The 5 Essential Components of a Print Security Strategy

Office workers looking over prints from the HP PageWide Enterprise Color MFP 586z.

Office workers looking over prints from the HP PageWide Enterprise Color MFP 586z.

There’s a reason why you started shifting to network-connected printing. Aside from being more cost-efficient for your business, network printing is almost a necessity for supporting remote employees and meeting demands for cloud access.

However, as with almost any technology upgrade, convenience and better features can come at the expense of security. Connecting your printing and imaging solutions to the network means you’re giving attackers that many more potential endpoints to compromise.

If you want to make sure your business is not involved in the 26% of security incidents involving printers, you need a solid print security strategy that includes these 5 components.

  1. A Secure Boot Process

The basic input/output system (BIOS) of your device should be validated upon startup. If the printer or imaging device hasn’t been compromised, there should be no issues in BIOS validation.

However, in the case of an invalid BIOS test, the device should be able to replace its own firmware with a secure copy from storage. When this happens, network administrators should be notified and operation should be halted until the device returns to a known-good state.

  1. Firmware Code Integrity

Firmware integrity doesn’t just apply at boot time. Maximum print security means validating the integrity of firmware code during load times. Any deviations from known-good firmware should trigger SIEM system alerts and take the printer offline until the issue is resolved.

Once administrators can confirm the firmware is back to a known-good state, the device can return to connectivity.

  1. Run-Time Intrusion Detection

One reason cybersecurity is so challenging is the many tools and tactics attackers can use to evade detection. Boot validation and firmware-integrity checks are important, but run-time intrusion detection is critical for operational security.

Your devices should be capable of continuously monitoring for in-memory malware injections. In the case of an attack, the device should reboot and notify administrators to ensure a return to an uninfected state.

Attackers are skilled at avoiding intrusion detection algorithms, so you need a device that can scan frequently without calling attention to the security sweeps.

  1. Integration with Security Compliance

Your security policies stand between your business and a potential disaster originating in-house. Continuous assurance of these policies should be carried out by a security compliance tool. From a print security perspective, compliance tools must:

  • Automatically bring non-compliant printers/MFPs into compliance
  • Have visibility into all new or reset devices on the network and bring them to compliance immediately
  • Include simplified management so admins can make appropriate changes in the case of conflicting policies
  • Manage and install certificates for all of your printing and imaging devices
  1. Real-Time Threat Detection and Analytics

Print security won’t do you much good if an attacker can get into and out of your network before you ever know about it. Your print security strategy must include an integrated security information event management (SIEM) solution that can deliver threat detection in real-time and provide consistent reporting on security incidents.

Executing a print security strategy that covers all 5 of these bases means having the right set of printing and imaging solutions and services in place.

For close to 20 years, PKA Technologies has supplied IT solutions to state and local governments and K-12 and higher educational institutions. Contact us today for a free consultation and see how HP Print Security products can help you secure this weak link in your network.