With consumers and businesses both capitalizing on the convenience of Internet of Things (IoT) devices — from security cameras to fitness trackers and beyond.

There is so much reliance on IoT hardware, software, data and telecommunications services, and systems integration that the market is expected to reach a staggering $520 billion as soon as 2021.

IoT devices and other networked devices such as networked printers can leave your company’s sensitive data and your systems vulnerable — and open to attack by hackers.

This is why the widespread use of these devices in businesses and at home hasn’t escaped the attention of cybercriminals. Most recently, successful attacks were launched on industry leaders Xerox, Canon, and Garmin using ransomware, a malware that is typically released through social engineering to publish or block the usage of essential or sensitive data until a ransom is paid.

Protecting Your Internet of Things and Print Devices from Ransomware Attacks

Using Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as connected cameras; smart locks, lights, or thermostats; and printers can help your business save money, enhance efficiency, and provide a better work environment for staff.

Connected devices like printers can monitor paper and ink, automate supply ordering, and stay on top of maintenance to free up your IT department to tackle more mission-critical tasks.

But without proper security, these devices can function as a vector for hackers to gain access to your critical data through your network.

To better secure your network, follow these best practices:

  1. Practice Endpoint Security

An endpoint is any device that functions as a physical endpoint on a network. This can include mobile phones, printers, laptops, desktops, or IoT devices. To protect your endpoints, proper access control and authentication practices, policies, and protocols should be in place.

  1. Ensure Complete Access Control

Part of securing your network is managing access. Methods such as two-factor authentication and strong passwords are a good start but having access controls for your network — or even on specific devices such as printers — can help prevent unwanted incursions.

Technologies such as secure pull printing where a document is not released until the authorized recipient are at the device can offer enhanced security for better data protection.

Administrators should be trained on access protocols and all permissions should be kept up to date as employees change positions or leave the company.

  1. Educate Your Employees

Many ransomware attacks are launched through social engineering techniques such as suspicious email attachments, phishing emails, and malicious web links.

Employees should be trained to spot suspicious communications and should also follow these best practices:

  • Never click on unverified links
  • Never open an unknown email attachment
  • Never give out personal data
  • Never download from an unknown or untrusted site
  • Never use unfamiliar USBs in your device
  • Never use public Wi-Fi

In addition, companies should keep all hard- and software up to date, run automated and redundant backups, and scan and filter content from mail servers.

  1. Keep an Eye on Activity

Monitoring your network — including endpoints — is critical to ensure the suspicious activity is noted and stopped in its tracks. Analytic tools offered by companies that provide managed print or document management services can help identify malicious patterns and provide around-the-clock surveillance and alerts to ensure your data is secured 24/7.

Having experts manage your print or IT environment is a critical step in enhancing your company’s cybersecurity. Managed services providers (MSPs) have a team of experts that have the latest knowledge to help you manage security as new threats evolve.

First Phase Data Can Help You Secure Your Print Environment

In today’s rapidly changing world, your company must stay ahead of evolving cybersecurity threats to protect your — and your customers — data effectively.

At First Phase Data, our team of managed print experts has the in-depth knowledge you need for a secure and productive print environment.

We begin with a deep dive into your business needs and goals coupled with an assessment of your current infrastructure, including hardware and software. Then, our team will optimize your print devices to not only encourage operational efficiency but for enhanced data security to protect your sensitive information.

Whether you’re in an industry that must meet strict compliance regulations or you are interested in keeping your network — including endpoint devices — as safe as possible, our managed print solutions offer you next-level technology to meet current and future needs.

Don’t leave your network open to cyberattacks. Contact First Phase Data today and let our print management professionals design and implement a safe, secure print environment for your business.