Think smart: Embedded security features can minimise cyber risks

04/02/20193 Minute Read

Meet James, an IT pro who loves his job. Every morning, he wakes up, feeds his dog Lenny, grabs a coffee, and heads into the office. James and his team are responsible for resolving office IT problems and protecting the company from threats. While he’s always busy, it’s a pretty sweet situation—stable job, good salary, great coworkers, interesting work, and manageable hours—until a security crisis hits in the form of malware.

Suddenly, James goes from being on top of the world to on the verge of disaster. Without embedded security, a crisis like this is always a risk. No IT pro wants to end up like James, caught by surprise and struggling to stop the damage from spreading any further. Read on to discover how you can prevent this from happening to you:

Take another look at your endpoint security strategy

The Cyberthreat Defence Report, by the CyberEdge Group, discovered that 79 percent of networks in 15 different countries were breached in 2017. Beyond that, cybercrime damage costs are expected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. As IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said, “Cybercrime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, and every company in the world.” Scared yet?

The threat of hackers is accelerating and evolving at a rapid rate, stirring up a ton of trouble for office IT pros, like James. The internet gets bigger every year; new people come online, the number of mobile devices used in the workplace grows, and the Internet of Things (IoT) gains ground. While it’s exciting to join in this expansion and adopt new, internet-connected endpoints, they tend to get overlooked from a security perspective, making them particularly vulnerable to attacks.

Don’t make the same mistake as James. He spent his precious time and energy focusing on traditional entry points for hackers, leaving the back door wide open for attack.

Start treating printers like paper-hungry servers

In reality, today’s complicated, fragmented security environment makes it almost impossible for IT teams to constantly monitor every potential vulnerability. That’s why devices like printers are dealt with as afterthoughts. But overlooking print security can create gateways for malware, especially since printers can be connected to LANs and come equipped with wireless adapters, services, apps, and more.

In the words of technology blogger Chris Wahl, “Printers are really just paper-munching servers and should be treated as such by IT.” It’s one thing to recognise the importance of printer security, but it’s another to put it into action. James and his fellow IT team members already have a ton on their plate. Even if they could focus on printer security, reaction time is everything. The longer it takes to identify an attack, the more damage it can inflict—and that’s why embedded security is the future of office IT.

Turn to embedded security to close entry points

Many embedded print security features can instantly detect and self-heal from malware attacks. The new HP Connection Inspector on HP enterprise printers, for example, monitors a printer’s outbound network connections, uses patterns to identify normal behaviour, and then recognises and stops any activity that looks suspicious.

HP’s run-time intrusion detection also monitors the printer’s memory for intrusions and, if found, forces a reboot. If the malware embedded itself in the printer’s BIOS, don’t despair—HP Sure Start detects something is wrong and automatically reboots again, reloading the BIOS from a “golden copy” kept hidden within the printer. And yes, the printer can complete all these tasks without requiring any intervention from IT, allowing James and his team to focus their energy on other concerns.

At the end of the day, the only way to effectively protect your organisation and its endpoints is through continuous monitoring, multilayered defence and automatic responses that can stop attacks in their tracks. By utilising PCs and printers with embedded security features, organisations can become more secure, resilient, and efficient. James may be good at his job, but all it takes is one unsecured device or point of weakness for disaster to unfold. So, be better than James. Take advantage of security technology advancements and save your IT team some much-needed time.

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