Is Your Copier's Hard Drive a Security Risk?

Security Risk

A local business offers their used multifunction printer to a nonprofit organization. It's a good move for both parties—the business receives a tax write-off, and the nonprofit acquires a free device with features that will save them a great deal of time and expense. Everyone's good to go, right?

Not So Fast

There's nothing wrong with the above scenario, but the business has unknowingly set themselves up for a potential security breach. Here's what's at stake.

Today's multifunction systems are nothing like the single-function copiers of the last century. Those devices performed just one function—they churned out copies of documents. Since 2002, most multifunction copiers have come equipped with hard drives. In a sense, MFPs are very similar to computers, and most store an image of every document that passes through them throughout their useful lifetime.

Even with advanced encryption, hackers have developed recovery software that can crack MFP encryption codes to access data stored on the internal hard drive. Here's what you can do to prevent a data breach.

Three Ways to Address the Problem

The security vulnerabilities caused by copier hard drives aren't insurmountable once you know what to do.

  1. Scrub or overwrite the data. If you're planning to donate or sell your copier to a third party, contact your equipment provider for help deleting the saved data on the device hard drive. The new owner will receive a copier with a clean hard drive, and you won't need to worry about what could happen if the device leaves their possession.

  2. Keep the hard drive on-site. During an end-of-lease situation, request to keep the device hard drive in your possession.

  3. Destroy the hard drive. Your equipment provider may be able to have their technician destroy the hard drive before the MFP leaves your location.

To learn more about copiers and data security, contact us at Da-Com Digital Office Solutions today.

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