Get closer to complete unhackability with better endpoint security

August 9, 20183 minute read

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While American companies are busily boosting their endpoint security and trying as hard as they can to secure their networks, China has blown past the United States with an unbelievably cool cybersecurity initiative. According to Reuters, China has launched an unhackable quantum messaging network. Having decided that the existing internet infrastructure was way too old school and insecure for their taste, digital mavericks in China are now embedding messages in particles of light using quantum networks.

If your jaw just hit the floor, you’re not alone. And you probably want an unhackable quantum messaging network now, too, right? But unless your nerd credentials include the title of quantum physics expert, chances are you won’t be launching one of these sleek, futuristic secure networks at your business just yet. Good news, though: There’s still plenty of high-level geekery you can deploy in the meantime to get a lot closer to unhackability.

Lock down your endpoint security—that includes printers, too

Any IT pro who hasn’t been living under a rock knows that hackers are coming for your endpoints. One of the most overlooked security vulnerabilities in an office network, endpoints can be easy to penetrate. From there, especially if these devices are sitting on the same network as systems containing sensitive information, a hacker can get to the good stuff and bring a company to its knees in short order. And nobody wants that (except the hacker, obviously). However, with some smart tech, you can lock down your endpoints. It may not involve quantum networking, but it’s the next best thing.

There are some pretty cool printers out there that already do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Equipped with intrusion detection, firmware whitelisting, and self-healing capabilities, these printers can spot an attack in progress and trigger a reboot if needed, even loading a “golden copy” of the BIOS to bounce back if malicious code is executed. Meanwhile, the machines can alert IT that something dodgy has happened, so you can take a closer look. It’s also possible to lock down specific ports and hard drives on these printers to better fend off insider and outsider threats.

Secure printing goes way beyond the device level, of course. With monitoring software keeping tabs on the fleet, IT pros can make sure any printer that does get infected with a virus or malware is prevented from transmitting it to others, effectively quarantining it. You can also automatically issue patches and updates to your printers and copiers as you would other endpoints, like laptops and desktops, making sure they get the same comprehensive protection from the get-go.

Keep sensitive documents away from prying eyes

With a multilayered approach to cybersecurity, you can get a lot closer to that holy grail state of unhackability than you otherwise would. Once you’ve secured your endpoints, you want to make sure any documents circulating in your office can’t be viewed by opportunistic hackers or inside threats, such as disgruntled employees. Encrypting documents in transit is a great way to start.

You can also ensure that documents lying dormant in the print queue longer than a certain period of time—say, 24 hours—are automatically deleted. To do so, opt for printers with built-in security features, such as pull printing, which makes sure only employees with the proper authentication (e.g., a smart card, PIN, or a QR code) can claim a print job once it’s arrived at the printer. You can even get super granular about how and where these employees print or send their documents in the first place by blocking or locking certain destinations.

While you’d like to take a great leap forward into the future and get on that unhackable quantum messaging network—yesterday—most businesses don’t have the resources of the Chinese government. But you do have powerful, advanced technology at the ready to secure your network from digital assaults and other security vulnerabilities. By adopting a multilayered approach that includes endpoint security while also protecting data and documents, your business can make bold strides toward a state of unhackability. While it doesn’t involve cutting-edge physics, it does feature some impressively advanced technology.

Most importantly, it keeps hackers where they should be: far away from your network and corporate data.

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