As many businesses continue to strive to be paperless, it’s just not practical for most organizations. Many of them actively work to reduce paper but, as you probably know, it’s difficult to completely eliminate it. The reality is most businesses continue to rely on printers to help them conduct transactions and keep their workflows moving. Hard copy documents and printed information are still an important aspect of doing business.

It’s important to remember though, today’s printers do far more than simply run off copies of documents. Essentially, printers in themselves are standalone computers, which means they collect, process, and store sensitive data. In terms of security, these devices need to be treated like any other networked device, or else they can end up suffering a disaster. The best action small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can take to protect themselves is to take strong action to address security vulnerabilities associated with their printers.

Managed Print Services (MPS) is a good option toward this end. Here’s a rundown of what you should know when making your decision about MPS, along with the security issues associated with printers and other office technology solutions.

MPS 101

Managed Print Services is a service offered by a third party. Providers not only address printer security issues, but also manage all aspects of your business’s printing, scanning, copying, and faxing environment. They’ll assess your needs, remove waste, evaluate efficiency, predict future use, do a security health check, track and auto-send supplies, and manage your equipment. Consider the majority of companies (about 90 percent don’t track their printing costs–over time, this gets expensive! Thankfully, MPS solves all that by taking on all responsibilities related to the management of your printing fleet. Services they’ll perform include but are not limited to:

  • Assessing usage and eliminating excess expenses while simultaneously identifying ways to boost productivity
  • Taking steps to ensure the most efficient devices and processes are implemented
  • Managing the IT aspects associated with printers and copiers
  • Choosing the best hardware and software and ensuring they are both maintained and updated

Many small businesses simply don’t have the staff, knowledge, or resources to maintain the level of security needed nowadays. Your MPS partner will work with you to assess your workflows and security needs, then determine the most cost-effective approach for your company. Essentially, an MPS solution enables you to:

  • Consolidate devices
  • Better manage costs
  • Streamline processes
  • Eliminate security problems
  • Enjoy up to date technology

Companies that partner with an MPS provider find it gives them a better ability to focus on their core competencies and business growth. Your staff won’t have to get caught up in dealing with printer-related problems that take away valuable time from other important tasks. Also, most companies find MPS comes at a more attractive price point than trying to manage printers and their related issues, maintenance, and supplies in-house.

Why You Need to Secure Your Printers

Many SMBs don’t realize this, but millions of connected printers across the globe are at risk. In the summer of 2020, 28,000 printers were breached by ethical hackers to prove it. This event served as a wake-up call in the business community. Printer security should not–and can not–be ignored anymore. It’s just too risky. Here are some problems SMBs face from these vulnerabilities:

  • Document theft. If sensitive information gets into the wrong hands, this can lead to serious problems with the law.
  • Email attacks. Hackers can take over unsecured devices and use them to send out malware or gain access to sensitive information that passes through the network.
  • Data breaches. Just one breach can cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not to mention the unseen costs associated with the loss of public trust.
  • Rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and remote printing. As technology evolves, convenience is usually the primary focus. Unfortunately, the convenience associated with remote and mobile printing comes with increased security risks.
  • Disposal of old devices. Not knowing how to correctly wipe data off a printer’s hard drive can result in a serious and costly data breach.
  • Spreading malware. Networked printers that are vulnerable to bad actors can result in enabling them to access other connected devices.

Any one of these vulnerabilities can do serious damage to any business. Therefore, it’s important for modern organizations to ensure their printers are secure.

How MPS Will Improve Security for Your Business

Many small and medium-sized businesses often are not aware of the above security vulnerabilities associated with printers. Hackers know this and often turn their eyes to SMBs because they are easier targets. Unfortunately, this puts SMBs in serious jeopardy. Just one data breach can ruin them financially at worst and tarnish their brand reputation at best. Either scenario is not a good one.

Managed Print Services ensures all of your printers are safe and secure. Not only can you operate using modern equipment you may not have been able to afford otherwise, but you can rest assured your MPS provider will also handle all things related to security. Such as:

  • Perform updates associated with hardware, software, and firmware
  • Monitor your network and address any abnormalities that surface
  • Add encryption to further secure print jobs while they are processing and in transit
  • Ensure old devices are properly wiped when they leave your office
  • Configure all connections, such as mobile printing, ensuring they are correct and secure

Also, important to consider are industry and government compliance requirements. Many SMBs find it difficult to keep up to date with any regulations or requirements associated with data. Managed Print Services providers are well-versed in regulatory compliance and will make sure it’s followed in your printing environment, eliminating the risks of penalties and fines that are associated with breaches and non-compliance issues.

To learn more about Managed Print Services, different options, or get started with a free assessment, contact Modern Office Methods today. We’re happy to address any of your concerns, answer questions, and further explain how we can make certain your Ohio-based business’s printers and other devices are secure at a price point you can afford.