Your copier is no longer performing as well as it should. It’s now years old, out-of-date, and it’s time for an upgrade. So you call up your copier service provider or a recycling service for responsible and environmentally friendly disposal and it’s replaced.
All good, right? Well, maybe not quite.
We’re all aware of the obvious security threats to our information – viruses, data breaches, data leakage in the cloud, simply losing information (or entire laptops), and many others. However, there are less-obvious security issues confronting businesses daily.
One of these could be your copier. For many of us, we understand that the copier of today is not the same as the one we used to copy notes and articles in college 20 plus years ago. You know your office copier doesn’t just copy, but also prints, scans, and faxes. What you probably haven’t thought through though is the security implications of your copier now being digital. Of course, it’s the digital construction of your copier that enables it to perform those functions. While it’s doing so, the hard drive in the copier is going old school and “makin’ copies” with every action – recording this information.
This includes patient information in the medical industry (HIPAA and HCFA forms, patient records, consent forms, insurance cards) and documents business use daily, such as: contracts, human resource records, customer correspondence, and new product development.
During the normal course of business, this is no more of an issue than it is for any of the other electronic computing devices you use to accomplish work.
However, when it comes to the end of your copier’s working life and it – and its hard drive with all of that information – is being wheeled out the door then you need to be sure that that information is left behind or is contracted to be digitally shredded and disposed of. You need to protect your brand and confidential data.
If you have the option and want to, often you can just be handed the hard drive prior to recycling your copier for you to dispose of yourself.
Otherwise, look for someone who will certify that the hard drive and memory have been digitally or even physically shredded.
Also keep in mind that your printers, scanners, and even cell phones are also equipped with embedded hard drives and memory chips – so you need to ensure that these devices don’t become a source of a potential data leak either.
Fortunately, this is one security risk that is easily managed as long as you’re aware of it.