How To Prevent Your Office Photocopier’s Confidential Data

Photocopy specialists Copyform explain how to deal with confidential data stored on your copier’s hard drive.

Most businesses place utmost importance on data security, ensuring that sensitive data is well protected. If an old PC or laptop is no longer needed, it’s common sense to destroy the data on the machine before selling, recycling or scrapping it.

Have you considered though that your office photocopier could pose a similar data risk to PCs and laptops? That’s right – many modern printers are equipped with a hard drive, which can store exactly the same kind of sensitive data as is more commonly stored on a computer.

Receipts, invoices, financial records, contracts, even personal information about employees can all be stored by the photocopier’s hard drive when a copy of the document is made on the machine. This is not something to take lightly because if the worst should happen and the machine falls into the wrong hands, you are leaving your business and its employees and clients at risk of identity or intellectual theft.

Clearly it’s very important that you ensure your photocopier’s data is erased before the machine leaves your business premises. How can you do this? There are a few common ways to do it:

1.Connect to a PC and overwrite the data

If you are able to remove the copier’s hard drive and connect it to a PC, you will be able to download software which will overwrite the existing data with lots of meaningless data, making it unreadable. The software writes patterns of meaningless data over the drive’s sectors. the greater the number of ‘passes’ (overwrites), the higher the level of security.

This method means that the hard drive remains undamaged and can be reused, which may also increase its resale value.

2.The Degaussing method

A machine called a Degausser can be used to destroy the data on the hard drive, which it achieves by giving out a powerful electromagnetic field. Whilst Degaussers are effective, they are expensive to buy; there are of course companies who will wipe your data using their own equipment, though handing the drive over to someone else and making confidential data available to a third party exposes you to an element of risk.

3.Physical destruction

Removing the hard drive from the copier and physically destroying it is not a particularly subtle way of dealing with the issue of data security, but it can be effective! The drive might be incinerated, pulverised, shredded, melted or sanded down, though if you try doing this yourself there’s obviously a potential safety hazard. Outsourcing the work to another company will remove this risk, though as with outsourcing the Degaussing of the drive, there will always be an element of risk from exposing confidential data to a third party.

Jesse Fin

Jesse worked as a journalist for a large tv station in Korea in her past life. She now works full time at home as a blogger and loves to help her friends manage their personal budgets.

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