Keep your copier’s secrets to yourself

One of the most serious cyber security threats an organisation faces could come from an unlikely source: the innocuous photocopier in the hallway. Every copy you make or fax you send is recorded and stored.

So, if you work with sensitive information, be sure to read through these tips to safeguard yourself against data theft.

For big office and network-linked machines:

1. The last thing people always do should be the first. Read the manual to see what security features are supplied by the manufacturers.
2. Have an expert configure the set-up with security in mind.  Some copiers offer a facility for clearing the hard drive once the machine is switched off.

3. Do not leave the machine in an isolated room where anybody can gain access.

4. Have your cyber security or IT experts wipe the hard drive forensically once a week (a factory reset is not adequate).

5. Change passwords for network printing once a week.

6. When the machine is sold on or replaced, make sure the hard drive is wiped professionally, or even better, destroyed.

7. Remember: A network linked printer is only as secure as the network it is linked to.

8. In the case of sensitive, confidential or secret documentation, refrain from using network-linked printer/copiers altogether.

Do not use public copier or printer facilities for any sensitive or confidential documentation. Copies are kept on these machines.

Personal printers have much less memory capacity, and quickly overwrite previous documentation, but they do store recent information. Be aware of this fact when selling or getting rid of such machines. As small second-hand printers have little value, it would be safer to have the machine destroyed by an e-recycler.