How to Conduct a Print Security Assessment

1800 Office SOlutions Team member - Elie Vigile
1800 Team

Print Security Assessment

Every networked device within your business infrastructure, including printers, copiers, fax machines, and multifunction printers, poses a potential security threat. These devices are capable of storing data just like computers and can serve as entry points for hackers attempting to breach your network.

According to the Ponemon Institute, a leading research firm focused on privacy, data protection, and information security policies, a concerning 56% of companies overlook printers in their endpoint security strategy.

To safeguard your business, it’s crucial to be proactive. Start by conducting a comprehensive security assessment on your print fleet to identify and address any vulnerabilities before they are exploited by malicious actors.

A security assessment involves evaluating your printer software, network configuration, and overall print process. This assessment helps in understanding the associated risks and devising appropriate solutions to mitigate them effectively. By leveraging managed print services, you can reduce security risks while improving efficiency and workflow.

The assessment process includes identifying potential vulnerabilities, evaluating current security measures, and implementing recommended improvements. This proactive approach not only reduces security risks but also enhances productivity and operational efficiency.

It’s important to follow best practices and associate with a reliable managed print services provider for insights and recommendations tailored to your business needs. By conducting regular security assessments and implementing necessary measures, you can ensure the security of your print infrastructure while optimizing productivity and efficiency.

Print Security Assessment

Conduct a Print Fleet Audit

Conducting a thorough print fleet audit is the initial step in ensuring print security and optimizing your print environment. Many organizations assume they have a handle on their print devices until they undertake a comprehensive inventory, revealing devices that may have been relocated for efficiency or are now inactive and stored.

Include all print-related devices in your print assessment, such as multifunction printers, scanners, copiers, fax machines, and plotters. Document the device type, brand, capabilities, and physical location for each.

Utilizing an assessment tool can streamline this process, providing a systematic approach to gathering data about your print jobs, cybersecurity measures, and technology solutions. Additionally, consider creating a visual map illustrating the locations of these devices, aiding in understanding their accessibility and optimizing workflow.

This audit serves as a foundation for your print security assessment, enabling better alignment and engagement across your organization. Leveraging technology solutions, such as those from Microsoft, can further enhance print fleet management, cybersecurity protocols, and overall operational efficiency.

Assessing the Utilization of Features on Every Printing Device

Evaluate the operational features of each printing device within your fleet to ensure robust security measures are in place. It’s crucial to check if the default administrator password set by the manufacturer is still active, as leaving it unchanged can expose your devices to potential security breaches.

Here are key security procedures to assess:

  1. Changing default administrator passwords to unique, secure credentials.
  2. Upgrading firmware to the latest version to address known vulnerabilities.
  3. Disabling any unused protocols, interfaces, services, or ports to reduce potential attack surfaces.
  4. Disabling weak cipher levels to strengthen encryption standards.

Implementing these procedures is essential to fortifying the security posture of your print fleet. Failure to secure these devices could expose sensitive information to unauthorized access and potential cyber threats.

As part of your evaluation, consider enrolling in a Cloud Fleet Manager provided by a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider. This service can automate firmware upgrades, ensuring your devices are always up-to-date with the latest security patches. Alternatively, you can manually update firmware or coordinate with your MPS provider to perform updates during scheduled service visits.

Documenting your strategy for firmware updates is crucial for maintaining a proactive approach to security. This documentation helps in keeping track of update schedules and ensures that this critical task remains a priority.

An overview of your print infrastructure’s health, conducted through regular assessments, can help identify potential vulnerabilities and threats. This proactive approach not only safeguards your assets but also enhances your overall security posture, especially in sectors like healthcare where document security is paramount.

Conducting a security assessment helps uncover areas of improvement within your print infrastructure, enabling you to address security gaps effectively and mitigate potential risks. Partnering with an experienced MPS provider can further enhance your security measures and streamline the management of your print fleet.

Establishing a Procedure for Securely Handling Memory Removal

Printers, like computers, store sensitive data such as hard drives, system memory, operating systems, and applications. To mitigate security risks effectively, it’s crucial to have a clear plan for clearing stored memory when decommissioning a print device.

Establishing a Procedure for Securely Handling Memory Removal

Here are the recommended steps:

  1. Assess Print Device Memory: Before decommissioning a printer, assess its memory components, including memory cards, volatile memory, and non-volatile memory.
  2. Choose Removal Method: Decide whether to remove memory components yourself or consult with the printer manufacturer or your Managed Print Services (MPS) provider for data deletion services.
  3. Utilize Secure Data Deletion Services: Consider engaging with reputable service providers, such as 1800 Office Solutions, who offer secure data deletion services for print devices. Ensure that all printed document history is destroyed, regardless of the device’s origin.
  4. Request Certification: Obtain a certificate from the service provider authenticating the complete destruction of printed document history. This certification adds an extra layer of security and compliance assurance.
  5. Review Application and Service Logs: Conduct a thorough review of applications and service logs on the decommissioned device. Verify that configurations are properly reset and that no residual data, such as lists of failed prints or previously printed documents, remain.

By following this procedure, you can effectively reduce security risks associated with decommissioned print devices, safeguard sensitive information, and maintain compliance with data protection standards. Partnering with trusted providers like 1800 Office Solutions ensures a secure and documented process for memory removal, enhancing your overall data security posture.

Exploring Security Options for Print Fleet Optimization

After mapping out your print fleet, it’s essential to evaluate if your current devices align with your staff’s productivity needs. Engage your team in a survey to determine if alternate devices or configurations could enhance their workflow. Additionally, assess the placement of shared devices to mitigate security risks, especially in high-traffic areas like reception desks.

Consider the following security options:

  1. Device Relocation and Side Shields: Machines near reception areas should be assessed for potential privacy risks. Relocating devices or installing side shields at document outputs can prevent unauthorized viewing by visitors, enhancing confidentiality.
  2. Paper Drawer Locking: Secure customized paper options, such as letterheads, by locking paper drawers. This measure ensures that sensitive materials are accessible only to authorized personnel, reducing the risk of unauthorized use.
  3. Industry-Specific Regulations: Industries like healthcare and education must adhere to stringent data protection regulations. Ensure your print security measures comply with industry standards to safeguard sensitive information effectively.
  4. Follow Me Printing: Implement Follow Me printing, also known as Find Me printing, as part of a zero-trust printing policy. This approach enhances document security and reduces paper waste by requiring users to authenticate themselves at the device before printing.
  5. Central Network Queue and User Authentication: End users submit print jobs to a central network queue. To release and print documents, users must authenticate themselves using a Personal Identification Number (PIN), password, or security-enabled magnetic swipe card. This authentication step adds an extra layer of security and accountability.
  6. Access Restrictions: Security administrators can further enhance security by restricting user access to selected devices based on roles or permissions. This granular control helps prevent unauthorized use and ensures that sensitive documents are printed securely.

By implementing these security options, organizations can optimize their print fleet for improved productivity, confidentiality, and regulatory compliance, particularly in industries with heightened data protection requirements.


In conclusion, ensuring the security of your print fleet is paramount to safeguarding sensitive information and optimizing productivity within your organization. By conducting a thorough assessment of your print devices, implementing security measures such as device relocation, paper drawer locking, and industry-specific compliance, you can significantly reduce security risks.

Follow Me printing technology adds an extra layer of security by requiring user authentication at the device, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access and reducing paper waste. Additionally, access restrictions based on user roles or permissions further enhance security protocols.

Incorporating these security options not only protects your organization’s data but also promotes a more efficient and streamlined workflow. By prioritizing print security best practices, you can create a safer and more productive printing environment for your staff and stakeholders alike.

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