penalties for non-compliance will be severe. Considering the clear risks associated with insecure networked printers, it is vital that print security is considered a key pillar in a company's wider cybersecurity strategy."

To make this happen, Parkes believes that enterprises should implement print management software and hardware that places strong emphasis on security, and for the focus on this to be supported by wider decision-makers beyond the IT department.

Parkes said: "Despite the expanding threat landscape, software and hardware solutions exist which can secure an organisation's print environment. These include secure authentication through smart cards, PIN or login credentials, which ensure that only authorised personnel can access the various functions of a networked printer and strengthens document security."

He concluded: "Alongside this, greater awareness amongst C-suite executives beyond the IT department needs to be encouraged. A key part of changing attitudes towards print security is raising awareness of the risks: if this is done successfully as part of efforts to engender a company-wide evolution in culture, print can be effectively incorporated into the organisation's wider cybersecurity strategy for the long term."

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