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How to ensure your printer or device is secure

The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has most people thinking about connected fridges, self-driving cars and smart homes. However, there are many IoT devices that have been in operation for years that are overlooked by business users and organisations when it comes to cybersecurity. One of these is the multifunctional device (MFD) or as many know them, printers. 

MFDs remain useful in many businesses despite the increasing prevalence of digital communications. However, these devices may be ignored and not always seen as part of the IT infrastructure of your company. This is concerning because MFDs are connected devices, which means they present an endpoint that can be exploited by cybercriminals. That is, unless they’re secured properly. It is important to ensure your devices are equipped with necessary security and that your service provider is up to date with ways to protect your business. 

How MFDs pose a risk

As people return to offices and other workplaces, MFDs are likely to see increased use. Unsecured or poorly secured devices can provide a front door into the organisation’s network. Once a cybercriminal has access to the MFD, they can proliferate throughout the network and cause considerable damage.

There are four ways that MFDs pose a security risk within a business:

  • Compromised credentials or outdated software can provide unauthorised access to MFDs. This access can be a starting point for a broader cyberattack or malicious actors may simply steal the data that’s stored on the device’s storage drive, including potentially sensitive documents.
  • MFDs can be used in distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Unauthorised users can access the MFDs settings and reconfigure the device. This could result in outcomes such as scanned documents being emailed to cybercriminals, for example.
  • Unclaimed printouts may be left on the device tray, posing an information security risk because unauthorised users can simply pick up the pages.

Information security is vital for any business. Malicious cyber criminals can exfiltrate information by accessing the data and documents being sent to and from the MFD, including scans, photocopies, and emails. Even if the organisation has strict data governance rules in place, if the MFD is overlooked then the company will be open to a data breach.

How Konica Minolta can assist to reduce the risk

Just like any other connected device, it’s important to ensure that your MFD is protected against cyberbreaches. This starts with ensuring you are running any vendor recommended device firmware and protecting the device with a strong, unique password.

MFDs can store data, including inputs from scan, fax and copy, as well as outputs from print and copy. Many organisations are unaware of this and, as a result, don’t act to secure that data. It’s important to ensure that sensitive data is automatically deleted and that storage drives are wiped or destroyed before the MFD is disposed of.

Before purchasing a device, businesses should find out what security measures will be provided. For example, Konica Minolta is able to deliver an encrypted storage drive, automate file deletion, automate the configuration of the machine for optimal security and provide password protection. Also consider if your vendor can offer any virus or malware detection that can run on your MFD. It can also be useful to place a sticker on the machine that alerts workers to the security measures in place, such as Bitdefender, as this can deter users who were considering conducting a data breach.

It is no longer a question of whether a company is targeted by an attack, it is much more about when and how you‘re prepared. Bitdefender offers comprehensive protection for your multifunctional printer (MFP), making it unique in the market.

What makes Bitdefender`s virus scan unique for bizhub devices?

  • All-round carefree subscription: once paid, always usable and secure (for the entire MFP service life)
  • Bodyscan for the MFP: Full fluoroscopy of documents and files (and not just superficially)
  • Scan in real time and on request (as you wish)
  • Automatic updates of the virus scan table allows protection against the latest threats
  • Display of virus scans, so you can see everything at a glance

When the MFDs reach end-of-life, Konica Minolta can assist in wiping the HDD clean at the customer’s premises or otherwise manage it according to your security policies.

As more workers return to the office, the pressure on the humble MFD is likely to increase. Businesses should review their security measures sooner rather than later to ensure their MFDs are protected and updated. Failing to do so could result in a costly data breach.

Konica Minolta South Africa helps businesses of all sizes keep their data safe through its security solution offering.

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