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The Hidden Security Dangers of Your Office Copier

Most discussions of office security typically involve shredding documents, securing hard drives, and making a security plan for phones and other personal devices. Focusing too much on any of these, however, can lead businesses to forget about a security threat that usually goes unnoticed: the office copier.

Facts About Office Copiers:

  • Copiers are computers, too: Perhaps the most obvious of the bunch, this fact is still important because most people don’t realize that many  office copiers are highly sophisticated computers that can be a security risk all on their own.
  • Copiers contain their own hard drives: As a type of computer, copiers today contain their own (often unencrypted) hard drives. Want an even more shocking fact? Howstuffworks estimates that a copier with a 100-gigabyte hard drive can store at least 200,000 pages using common image compression.
  • The FTC regulates copiers: Office copiers are as much a part of the FTC’s laws about data security as regular computers and files, and, as the FTC notes, failure to properly secure data in your company’s copiers could lead to fraud and identity theft.

Like any other digital storage space, then, securing the data that’s on the copier in your office is extremely important, not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because not doing so could lead to serious legal trouble later on.

Security Solutions for Your Copier:

  • Write copiers into your company’s security policy: If you haven’t already, make sure to write copiers into your company’s security policy so your IT staff has clear rules on how copiers should be handled. This is more than just a technicality—it’s a necessity.
  • Use encryption, and overwrite often: Many copier suppliers and manufacturers offer data security features, but not everyone knows to utilize them. Before you start (or continue) using your copier, find out how to utilize these features to keep your data safe.
  • Secure and shred the hard drive when you’re done: As with any other computer, when you get rid of your copier you should make sure to get rid of its hard drive as well. Note that it’s advisable to use a certified technician to locate and remove the drive so as not to damage to copier’s hardware or software.

When treated correctly, copiers are as manageable a security risk as any other office technology—the problem is that many don’t realize copiers are a risk in the first place. Get a head start now and make sure your business is taking all the steps it can to mitigate this risk.

DataShield can help with all facets of this process: from our compliance consulting to make sure your office security lines up with laws, to our hard drive shredding. When it’s time to get rid of your copier, we’re here to help. Contact us today for more information.

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