The TDSIT Blog

Digital Copier Security: What You Need to Know

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, May 02, 2012 @ 08:56 AM

Digital Copier Security: What You Need to Know

With the constant and ever increasing demands on your time and attention, it is easy for the security of your digital copiers and Multifunction Printers (MFPs) to be far from top of mind. But it is of vital importance to address the security of your printing and imaging environment. The risk potential that could cause problems for your business and its employees – from identity theft, to potential litigation, to the loss of professional credibility – is too great to be ignored.

A study from Columbia University indicates that printers are vulnerable to security threats that could result in the theft of personal or corporate data that should be secure. A number of systems within your office environment that perform multiple functions cause the information used and shared during the daily activities of your business to be exposed to threats, both internally and externally. Common areas of MFP vulnerability include:

  • Scanners
  • Fax Ports
  • Hard Drives
  • Internet & Network connections

The possibility that information can be intercepted is only one potential risk. Other risk factors include hard copies of information left on the printer or copier getting into the wrong hands, or someone gaining confidential information from the copier’s hard drive and using it for illegal purposes. The hard drive on your digital copier or MFP stores the images and as such, the information contained on the documents that are printed or copied. This results in the risk that sensitive and confidential corporate and/or personnel information can be accessed or compromised.

Check out this video from CBS Evening News that offers an eye-opening explanation of how simple it is for data to be accessed from discarded equipment: Copy Machines, a Security Risk? CBS News Video.

How to Protect Your Information

The good news is that there are steps that can be taken to help protect your information from getting into the wrong hands and causing a negative or even fatal impact on your business.

There are currently 2 different methods available in today’s market designed to protect MFPs:

  • Single Sub System Component Security: Individual system components are secured; such as hard drive encryption, data overwrite or data wipe technology. These are usually sold as additional options for the system.
  • Full System Security: This offers protection for all elements of the device and is usually sold with the system and not as an option.

Some companies have received Common Criteria Certification for their systems and their security protection. To obtain certification, companies undertake a costly process to have their devices tested to meet stringent security standards. You can find out more by visiting the Common Criteria Certification portal.

How have you addressed digital copier and printer security at your business? Are you concerned about device security? Please leave your comments; we would love to hear what you have to say.

Tags: MFPs, digital copier and printer security, multifunction print devoces, copier security, printer hard drive