How can I secure all of the data on my copier? A helpful guide.

Data is the new bacon. Technologically speaking, it’s deliciously important, crispy and sizzling. In 2020, copiers have become adept at storing, preserving and (most importantly) securing user data. Data is a valuable commodity, so your organization wants a copier that takes excellent care of its data. 

We here at ClearView Business Solutions work with copiers with some of the most advanced security features in the industry. Our partnerships with Toshiba and other leaders in data security have given us a ton of insight on copier data security.

In this article, you’ll learn some important facts of copier data security, and you’ll learn how copier data security features can benefit your organization. Let’s get started!

What data is stored on a digital copier?

Like computers, digital copiers have hard drives for jobs of all kinds, including printing, emailing, scanning, copying and faxing. These hard drives store all kinds of document data on them that must be protected to prevent remote access and data extraction. Most hard drives overwrite the data, but still leave a risk of it being recreated with forensic software. 

Unlike computers, however, copiers are frequently leased and returned over the course of their lifecycle. That means that users have to be mindful of the risks that come along with disposing old copiers with sensitive information on the hard-drive.  

What should I do before I get a copier?

Copier users should have a data security plan from the start to the finish of their device’s life-cycle. Without such a plan, users are not only unprepared to prevent data breaches or mismanagement, but they’re also unprepared to clean up a data mess after it occurs.

Like with other things in life, preparation for securing your copier’s data is key. Before getting a system, your organization’s information technology department should officially be put in charge of copier data shortage. The copier will have to be configured to function within an organization’s network environment. IT staff should be fully prepared to seamlessly integrate the new system into the office, including by asking the copier dealer any questions they may have. Such questions help IT staff learn about how they can fully utilize the built-in document security features in today’s modern multi-function printers. 

How do I secure my copier’s data?

Then there’s the matter of actually securing the data on your copier. Don’t be intimidated by this task. Copiers from most manufacturers feature overwriting and encryption. Let’s see what these terms actually mean:

  • Overwriting

Overwriting is the process of changing the values of the bits on the disk that make up a file by overwriting existing data with random characters. The original file is then gone without a trace.

  • Encryption

The word “encryption” can sound like some high-level technology, and it is. Encryption jumbles hard drive data so that only certain software can then read it. Digital copiers encode the data. That means that if the hard drive were removed from the machine, then no one could retrieve the encoded data.

Other security features include locking the hard drive with a passcode to secure the drive’s data in the event the drive is no longer in the machine.

Well before the end of a copier’s life (or lease), organizations should ensure that their servicing dealer helps them to overwrite and reformat the hard drive, or remove and replace it entirely. Or, if your organization is keeping the copier, make sure that the lease says that your organization will be able to keep the system’s hard drives at the end of its life.

How can I keep my data safe while using my copier?

There are some best practices to follow to keep your copier’s data safe the whole time you use it. Here they are:

  • Plan ahead

Like with most things in life, planning ahead with your copier is a good idea. Plan out what you’ll do with your copier when you’re done with it. The Federal Trade Commission recommends putting a placard or sticker on your copier that says: “Warning: this copier uses a hard drive that must be physically destroyed before turn-in or disposal.” 

  • Passwords

Passwords are important (that’s an understatement). Users at the device should be required to authenticate themselves with a password. If not, they should have to provide biometric information, swipe a card or otherwise authenticate themselves at the device.

  • Pull printing (private printing) and other software

“Pull printing” is also known as “walk-up printing” or “release printing.” Pull printing is software that keeps documents that users want to print until the user proves his or her identity (to the software) to print the document.

Other software handles print jobs so that users can only access some printers. If there’s a breach, this software leaves audit trails to help your organization who was responsible for the breach.

What security features do Toshiba copiers have?

Toshiba models offer some of the finest security features.

  • Wipe technology

With its wipe technology, after a scan, copy or print job has been completed, the Toshiba system immediately erases the data affiliated with the job off of the hard drive.

  • Secure scan-to-email

With secure scan-to-email, users can scan their documents directly to the email address(es) of their choice. The document then turns into a secure PDF file, which requires a PIN or password to unlock. 

  • Print-to-folder

With Toshiba systems’ ability to print to a private folder on a system, users can store their print jobs on a system until they release it with a department code. Users simply have to walk to the system and use the control panel to release the job. One system can store up to 1,000 department codes. Organizations can configure their systems so that each employee (up to 1,000 employees) can have his or her very own department code. Control panel users can see everyone who sent a private print job, but they can only release documents for which they have the department codes.

How can I keep my copier’s data safe?

As you can see, copier data security takes a good deal of patience and care. There are some best practices for copier data security that users should consistently follow. If you don’t follow them already, hopefully you’re now more motivated to do so. If your organization still doesn’t follow these practices and still sees no point in following them…why?

In the age of big data, organizational data is now more valuable than ever. If your organization doesn’t protect its data, then it’s leaving itself vulnerable to cyberattacks. As cybercrime becomes more common, your organization will become more vulnerable to data theft and other crimes that could cause permanent damage to your organization’s reputation. If your organization wants to prevent its data from being compromised, then it must safeguard all of the data on its copiers.

The next time your organization’s looking for a copier that takes excellent care of its data, get in touch with ClearView Business Solutions. Our systems from Toshiba and other brands provide the latest and greatest in security features for copiers. Just see how Toshiba systems protected all of the highly confidential data on the systems at the bank formerly known as SunTrust Bank.

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