Data Security: Do You Know What Your Photocopier Hard Drive is Holding?

Posted In Weaver Bomfords Blog   |   14th February 2018

When we think about data security, we tend to think about mobile devices and the cloud. Many high-profile privacy breaches have come about because of simple passwords, or memory sticks left lying around on public transport.  In fact, some of your most sensitive documents may be stored in some truly unlikely places. One of them is your photocopier hard drive. And regardless of who uses it, you’ve probably never checked to see what’s on it.

Data Storage on Photocopiers

Photocopiers now have multiple functions, in addition to their basic copying feature. In order to scan, or perform advanced copy operations, they store a lot of data to internal storage.

Fitting internal storage in a photocopier is not a new endeavour. But as separate scanners go out of vogue, we’re using photocopiers for different purposes, which means the hard drives in these machines are fulfilling an increasingly critical role.

Each time you photocopy a document, the photocopier will scan it. The copy that’s produced is essentially a printout from the scan. And every time a scan is created, you’re unwittingly creating an unsecured copy.

For any business, serious alarm bells should be ringing at this point.

What Are the Consequences?

Cloud computing is often singled out for information security articles, because we tend to assume that accessing remote servers is easier than hacking into corporate networks. That isn’t necessarily true. On every network, the finest security protocols can only go so far. The weak point is almost always the user.

If you have employees copying documents, they need to manually go in and delete the files afterwards. They almost certainly aren’t doing this. Additionally, if one of those users loses a mobile device, that device could allow access onto the corporate network through the back door.

Additionally, some photocopiers store unencrypted data that anyone can access, if they know the IP address or network path to the device. Even within the company, there’s some information you don’t want everybody to be able to see.

Are You At Risk?

Not all photocopiers store images. But those that do offer some security. It’s wise to investigate these settings and ensure they are switched on.

  • If you have the option to automatically delete data, do so. Additionally, switch on data encryption and set a strong password for the device.
  • Use physical security, too: place photocopiers in areas where they can be locked away, and used only by authorised users.
  • Most networked printers and photocopiers have an admin panel that can be accessed via a web browser. Restrict access to this configuration area, and ensure it is not accessible on the corporate network.

If your photocopier lacks basic security controls, it’s a sign that you need to upgrade. Be sure to check any printers and scanners to assess their security standards.

Protect Your Data Security

Weaver and Bomford is a provider of managed print services and solutions. We also sell a range of printers and photocopiers that are ideal for small and medium sized businesses. If you have any concerns about data security, contact our friendly team today. We can help you to secure your device, or replace it with a more suitable machine.

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Our team are ready and waiting to help you.
Just give us a call on 03456 123 858.