SecurityBrief Australia - Technology news for CISOs & cybersecurity decision-makers
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Australian firms exposed: 78% can't manage printer fleets remotely
Tue, 12th Mar 2024

SOTI's latest study entitled "When Work is Anywhere: Managing Technology’s Role in the Distributed Workforce," has highlighted a serious vulnerability concerning the operational security of Australian organisations. The investigation identifies that a striking 78% of businesses are not equipped to manage their printer fleets remotely, an issue that can impede operational efficacy and significantly heighten security risks.

Despite 92% of businesses relying on advanced printer solutions for crucial aspects of their operations, the lack of ability to manage these devices remotely exposes them to potential threats. With printers often targeted in cyber attacks — with 61% of businesses globally reporting data losses due to printer-related security breaches last year — the risk is palpable and immediate.

Michael Dyson, SOTI's VP for Sales, APAC, emphasises the urgency of tackling this 'printer blind spot'. He comments that as printers evolve and become increasingly central to business processes, they also turn into potential entry points for cyber threats.

While printers are now incorporated for purposes significantly beyond traditional printing, a considerable 78% of Australian organisations do not have the ability to manage their printer fleets remotely. This lack of oversight affects operational intelligence and data-driven decision-making, leading to significant security risks. Furthermore, in the last year, around 61% of businesses worldwide have suffered data loss as a result of printer security breaches.

Dyson further elaborates, “Unaccounted for printers in organisations are not just an inventory issue; they are a critical operational and security challenge. Misplaced printers, worth thousands, disrupt essential services from pharmacy deliveries to retail customer experiences and pose significant security risks."

Modern printers have evolved to become increasingly susceptible to security risks due to additional features like receiving print jobs via email. This establishes them as potential gateways for infiltrating an organisation. Merely 19% of businesses are considered print security leaders, while 56% completely exclude printers from their security strategy. Dyson further states, "Businesses must urgently rethink their approach...Internet-enabled printers, much like mini-computers, need the same level of monitoring and similar protection as other network devices."

As device usage in organisations continues to escalate, it becomes pivotal to have scalable support, efficient security tools, and comprehensive device management strategies in place. Approximately 65% of organisations are currently unable to track and manage devices remotely, escalating concerns that many businesses are inadequately equipped to handle the evolving challenges of cybersecurity and device management. Dyson asserts that robust printer security is non-negotiable in today's rapidly evolving tech landscape. He emphasises, "In today’s fast-evolving tech landscape, total visibility of business-critical printing devices, whether nearby or remote, is essential... Without it, businesses face not only logistical headaches but also risk compliance and reputational damages going forward."