Step No. 3: Protect the Network
Step No. 3: Protect the network
All documents printed from a PC to an imaging or printing device must travel through the network. It is surprisingly easy to "catch" a print job as it travels over the network to one of these devices. Not only do intercepted print jobs expose the information held within the document, but they can also expose passwords and destination addresses (as well as other sensitive network information).
For example, the man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack reroutes information to a computer first, allowing them access to the data. Print jobs can be rerouted to a different printer or a computer without anyone knowing. Students at a prestigious university rerouted print jobs that were being sent from their professor's computer to the department printer. This resulted in full access to the final exam before it was administered. If college students are doing this to cheat on tests, imagine the risk for financial institutions and healthcare organizations.
The solution: encrypt traffic on the network. Encryption can be all-inclusive or customized according to the users or devices involved. Companies can print documents using a variety of solutions that encrypt and secure files, making them nearly impossible to read if rerouted or intercepted.
As attacks increase in sophistication, enterprises should implement security features that are included in most MFPs and upgrade security features as indicated by specific industry needs. The three simple steps to follow to better secure your infrastructure include securing the document, securing the device and protecting the network.
For more information about protecting imaging and printing assets, refer to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Website to view NIST-certified security checklists which contain instructions and procedures for configuring IT devices to a baseline level of security.
Michael Howard is Worldwide Business Development Manager for the Security Solutions organization of HP's Imaging and Printing Group. With more than 25 years of experience in the security and high technology field, Michael is responsible for educating customers on the importance of security policies and procedures around imaging and printing, as well as working with the HP Labs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.