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Modern day parable warns of small business cyber attacks

By Luke Ryczek

Imagine a tech-savvy twenty-something sitting on the patio of a local coffee shop, sipping their latte, presumably taking advantage of the free WiFi.

Only, this individual is not interested in chatting with their network on Facebook or curating their personal brand on Instagram.  No, this person is checking the WiFi connections to the small businesses surrounding the coffee shop because they know some of their networks will be easy to infiltrate.

After all, many of those business owners never bothered to change the password that came preset on their internet routers…  Bingo! Kat’s Creations has just been hacked.  With free reign of her network, this hacker can go to work by intercepting emails, accessing the Point-of-Sale device, and extracting data as it’s transmitted from PC to printer.

Unfortunately for Kat, she invested every penny she had to start her small business.  Little does she know that her life’s dream will go up in smoke in a matter of months.  Businesses that do not protect themselves from cyber threats cannot protect their customer’s information either.  Oftentimes, such businesses are not around for long.

How big is this problem?

Fortunately, Kat’s story is fiction, but the problems she faced are all-too real.

A study at the University of Maryland discovered that devices that are connected to the internet are attacked every 39 seconds on average.  This includes personal computers, printers, and cell phones.

If an unscrupulous hacker like the one described above can penetrate a network then they could potentially cause untold damage, costing enormous sums of money.  In fact, a report from IBM suggests that the average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million.

Of course, there are many security vulnerabilities in organizations of all sizes, and that is why safeguarding systems is critical and should be comprehensive from end to end.

What’s to be done?

At Toshiba, we take a holistic approach to security by looking for these vulnerabilities at the device, access, document, and fleet level.  For more on that, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read an article by Kerstin Woods, VP of Solutions and Outbound Marketing at Toshiba.

Situations like the one that Kat experienced are preventable.  And, sometimes the cure is as simple as creating a stronger password to access the network.  As a campaign aimed at students at the University of Michigan once stated, “Passwords are like underwear: they need to be changed often, it is not a good idea to share them with friends, the longer they are the better they are, and it’s better for them to be mysterious and not left lying around.”

Of course, other security vulnerabilities that are more complex than changing a password will require the assistance of an experienced professional to deal with.  That is why organizations of all sizes should engage with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider to implement the most robust security features possible.

Printers, specifically, are some of the most vulnerable IT resources an organization possesses.  They are usually tied to the network, can be used by multiple employees or entire departments, and these devices handle the printing, scanning, and faxing of sensitive information.

Each of those human-printer interactions are potential threats if left unchecked.  Unfortunately, the word has not gotten out loudly enough because 60% of companies suffer data loss due to a lack of print security.

Putting an end to security breaches 

A Toshiba MPS assessment does not cost anything, but it can offer you one of two things: peace of mind to know that your current security setup is adequate, or a demonstration that changes need to be made.

Some of the things that our Encompass Print-as-a-Service managed print services offering will consider during an assessment are:

1. Install to End-of-Life Product Defense

2. Physical & Digital Access Protection

3. Document Lifecycle Defense

4. Fleet-wide Security Administration

In addition to the security component, Toshiba’s all-inclusive MPS assessment will also evaluate your printer fleet – offering opportunities to right size if necessary, seek to reduce environmental impact, and discover ways to reduce costs.

We know that you’ve invested a lot into your organization, and we are in the business of helping you manage yours.  The security of your organization’s digital infrastructure should be top-of-mind.  After all, no one wants to be faced with Kat’s situation.

If that’s something that speaks to you, please don’t wait any longer than necessary.  Contact your local Toshiba representative to schedule an MPS assessment today.

 

 

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