Protecting your data is one of the most important aspects of buying any type of device. However, not many people know that your copier security is also crucial in the fight against hackers and data thieves.
Like computers, copiers have hard drives, too. These drives contain all the images that were ever copied, making them one of the biggest data storage devices that rarely get proper protection. If stolen, the information on these hard drives can be extracted.
Today’s copiers are usually multifunctional and aren’t only used for copying but printing, scanning, faxing, and mailing as well. But with additional features comes additional security risks. In order to prevent your data from being stolen and misused, it’s important to identify potential threats and implement different ways of securing your copier.
Ways to Improve Your Copier Security
- Security Measures Before Buying a Copier
- Controlling Access to the Copier
- Regular Updates
- Proper Disposal of the Hard Disk
Security Measures before Buying a Copier
There are a number of precautions to consider before buying or leasing a copier. The first step is to check whether copier security is in your organization’s security policy. The IT staff responsible for securing other devices in your organization should also maintain your copiers. The reason is they are aware of the potential cybersecurity threats the most.
Next, check the available ways of securing your data with the manufacturer. Many manufacturing companies offer encryption or overwriting as a standard feature. This can be useful during the copier’s lifetime, especially when you decide to retire it.
Controlling the Access to the Copier
Many copiers are connected through a network to a computer or other devices for the purposes of using additional features, such as scanning, faxing, or mailing. If these networks aren’t properly secured, or a device containing malware is connected to the organization’s network, it’s easy for hackers to gain access to your data digitally. By simply knowing the IP address of your device, hackers can obtain valuable information that can be used for identity theft, financial gain, or even sold on the dark web. However, there are a number of ways to control access to your company’s copier that can be valuable in reducing the risk of cyber attacks.
Creating strong passwords and changing them regularly is something that goes without saying for most devices. But people rarely think of updating them when it comes to seemingly simple devices such as copiers. They can be used to access the copier or even to lock the hard drive so that it can’t be misused even when removed from the device. Passwords can also be employee-specific if client confidentiality is important among employees. Plus, you can even make sure that the file won’t be printed unless the person printing it is in the physical vicinity.
Using authentication devices is also a great way to protect your documents from unauthorized entities. Whether in the form of a PIN, fingerprint, mobile verification, or a business ID card that you simply swipe across the reader in order to use the copier.
Another way of ensuring your copier’s safety is disabling USB ports. Although they serve as a quick and easy way to copy documents, they are common virus carriers. Inserting an infected USB stick can introduce malware into the system and make hacking easier. In addition, documents can easily be extracted and stolen through a USB port. Lastly, disconnect your copier from the network when it’s not in use. This limits the exposure of your data to potential breaches and might even help you manage your printing environment.
Updates don’t only mean new features and smoother performance for your devices. Updating your software and firmware regularly is also crucial in preventing cyber attacks. The same goes for copiers. Outdated software means that your copier is running on software that is no longer supported. This can easily become a weak spot for your copier if hackers learn how to hack the old versions.
However, after a while, manufacturers release new versions of their devices and stop providing updates for the older ones. This prevents you from updating your copier software and firmware to the latest version and utilizing its security features. Being unable to do so leaves your copier vulnerable to cyber attacks, so it is also important to acknowledge when to buy or lease a new one.
Proper Disposal of the Hard Disk
The last step is ensuring that no one is able to access your information even after you’re done with a device. Copiers are often sold, donated, or recycled. As such, it’s easy for a completely intact hard drive full of valuable information to end up in the wrong hands. This can be prevented by properly disposing of the hard drive.
Encrypting your hard drive is one way to go about it. This method scrambles your data and makes it unreadable by unauthorized parties even when the hard disk is extracted from the device. The only way the data can be recovered is by using a secret key.
Another way of clearing your hard drive is by overwriting (wiping or shredding) the data with random characters so the documents are unreadable. This constitutes complete data erasure, which can also be done periodically for extra security. For best results, it’s advised to overwrite your data once a month.
You can also check with the manufacturing company whether you can keep the hard drive or destroy it with your own hands. Most companies offer to do the aforementioned services for you (for a price).
Take the First Step Towards Ensuring Your Copier Security
Copiers may seem simple, but there’s more to them than you might think, especially when it comes to protection. Making sure that your copier is fully protected can be difficult for someone not well-versed in the IT sector. But considering all the risks involved, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
Modern Office Methods makes security their primary concern. If you want to ensure that your data is fully secured or need more information on how to improve your copier security in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Mansfield areas, contact Modern Office Methods.