Multifunction Printers: The Forgotten Security Risk

"That networked multifunction printer sitting innocently in the corner of your office just might be the most significant entry point for hackers to hijack sensitive data from your business," warns an eWeek article today.

"All the information that's being printed, scanned and faxed is susceptible to theft. Once under an attacker's control, it is simple to covertly save copies of other people's data on the machine's hard drive. With built-in network, fax/modem and network capabilities, there are a variety of ways to smuggle the stolen information out of an organization once it's been captured.”

Although this article was released today, the studies it mentions are from nearly two years ago. Multi-function systems have made significant advancements in that period of time. Not to mention, the skill of authorized technicians that support these products.

Sure, there are still risks, but those risks aren't any more significant than a computer or server sitting on your network. With the proper firewalls and security measures in place, you can secure your multi-function systems just like you can secure your desktop computers.

But, the fact is, most companies aren't overly concerned about the security of a printed document. Most documents that we print aren't sensitive. But, if you do print sensitive documents, make sure that you only work with a vendor that understands the challenges and knows how to mitigate the risks.

Corey Smith has fifteen years of document management industry experience and maintains the Master the Business blog.