Printer Security: McAfee, Xerox Partner on Data Protection Offerings

McAfee plans to integrate its security software to Xerox's printers. For its part, Xerox will protect the proprietary data.

Concerned that employees are not taking IT security policies seriously, McAfee and Xerox are teaming up to protect sensitive data stored on office printers.

According to a survey jointly commissioned by Xerox and McAfee and released Feb. 14, more than half of employees didn't always follow their organization's IT security policies, and 21 percent weren't aware of what those policies were.

These finding are consistent with previous surveys where employees admitted to ignoring policies that weren't convenient, restricted them from doing their jobs or weren't enforced at all.

Pointing to the survey results as a sign that some of the biggest threats to corporate data come from inside the organization, McAfee announced plans to integrate its security software inside Xerox products to protect proprietary company data. The new security system would rely on a whitelisting method that would allow only approved files to run on the device instead of trying to maintain a blacklist of malicious programs that could try to extract the data or take control of the device.

Despite the fact that most modern printers, copiers and other multi-function machines store images of documents in their embedded hard drives, only 6 percent of the respondents to the McAfee/Xerox survey considered these devices to pose a serious threat to their company's network.

In a recent study of European and U.S. enterprises by research firm Quocirca, only 15 percent of respondents were concerned about losing data via these devices.

In the McAfee/Xerox survey, 39 percent of employees who copy, scan or print confidential information at work said they were worried whether the information being stored on these devices would remain secure. Of that group, 86 percent said they were somewhat worried about personal information that was being stored.

Only 13 percent of employees said their company requires them to enter a password or pass code to access the device, according to the McAfee/Xerox survey.

This article was originally published on 02-21-2012
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