You are probably familiar with many of the standard best practices for safeguarding your data, such as avoid carrying unencrypted sensitive data on portable devices; use a complex password; and keeping your PC current with updated anti-virus software and security patches. However, do you realize that another important aspect of safeguarding your data means taking precautions about the information contained on printers or copiers?
Increasingly, printers, copiers and related devices come with hard drives capable of storing large volumes of information. The data you print, copy, scan, or fax may be stored on the hard drive permanently.
Recent news coverage has highlighted the fact that confidential information can be recovered from printers, copiers and similar devices after they are sent to surplus or returned to the vendor at the end of their lease. Some of the confidential information recently reported to be found on these machines included social security numbers, birth certificates, bank records, income tax forms, medical records, and pay stubs with names
Assume that any document that you printed or scanned is stored on the device. At a minimum, be aware that when you dispose of your printer, fax, copier or scanner, there may be a hard drive containing images of all of your documents. In order to properly dispose of the device, have the hard drive securely wiped before you give the device away or sell it, or if the device’s hard drive is removable, remove the drive entirely and have it securely destroyed.
Individuals and organizations should review the following recommendations for printers, copiers, scanners, and faxes:
· Settings: Configure the devices to encrypt the data, if possible.
· New Devices: Purchase\lease devices with disk encryption and
immediate data overwriting capability.
· Disposal: Remove or wipe the hard drive before disposal.
· Use of Public Devices: Be cautious if using public
printers\copiers\scanner\faxes for documents containing confidential