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How to protect your print privacy in a digital world

Issues of data privacy and security have never been more important in protecting our businesses than they are today, and this need will only grow as new technologies are introduced and malware and cyber-attacks become more sophisticated.

Learning how to better protect the data used and stored by your print system is in the best interests of you and your company’s future success.

Firming up your firmware

Ensuring your printer is running the latest firmware is a bit like upgrading your Facebook settings from public to private.

Firmware allows your print system to communicate with other systems and computers and most importantly, when it comes to protecting your privacy, will include things like bug fixes and security updates. 

Ensure your print system is set up to download automatic updates so that any security problems that have been recognised are patched up as soon as possible. 

Password updates and protection

It sounds overly simple, but something as easy as changing your printer’s default password can help protect the privacy of your data. 

Thanks to the wonder of wi-fi, our print systems can now be accessed remotely with a password. While this makes our working life easier, it opens us up to potential hacks.

It’s likely that your printer has a default password, which hackers can easily look up in order to gain access to your system. Changing this password to something long, complicated and unrelated to your business name or industry, will strengthen your defence against this kind of cyber threat.

Printing protocols

Protocols, such as Bluetooth, that allow our devices (computers, phones etc) to communicate with our printers, are a necessary part of how a print system works.

However, by disabling the printing protocols you do not use (you can figure out how to do this in your printer’s manufacturing manual) and only having the ones you do use active, you can help prevent any suspect devices or users from connecting to your print system. 

Even if your printer does not store any critical information, once they have access to the system hackers can spread viruses and cause faults, so it’s important to keep them locked out.

Limit network printing

You wouldn’t go out and leave your front door wide open, so why leave an unprotected printer connected to the internet, making it easier for hackers to access your network.

You want to ensure that your printer only responds to commands coming from your network router so make sure to disable anything that involves printing over the internet. You can do this by:

  • Turning your printer off when you’re not using it.
  • Disabling the wi-fi function on the printer.
  • Turning off the wireless print setting on the control panel

Remember that printers have access to, and often store, important data and information about your company, so maintaining proper privacy settings should be a priority if you want to avoid costly and disruptive cyber-attacks.