Three Things to Look for in a Secure Print Partner

Author: Joseph Jachimiec, Security Administrator

Yogi Berra once said, “Okay you guys, pair up in threes… and talk about information security!”

Okay, I added the part about information security. But he still said “pair up in threes,” which is a brilliant Yogi-ism…

Taking his advice to heart, I paired up my knowledge about InfoSec and came up with three things to look for in a secure print partner. Play ball!

1. A Maturing Information Security Program

Your print partner must have an information security program, period.

Bonus points if they have a “maturing” InfoSec program. This means the program (by design) develops and improves over time, guided by business and customer needs. Sprinkle in leadership commitment, reliable frameworks, and awareness training, and you’re off to a good start.

Sounds simple, but it’s not. Consider the following…

Leadership Commitment

A robust information security program starts from the top down. It must have the full support of the CEO and company leadership with a clear security commitment shown to employees, stakeholders, vendors, and customers.

Controls

As discussed in my previous article, a well-designed InfoSec program encompasses administrative, physical, and technical controls.

For administrative controls, think policies and documentation. For physical controls, think door locks, cameras, and key cards. And for technical controls, think firewalls and encryption. Make sure there are policies, standards, procedures, and guidelines in each of these areas. 

Frameworks & Training

Ask if they built the program on a well-known cybersecurity framework like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, CIS Controls, or ISO/IEC 27001:2013.

Also, make sure the print vendor has a diverse security awareness training program for its employees. More about this later.

2. Independent Third-Party Security Audits

Okay, your potential print partner has an information security program. They’ve told you they segment their networks, scan for vulnerabilities (and patch them), and have full documentation and policies.

Do you take their word for it? Or do you, as the Russian proverb goes, trust but verify?

I think you know the answer. But how do you verify? It’s time-consuming and expensive to fly your security auditors out. However, due diligence is a must.

That’s where independent third-party security audits come in. Trained, unbiased auditors perform these evaluations. And in most cases, compliance obligations require third-party validation.

So ask about the third party reports and certifications that confirm your potential print partner is meeting their InfoSec duties. Make sure they’re following industry standards, using best practices, and protecting your data with proven methods.

For instance, what’s their S2SCORE? Do they have an AICPA SSAE 18 SOC 2 report? If they process credit cardholder data, are they PCI DSS compliant? If you’re in the healthcare field, is the print vendor HIPAA compliant

Besides independent audits, does your potential partner have a track record of fixing security gaps? Do they have a history of remediating and improving any security findings the inspections uncover? Or do they strike out?

3. Security Awareness Training Program

I mentioned awareness training above, but it’s so important that I’m calling it out in this separate section.

Someone once said that humans are the weakest link in the security chain (no offense if you’re human). All this means is we’re emotional, and thus easy prey for social engineering trickery. 

A robust training program covers a few different bases here. First, it shines a spotlight on the threat of social engineering and teaches ways to identify it when something doesn’t seem right.

It’s not about paranoia; it’s about awareness. It’s about thinking before divulging information, clicking on a strange email link, or plugging in that USB thumb drive.

The security awareness program should use different media like email training, newsletters, video, and even live training. Is the training spread out over different time frames like weekly, monthly, and yearly?

Phishing Tests

To further combat social engineering and ransomware, make sure the vendor’s awareness training program includes email phishing tests and remediation training for anyone who takes the bait.

Policy Acknowledgments

And don’t forget about the print vendor’s security policies. All employees must be aware the information security policies exist, what those policies cover, and where to access those policies for further reference. Annual acknowledgment of security policy training is ideal.

Bonus: look to see if the print vendor cares about its employee’s digital safety outside of work. Security training for their family and home life is a welcome addition.

Conclusion

When evaluating a potential secure print partner, look for telltale signs the print provider cares about your data security. Ask them to prove it.

At the very least, look for:

  • A reliable information security program
  • Third-party assessments
  • A security training program that’s proactive about educating its employees.

Is there more to consider? Sure, but don’t get overwhelmed. Start with these basics, and you’ll go a long way toward protecting your data with your trusted print vendor.

If you’re looking for a secure print partner, contact us today. We’ll show you how Nahan meets all these criteria and more.

Joseph Jachimiec is a security, IT, and marketing professional. As the Security Administrator at Nahan, he heads up our information security program and is the go-to guy for our customer/third-party security audits and PCI, SOC 2, and HIPAA compliance initiatives. In his spare time, he dreams about what it would be like to have more spare time.

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

What is Information Security?

Author: Joseph Jachimiec, Security Administrator

When I ask any normal, non-security person, “What is information security?” I get answers like this:

  • “Information security is protecting information,” or
  • “It’s when you defend data from hackers,” or even
  • “Oh, that’s IT stuff.”

None of these answers are wrong. Well, maybe “that’s IT stuff.” A little.

The best definition of information security comes from my friend and security evangelist Evan Francen, and it’s my favorite.

In his book, UNSECURITY: Information security is failing. Breaches are epidemic. How can we fix this broken industry? he writes:

“Information security is managing risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information using administrative, physical, and technical controls.”

I like this because it’s clear, complete, and best of all, actionable.

Let’s unpack his definition.

Managing Risks

Risk management is a pretty big topic, so we’ll save that discussion for another day. For now, notice that Evan didn’t say eliminating risks. He said managing risks.

It’s impossible to eliminate 100% of risks. There’s always some risk potential with information security, like in life. The key is awareness of the actual risks involved so you can intelligently manage, reduce, and accept your risk exposure.

Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability

The Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability Triad (aka the CIA Triad) is a foundational security model for protecting and working with information. Use it as a guide when building your information security programs, policies, and procedures.

Confidentiality means keeping the information secret from unauthorized disclosure. Only authorized parties should have access to the information.

Integrity means that the information is accurate and hasn’t been altered by unauthorized methods.

Availability means the information is accessible to authorized users when it’s needed.

To make this CIA concept work, create security harmony based on your business objectives. If you keep the information locked up, the right people won’t have access to the data they need. If you mess with the integrity of the data, who cares if it’s available? It’s no longer accurate or trustworthy at that point. And if the data is open to everyone, confidentiality goes out the window.

The best approach is to balance the push and pull of your business needs when working with the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. How? By using controls.

Administrative, Physical, and Technical Controls

Our favorite definition of information security continues with controls, namely the administrative, physical, and technical controls used to manage risk to information.

Administrative controls are the policies, procedures, standards, and training relating to information security. Here’s a shortcut to remember this: think documentation.

Physical controls are the easiest to understand because we use them every day at home, in the car, and at work or school. These are the door locks, keys/access cards, surveillance cameras, and alarm systems that protect people, property, and data.

Technical controls are what we first think of when it comes to information security. Passwords, firewalls, and anti-virus software fit into this category. Those are great, but many businesses fall into the trap of relying only on technical controls. Not only is this an expensive mistake, but as we saw with the CIA Triad, it’s a balance of the three controls that works best.

Conclusion

Why does all this information security stuff matter? Because Nahan cares about your data as much as you do.

We have administrative, physical, and technical controls in place to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data, and we’re always improving. To learn more about our information security processes see our security section and contact us today about your next print project’s security needs.

Joseph Jachimiec is a security, IT, and marketing professional. As the Security Administrator at Nahan, he heads up our information security program and is the go-to guy for our customer/third-party security audits and PCI, SOC 2, and HIPAA compliance initiatives. In his spare time, he dreams about what it would be like to have more spare time.

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay