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When it comes to cybersecurity, you probably think of protecting computers, apps, or online databases first and printers last. Precisely because they’re overlooked in, printers can be exploited by hackers and used as a gateway to infiltrate your systems. Secure your networks against intruders by following these steps.

What makes business printers vulnerable to cyberattacks?

When assessing network security threats, companies primarily focus on servers and computers not only because they are the most exposed to external threats, but also because they get the bulk of cyberattacks. Printers are often at the bottom of the list since they are not prime targets. What’s more, their functions seem to be internal at first glance, as they don’t interact with external systems.

But it’s exactly because of their primary functions, namely printing and scanning, that make print devices perfect cybercriminal targets. Businesses run important documents such as tax forms, employee information, medical records, and financial statements through print devices, and hackers would definitely love to get their hands on them.

And they can — easily.

Network printers store previous print jobs in their hard drive, sometimes including those that have been canceled. If anyone accesses the printer — even remotely — they may be able to see those documents by hacking into the printer using a specialized tool.

Files can also be intercepted during wireless transmission, as modern printers can now be connected to the web. Not only can hackers exploit printers’ open network ports to view data, but they can also take over vulnerable printers and transmit their own data through the machine.

What can you do to protect your business printers?

Business printers should not be disregarded when planning a cybersecurity strategy. Keep your print devices secure by following these best practices:

  • Monitor your network continuously and promptly install printer software updates and patches. Printer manufacturers often release software support or updates, so regularly check for those.
  • Change the default password and administrator login credentials of printers with web management capabilities.
  • Only allow company-owned devices to connect to your printers.
  • Always connect to your printers using secure connections. Conversely, avoid accessing your printers through a public internet connection.
  • Restrict printer access by using a firewall.
  • If your wireless printer has the feature that requires users to enter a PIN before they can print documents, enable it to prevent unauthorized access.
  • If you don’t use your printer for fax and email, isolate your printer from your main company network and disable out-of-network printing.
  • If you handle classified data, do not connect your printer to any network. Instead, connect it directly to your computer using data cables, or print from a thumb drive.
  • Secure your printouts by enabling manual feed. This setting requires a user to manually input paper (or any material to be printed on), so there are reduced risks of the printed document getting stolen or being left in the printing area.

Another way to secure your printers is by partnering with an IT company that can take care of your printer-related worries. From thwarting attacks to reducing management costs to keeping your printer at optimal functionality, our experts can help.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Remote work policies have become a necessity not just because of the current coronavirus crisis, but also for the ways they improve a company’s bottom line and efficiency. Yet despite remote work’s benefits, it leaves you and your company exposed to online scams and other cybersecurity threats. To defend your company and your remote workers, make sure to heed the following tips.

Fortify user accounts

When everyone is working remotely, user accounts must be properly secured. One way to achieve this is by setting at least 12-character long passwords with numbers and special characters mixed in to make them more difficult to guess. More importantly, these passwords must be unique to each account, to minimize the damage if hackers do manage to compromise one set of credentials. If you find it difficult to generate and remember login details for all your accounts, consider password managers like LastPassDashlane, and Keeper.

To further strengthen your accounts, however, you’ll also need to enable multifactor authentication (MFA). This adds another layer of identity verification — like fingerprint scans or one-time activation codes generated by SMS — to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to hijack your accounts.

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

VPNs are primarily known for circumventing geographic restrictions on location-specific websites and streaming services, but they’re also a crucial tool for remote workers. A reliable VPN creates secure connections between devices and networks by encrypting internet traffic. This hides web activity from prying eyes, protecting your employees’ online privacy, and mitigating the risk of hackers stealing company information.

Patch your software regularly

Although installing software updates can be a major nuisance, they cover critical weaknesses and protect your systems from the latest threats. Most apps now offer an automatic update feature so you don’t have to manually patch your software.

Another option for your business is patch management software. These track patches on employee devices and distribute the most recent updates on a company-wide scale.

Set up firewalls and antivirus software

Make sure to enable firewalls in your operating systems and hardware. These provide a strong layer of protection between your device and the internet, preventing malicious programs and other network threats from reaching your device. Your managed IT services provider (MSP) may also provide third-party firewalls in case your computers don’t have any built in by default.

In addition to firewalls, you’ll also want to implement antivirus software to detect and remove any malicious programs that do manage to find their way onto your device. Just remember to constantly update the software so it can effectively detect the newest malware.

Secure home routers

Home Wi-Fi routers are not as thoroughly secured as their business counterparts so take extra precautions to safeguard them. For starters, change your router password as soon as possible because hackers can easily break into them once they know the router model. You should also install the latest firmware updates to eliminate any security vulnerabilities.

Finally, check whether your router has Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption settings to secure inbound and outbound traffic. If your router doesn’t have this setting, you’re overdue for an upgrade.

Back up your data

Important files must be backed up regularly in the cloud and your external hard drive. This way, you’ll always have a copy of your files in case of a major data loss incident like ransomware or a power outage.

Watch out for online scams

The biggest threat remote workers face is online scams. Phishing emails may entice you with free coronavirus test kits in exchange for personal information. Some cybercriminals may even masquerade as legitimate companies, CEOs, or friends to trick you into clicking on dangerous links and attachments.

To avoid these threats, you must be critical of everything you see online. Look for any suspicious links and attachments, grammatical errors in the email body, and misspelled email addresses. Plus, never give out sensitive information to an unsolicited email, text message, or phone call.

Working from home poses many cybersecurity challenges for businesses, but you don’t have to address them alone. If you need guidance with setting up firewalls, avoiding scams, and even enabling MFA, we can provide the IT support you need in this difficult time.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

As cybersecurity incidents become more sophisticated, frequent, and intelligent, experts predict that the global market for cybersecurity products in 2020 will exceed that of last year. In fact, your company might be one of the thousands of businesses looking to purchase cybersecurity software. To maximize your company’s cybersecurity investment, follow these steps.

Uncover threats and vulnerabilities

Every business should run a risk assessment to evaluate its current cybersecurity infrastructure. Doing so is one of the easiest ways to identify, correct, and prevent security breaches. After discovering potential issues that cyberterrorists could exploit, rate them based on probability of occurrence and potential impacts on your business.
Keep in mind that risk assessments are specific to every business, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for technology that will work for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Variables like your line of business and operating environment will account for differences in needs and risks. For instance, manufacturing companies and insurance groups have totally different applications to secure.
After tagging and ranking potential threats, identify which vulnerabilities need immediate attention and which ones can be addressed further down the line. For instance, a web server running an unpatched operating system will take precedence over a front desk computer that’s running a little slower than normal.

Tailor controls to risks

Instead of spending time and money evenly on all systems, focus solutions on areas with high risks. Address these areas’ issues immediately after an assessment, but also put plans in place to evaluate their risk profiles more often. This approach is particularly useful to businesses that don’t have deep IT budgets but don’t want to make security sacrifices.

Assess existing cybersecurity products

Chances are, your organization has already spent a great deal of money on purchasing and maintaining various security products. By conducting risk assessments more often, you can improve the strategies you already have in place and uncover wasteful spending. You may discover that one outdated system doesn’t really need to be upgraded, or that another legacy technology needs to be ditched. Remember that your existing products were purchased to meet specific needs, and these needs may have immensely changed or disappeared altogether. Overcoming cybersecurity obstacles becomes easier if you regularly evaluate your IT infrastructure.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE