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Safeguarding Your Workplace: Improving Network Printer Security Vulnerabilities

3 min read



Updated April 15, 2024


In today’s workplace, everything is interconnected, and network printer security is key to safeguarding sensitive business data. Despite the increasing awareness of cybersecurity risks, printer security often remains an overlooked aspect of network infrastructure. However, the consequences of neglecting printer security can be severe, potentially leading to data breaches, financial losses, and damage to a company's reputation.

The evolving threat landscape

Cybercrime continues to rise, and the tactics used by cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities continue to evolve. Cybercriminals are adept at finding the weakest links in your security to breach, gain access, and exploit. Printers are usually accessible to more than one person and have access to your company’s network, devices, and the internet. This kind of access makes your printer a target for cyber-attacks, requiring organizations to prioritize network printer security as part of their overall cybersecurity strategy.

Emerging threats and printer security vulnerabilities

Here are some of the printer security vulnerabilities exploited by cybercriminals in cyber-attacks.

  • Default settings. Many network printers are shipped with default settings that are often insecure and easily exploitable. Attackers can exploit these default settings to gain unauthorized access or compromise the printer's functionality.
  • Outdated firmware. Failure to regularly update printer firmware leaves devices susceptible to known vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals actively target outdated firmware to exploit security flaws and gain access to the underlying systems.
  • Lack of encryption. Printers transmitting data over the network without encryption are vulnerable to interception and eavesdropping. Without adequate encryption mechanisms in place, sensitive information such as confidential documents or login credentials can be compromised.
  • Insecure configuration. Misconfigured printer settings, such as weak passwords or open network ports, create opportunities for attackers to infiltrate the network and compromise printer security. Organizations must implement robust security policies and configurations to mitigate these risks.
  • Remote work. The shift towards remote work has further exacerbated printer security challenges, as employees access corporate networks from various locations and devices. Enhanced security measures are needed to protect remote printer assets and mitigate the risks associated with distributed work environments.

Printer security best practices

To mitigate printer security vulnerabilities and protect sensitive business data, organizations must adopt a proactive approach to network printer security. Here are some best practices to consider:

Regular security audits

Conduct regular security audits to identify potential vulnerabilities and assess the effectiveness of existing security controls. This includes reviewing printer configurations, firmware versions, access controls, and network encryption protocols.

Firmware updates and patch management

Stay up to date with firmware updates and security patches released by printer manufacturers. Implement a robust patch management process to ensure timely deployment of updates across all network printers, including remote devices.

Secure configuration settings

Configure printers with strong authentication mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) or secure access controls, to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, disable unnecessary services and ports to minimize the attack surface and enhance security.

Network segmentation and access control

Implement network segmentation to isolate printers from critical systems and sensitive data. Restrict access to printers based on user roles and privileges. Enforce strict access control policies to prevent unauthorized printing or document retrieval.

Employee training and awareness

Educate employees about the importance of network printer security and provide training on safe printing practices. This includes guidelines for securely handling and disposing of printed documents, recognizing phishing attempts targeting printers, and reporting suspicious activities.

Endpoint security solutions

Deploy endpoint security solutions, such as antivirus software and intrusion detection systems, to detect and mitigate printer-related security threats. Monitor network traffic for suspicious activities and implement real-time threat detection mechanisms to proactively respond to security incidents.

Partner with a managed print provider

Partnering with a managed print provider can give you peace of mind as you bolster your network printer security. Many of the security best practices outlined above are already part of a managed print program. Managed print programs typically already can include user authentication protocols, patch management of vulnerabilities, and proactive monitoring.

The business case for printer security

Investing in printer security not only protects sensitive data but also delivers tangible business benefits. Organizations that prioritize printer security experience:

  • Reduced risk of data breaches: By addressing printer vulnerabilities and implementing robust security measures, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and associated financial losses.
  • Enhanced regulatory compliance: Compliance with industry regulations and data protection standards, such as GDPR and HIPAA, is critical for avoiding regulatory fines and penalties resulting from security breaches.
  • Improved operational efficiency: Secure printing practices streamline workflows, reduce downtime caused by security incidents, and minimize the administrative burden associated with managing printer security.
  • Enhanced brand reputation: Demonstrating a commitment to protecting customer data and maintaining security best practices enhances brand reputation and fosters trust among clients, partners, and stakeholders.

Prioritize your organization’s network printer security

Printer security is an essential component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, particularly with the ongoing commitment to remote work and the evolving cyber threat landscape. By understanding the vulnerabilities of network printers and implementing effective security measures, organizations can mitigate risks, protect sensitive data, and safeguard their reputation in an increasingly digital world.


If you're ready to enhance your organization's printer security posture and mitigate the risks of printer hacking, partnering with a managed print provider is your first step. Our teams at EO Johnson and Locknet Managed IT are network printer and cybersecurity experts, our organizations are SOC 2 Type 2 audited, and we value information security as much as you do. Contact us to get started on a comprehensive network printer security plan for your organization.



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