6 Careless Ways to Expose Sensitive Documents and Risk a Data Breach


Copier security shouldn't be overlooked - are you exposing sensitive documents to cybercriminals by making one of these 6 careless security mistakes?It should be impossible to ignore security challenges today - though many offices do continue to try.

We’re bombarded with commercials, ads, radio spots, articles in the newspaper and magazines, podcasts, news programs, and even this blog (sometimes) about various security issues.

Most of this content focuses on securing networks, which is a huge, complex, and important topic. We’ve focused on the issue of copier security.

I’d like to bring the focus down to a level we’re all familiar with -- the humble document. We all work with documents. Paper or digital, sensitive documents need to be secured.

Here are six ways documents could be accessed by the wrong people -- and what to do about it.

Unrestricted Access

Do you have customer information in easily accessible filing cabinets? A substantial portion of data breaches are from disgruntled employees.

The solution: Lock those cabinets and for the most sensitive files, consider moving those files behind a locked door or even to a secure off-site location for critical files that are rarely accessed but still need to be kept.

Documents in the Output Tray

Nearly everyone has forgotten to pick up a print job from the printer. Usually that’s no big deal. However, if you’re printing sensitive documents such as the company’s strategic plan, reasons for an employee dismissal, customer details, etc.; you need to do better. In highly regulated industries, that could even be a regulatory issue.

The solution: Implement pull printing so that users authenticate themselves and release print jobs at the printer.

No Password Protection

When you scan a sensitive document, what would the repercussions be if you then shared that via email to the wrong Bill (perhaps even someone outside of the office)?

The solution: For sensitive documents, add a password so that only the right Bill can open the document.

Do you know these 12 copier security issues? Because hackers are like wolves; they go after the weak.

Saving to an Unsafe Folder

When you scan a document, an interim step is often to save to your desktop or a local folder before moving to a more secure location. For most documents, that’s not an issue. However, for documents that are sensitive, leaving them in an open file folder is the digital equivalent of leaving them on the output tray.

The solution: Scan directly to your document repository - whether your document management system, Dropbox account, etc. If you do scan sensitive documents to an interim location, delete them.

“Hey, I’m out of the office, can you print this for me?”

Remote workers often ask co-workers to do them the favor of printing for them. Normally, that’s great, people should help each other out. For more sensitive documents, that’s a no-no.

The solution: Enable mobile print so that anyone can securely print from anywhere.

The Hard Drive

Your copier is essentially a computer, complete with cache memory and a hard drive. When you copy, scan, or print, a copy of the page is often saved. Network-connected devices like your copier can be hacked and a few hundred customer payments would be a treasure trove for a hacker.

The solution: Digitally shred your hard drive and wipe your cache memory regularly. For an extra layer of security, look for office equipment capable of encryption.

Good office security is a habit. If your office engages in any of these bad habits, start good habits with the suggested solutions.

If you need help, contact one of our office equipment experts.

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About The Author

Dave Quint, president and CEO of Advanced Systems Inc. and past president of BTA Mid-America. Dave has worked with copiers, MFPs, scanners, and document workflow software since joining Advanced Systems as a sales associate in 1989. His favorite part of the job -- “there is no greater joy than to see the positive impact these solutions have in our client’s businesses.’ You press print, we take care of the rest. Contact us for more information >>