The Snowden effect on MFP and print security

Is your organization as secure as it could be? An article on vulnerabilities and risks you may have overlooked – and a whitepaper download to show you how to overcome them.

I recently had a chance to see Snowden, Oliver Stone’s latest directorial effort that examines the highly publicized case of Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who accessed, copied and leaked thousands of classified documents in 2013. While the movie is intended to make the audience question Snowden’s morals and if his actions were justified, I found myself questioning another aspect of the story and how it affects today’s companies: cyber security.

Let’s face it: Cyber attacks and attempted network breaches are getting worse, not better. For example, consider recent research from the Ponemon Institute, a leading authority on privacy, data protection and information security. Researchers reported that in 2015, companies experienced three times more cyber attacks than they did in 2010.[1]

In fact, data breaches are now so common that they are considered inevitable by IT professionals and security teams. This is evidenced by an inside joke popular within the security community. “When it comes to cyber attacks, there are only two categories: Those who know they’ve been breached, and those who don’t know it … yet.”

All of this makes you wonder: Is your organization as well protected as it should be? Or could you be exposed to vulnerabilities in areas you may not even be aware of?


Emerging trends compound the security risk

Part of the reason why things are getting worse are emerging trends such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT), both of which present significant new security challenges.

Consider the case of BYOD. The explosive proliferation of devices – and employees’ use of them in the workplace – shatters the idea of a security perimeter. Where IT once installed firewalls and other defenses to secure everything inside their organization, now a myriad of devices comes and goes with little monitoring. Who is watching these devices? What kinds of information are they accessing? Or in the worst case – like Snowden walking out of the NSA with multiple hard drives containing classified information – could your most sensitive data get past your perimeter without you even knowing about it?

Or think about the Internet of Things (IoT) trend. This is where we are today, an environment where everyday objects – everything from cars and thermostats to soccer balls and even toothbrushes – all have network connectivity capabilities, enabling them to send and receive data. Yet, if these machines, sensors and devices are not secured effectively, they present new vulnerabilities that any hacker could potentially take advantage of.


Security risks posed by MFPs

One common example of these trends are printers, copiers and fax machines.

Why is this? On one hand, printers are inherently insecure, especially if employees print sensitive information and leave them unattended on a printer tray.

But additionally, because today’s printers and MFPs come with advanced networking and communication capabilities, they are essentially computers. And this means they are subject to the same security risks.


Leave no document behind

What can be done? One effective way is to implement print management solutions that can add a layer of security and control to paper-based and electronic processes, thereby enabling the secure exchange of personal information. With advanced functionality, these print management solutions can help reduce errors, mitigate the risk of non-compliance, and avoid the fines, damaged reputation and other negative consequences that come from cyber attacks and data breaches.

Additionally, other secure print management functions, such as pull printing and Follow-You Printing also help improve security by holding print jobs until they are released at the device. To retrieve their print jobs, users simply log in and release the printed material from any supported device.

This is just one example. To learn more about the security risks posed by MFPs – and nine ways you can overcome them, please download our whitepaper, “Security Made Easy,” today.

Obviously, hackers and other people will still go to great lengths to get what they want – if you’ve seen the movie, just think of Snowden’s Rubik’s Cube – but implementing a comprehensive print management solution will go a long way to protecting your most sensitive information.


[1] The Ponemon Institute & IBM, “2015 Global Cost of a Data Breach Study,” May 2015.

Download our security whitepaper

To learn more, please download the Nuance whitepaper, “Security Made Easy.” You’ll see how document capture, workflow and print can significantly reduce the risks – and consequences – associated with cyber attacks today.


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Barb Bartoszek

About Barb Bartoszek

Barb Bartoszek is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Nuance Communications on the Document Imaging Team. She enjoys helping Nuance’s global customer base to solve their most pressing document capture and workflow challenges. She is a graduate of the State University of New York with an MBA and a Bachelors Degree in Business/Public Management. She brings 15 years of experience working to map proven technology solutions to today’s business challenges.