When it comes to digital security, many business owners task IT staff with locking down computers and mobile devices. However, they often overlook digital copiers. While a copier might seem harmless, digital copier security should be a key aspect of all businesses, because sensitive information travels through the machines on a daily basis. It is a little-known fact that many copiers house hard drives that cache documents. So when you're purchasing a copier, security should be at the top of your mind.
Key Regulations for Companies
Depending on your industry, you may be subject to laws and regulations that dictate how to handle sensitive digital information. For example, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, companies that receive customer information such as credit reports or background checks may be subject to Federal Trade Commission disposal guidelines. These rules say that any data stored on a digital copier must be disposed of properly, just as if the information was on paper.
Similarly, financial institutions are required to follow the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act's Safeguards Rule. This requires that such companies have a security plan in place to protect the integrity of personal consumer information — including information stored on copiers.
How to Secure Your Copiers
You can strengthen digital copier security with a few simple steps:
- Before you begin to use a copier, ensure it is accounted for in your information security policies and that it is maintained and secured by internal employees.
- Explore security solutions offered by the copier manufacturer and choose the one that best fits your organization's needs.
- Regularly wipe data from the copier's hard drive. Not to be confused with file deletion, wiping a file means to override data with useless random bits of data so information cannot be retrieved.
- When you are done using the copier in your business, check with the manufacturer for options on secure disposal of the hard drive.
Security Features to Look For
When it comes to securing your corporate infrastructure, there are a few features you should expect from a company copier:
- PIN-pad access. This ensures that access to the copier is regulated.
- Secure hard drive. The hard drive should conform to industry certifications ISO 15408 Level 3 Certification or IEEE-2600-2008.
- Cloud storage. Some copiers can connect to the network and upload content to the cloud securely for rapid downloads.
- Network security. Look for copiers that have intelligent network cards that can block unauthorized devices from connecting.
As a final note, it's important to consult expert sources on security for these devices. Although it can be tempting to remove the hard drive from your copier to perform maintenance, it is vital to let a skilled technician handle any hardware matters. This is because copier hard drives typically have the firmware on the drive that controls the copier. If this is corrupted, the entire copier can be rendered useless.