Managed Print Services Is Key to Network Security

By Andy Lyall, Full Service Networking

We live in a digital age, and printing remains an essential part of every business. Hard copies of information are still prominent, and finding a way to maintain printing access without depleting precious resources can be a real challenge. Managed Print Services (MPS) is a great way to address that challenge and implement solutions to combat them. MPS is also an important tool that can improve your network security. Here’s why Managed Print Services is key to network security.

Digital security is vital. There have been many instances and news stories that highlight how devastating a data breach can be. Even if you understand the dangers, it’s easy to overlook risks in any network. Printers are arguably the most overlooked item of all. According to a CIO Review poll, 90 percent of businesses don’t even know how many printers they have, much less how secure they are. Your networked printers are a glaring blind spot when it comes to data security, and it’s crucial to stay informed about how risky these machines can be if they aren’t properly set up to combat cyberattacks or security issues. Consider the following:

A community printer is open to prying eyes. Anyone can walk up and read a document on your printer’s output tray that might be confidential. It doesn’t require a master plan. But when the wrong eyes see sensitive information, it’s a breach. That’s especially true in legal and medical spaces with strict compliance regulations.

It makes sense to put an office printer on a network, as one work station can service multiple team members. It’s a more efficient and cost effective solution for small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). However, if a printer is on a network, it can be accessed remotely by nefarious parties. This can lead to spying, data insecurity, and even hacking. If businesses aren’t sure how many printers they have, how can they be sure that networked printers are truly secure?

It’s often overlooked, but one of the reasons that printers are enticing for data theft is the prevalence of internal data storage capabilities. A single printer can digitally retain an unbelievably large number of documents that go through the printer system. That digital information can be stolen and cause massive issues for a company that hasn’t taken the proper steps to secure these endpoint devices.

The problem that your printers pose a threat to your business data has been identified. That identification is a significant first step, but what comes next? Every business needs the means to address these security issues, and for many SMBs, the most reliable solution lies in implementing a MPS plan. This modern solution can handle printer security and directly address any vulnerabilities. Here are a few ways MPS secures your business.

This aspect of MPS hits on two fronts. If you’ve read advice from a digital security expert, they probably harped on the importance of software updates, and with good reason. Software updates are extremely important to digital security, and an inclusive MPS program should include software updates as part of the standard package.

Printers don’t receive the same attention as other digital resources, but printer exploits get found over time. Sometimes, you need physical updates in order to resolve those exploits. Physical upgrades can be just as critical as software upgrades, and MPS is one of the only ways you can gain access to regular hardware upgrades without paying a high price.

Any network printer is potentially a vulnerability. A professional MPS provider will include VPN security for the printers. This is as important to their network security as yours, and it’s a simple solution that massively cuts most risks and points of attack. Printers should generally be on VPNs, and a good MPS provider ensures that they are.

Perhaps the most underrated advantage of MPS is the industrial knowledge that it provides. This isn’t just knowledge of printing. Chances are, your MSP provider will be familiar with your vertical market. They might not know enough to run your business, but they have substantial experience in how technology plays a role in your workflows and processes. With that experience, they can cut off the most common problems before they arise. Industrial knowledge is invaluable, and you’ll receive plenty of it with a reputable Managed Print Services provider.

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