It’s an unfortunate fact that printers are often overlooked when it comes to a company’s security strategy. Far too many companies have viewed printers as machines for processing paper and ink, rather than highly-vulnerable endpoints that must be secured.  

Luckily, this perception is changing; three out of four CIOs believe that printers will be an increasing source of data breaches in the coming years, as seen by the recent PrintNightmare vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, even if action is taken to secure printers, the IT infrastructure – the print servers, queues, and drivers – that supports them may also be insecure. 

What are some of the key vulnerabilities associated with print infrastructure?  

  • Print queue vulnerabilities: Print queues are created as shared resources in a traditional Windows environment, opening the entire network to unnecessary risks. A cloud-based print management solution eliminates print servers and shared print queues, eliminating these risks.   
  • Print drivers: Many vendor drivers utilize SNMP for print queue configuration, which is insecure and vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks through file replacement, proxy monitoring, or other means. Attackers can potentially gain the ability to compromise the integrity of the server and provide the base for lateral movement and privilege escalation across the network. Eliminating vendor drivers removes this attack surface.   
  • Human error: Employee negligence is one of the most mundane, yet common security risks—people often leave printed documents lying in the printer tray unattended for anyone to copy, read, and steal. A secure print workflow prevents sensitive information from being left unattended at the device and getting into the wrong hands by requiring owner authentication at the print device to release prints.  

4 Ways That Cloud Print Management Solutions Stay Secure 

Cybersecurity and document security in this volatile environment must be constantly evolving to meet new threats. The explosive growth of remote working has only worsened the problem. A well-designed cloud print management platform eliminates print servers, dramatically reduces the total attack surface, and strengthens your cybersecurity posture. 

Pharos has spent years developing its cloud-based solution to deliver a highly-secure print print management platform based on four principles:   

  1. Protecting data with end-to-end encryption  
  2. Performing regularly scheduled vulnerability testing and proactive patch management 
  3. Isolating data within the cloud using a tiered application structure that leverages zero knowledge encryption so bad actors cannot access your secured data 
  4. Ensuring authorized organization access by controlling access to print devices and making sure that communications are only initiated from authorized endpoints to the cloud 

Embracing the Zero-Trust Paradigm 

In today’s world of remote workers, increasing cybercrime, and too many unknowns, zero trust is emerging as the new standard for organizational security and infrastructure. The premise of zero trust is that no user, device, or application can gain access to network resources without first proving the required level of security and authorization. This eliminates unrestricted lateral movement across the network and reduces the risk of an endpoint being compromised and providing a path to propagate a malicious payload to other endpoints. Pharos’s cloud platform supports zero-trust implementations. 

One-Size-Fits-All No Longer Applies 

With cyberattacks increasing in both number and intensity, as well as the growing prevalence of the distributed workforce model, the one-size-fits-all security solution of a centralized work location is no longer realistic. Migrating print workflows to the cloud can help enhance your security posture. Through the cloud, enterprises can also simplify print administration, making it easier, cheaper, and more secure for employees to be able to print from anywhere.  

Ready to step into the future of printing? Request a demo of Pharos Beacon to discover what cloud print management can do for you.

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