Have you experienced a security threat from unsecured printers? Fortunately, Microsoft is making printing safer for businesses. Keep reading to learn the nature of the changes and how these changes to Microsoft printing security can benefit your business.

What Is Microsoft Changing?

Microsoft’s efforts for safer printing address a well-documented weakness concerning drivers. The secure printing solutions by Microsoft also focus on increasing security in several ways.

No More Drivers

The efforts to improve business printing safety measures by Microsoft focus on removing the use of drivers. A driver is software that helps your computer communicate with your printer. It translates your digital data into a form the printer can interpret.

In the past, several high-profile attacks, such as Print Nightmare and Stuxnet, highlighted the extreme vulnerability of print drivers. Microsoft now plans to replace drivers with Windows Protected Print Mode. WPP helps enhance printing safety with Microsoft by removing third-party drivers and eliminating the risk of hacking.

According to Johnathan Norman, a principal engineer at Microsoft, using WPP reduced printing vulnerabilities by more than half.

Layered Security

However, removing third-party print drivers isn’t the only method of improving print security with Microsoft technologies. The company also introduces several new layers of security, including:

  • Introducing restrictions: You now must run the Print Spooler Service with restricted access rather than with SYSTEM privileges.
  • Fixing leaks: Microsoft has identified several “leaks” through which bad cyber attackers can slip through security. By removing them, attackers have fewer vectors to target your cyber network.
  • Binary mitigations: Binary exploitations refer to attacking weaknesses that use binary code files to represent something other than text. Microsoft now utilizes several security features to fortify them.
  • Increased security procedures: With WPP enabled, Microsoft uses additional security protocols such as Module Blocking, improved Transport Security, and Per-User XPS Rendering.

How the Changes Benefit Businesses

Microsoft is making printing safer for businesses, and the effects have a few major benefits.

Increased Security

The most obvious benefit of Microsoft introducing safer printing procedures stems from the increased security it provides businesses of all sizes. In the past, attacks using print drivers accounted for about 9% of all cyber attacks reported to Microsoft.

With Microsoft reporting a more than 50% reduction in these cases, WPP can protect your vulnerable data and reduce the likelihood you’ll experience a devastating lack of trust and profit from security threats.

User Choice

Microsoft knows the biggest disadvantage of this new printing method comes from the incompatibility of some printers. As such, they allow your company to revert to legacy printing whenever you want. Just stay vigilant about the increased security risks of doing so.

Disadvantages of the Changes

Microsoft is making printing safer for businesses, but it has one minor disadvantage. Older printers likely won’t work with the new system. While you could stay with legacy printing, you won’t gain the security benefits.

Consider updating your printers to newer models. You’ll spend some money upfront, but you’ll still save if you have to pay money in the aftermath of a cyber attack.


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