When Imitation Isn’t the Highest Form of Flattery: Tips to Keep Copiers Secure

Whether you’re at work, or any kind of office, you typically use copy machines and printers with internal hard drives that retain sensitive information. It’s the jackpot for an identity thief. Yet many people are unaware of this fact. Businesses and consumers can secure their machines by following these steps.

1. Educate yourself and your employees about copier risks. Be aware of the information stored on the device and the risk if that data is stolen or the device is lost. Limit storage of sensitive private and corporate data on such devices.

2. Don’t use non-company public copiers for sensitive documents. Copiers at public places, such as office support retailers, often have capabilities to save images on a hard drive or in other ways. Historically, they also have a scanned-document queue, which can be reprinted from the copier. Never use these copiers for sensitive documents.

3. Research and use your copier’s capabilities or buy the extra security capabilities. Many copier companies—whether they sell or lease the copier—offer disk override or disk erase features or modules that ensure that each new document copy overrides (erases) the previous one. Some copiers have built-in data encryption capabilities—that often aren’t activated and used. Additionally, many copier companies sell such encryption capabilities for their copiers that may prove to be a good value.

4. Wipe everything clean. Before disposing of your home or office copier, remove and destroy the hard drive, or internal memory. If returning to a leasing company, use easily available software to sanitize, or “wipe clean” the hard drive and document the sanitization process.