19 September 2016
2 min read
Many businesses choose to lease office equipment such as multi-function printers, which is a great way to offset capital expenditure and keep equipment current.
However, some key steps should be taken to ensure that you’re maintaining network security and protecting sensitive information while leasing equipment.
Know your dealer
One big advantage of leasing printers is letting someone else worry about and maintain them. Be sure that you go through a reputable dealer who offers support. That way, you won’t be left figuring out stuff on your own. You have enough to deal with, right?
There’s very little standardisation when it comes to security features on embedded equipment such as printers. The major players tend to include the most up-to-date protocols, and are better about releasing patches as new threats are identified.
Avoid off-brand printers that may not incorporate these latest security features or the most current updates.
Wall it in
A networked printer can be an easy and often overlooked access point to your network, allowing bad actors to infiltrate your company’s sensitive information.
Place the networked printer behind your company’s firewall as a first line of defense, and not on the open Internet.
Configuration is king
Printers can come with 200-plus settings that affect configuration and security, including default usernames, administrative passwords and ports.
Ensure the printer is properly configured when installed, disabling any unused ports to minimise attach surface. In addition, make sure to set up a unique administrative password for each device, and always know who has access to configure the device.
New security threats and weak points in software are being identified daily. When this happens, manufacturers release updates to help secure their devices. Stay current on software updates as they come, to make it difficult for hackers to gain access. Even if you have a dealer that maintains your printers, don’t assume they’ll stay on top of every update.
Wipe the hard drive
After your lease is up, you’ll be returning the printer to the dealer and receiving a new one. That older printer — including its internal hard drive — might be leased elsewhere or sold.
Make sure the internal hard disk is encrypted at all times — when in use, and when you return it to the dealer. Moreover, ensure the internal hard drive is wiped of all sensitive information periodically, and especially before returning it.
Follow these simple tips, and your leased printer will be the boon to your company that it should be, and not a liability to your network security.