The truth about Photocopier Hard Drives

Photocopier

Are Photocopier Hard Drives Giving Your Important Information Away?

Most photocopiers, especially multi-function or digital photocopiers have a hard drive. In fact, a modern photocopier is much like a computer in that it has a central processing unit, random access memory (RAM or DRAM) and a hard drive or permanent memory.

This allows a photocopier to do many things at one time, like copy documents, send or receive faxes and even act as a printer. However, although this added functionality can make the machine more versatile, a problem was discovered. Documents that are processed through the machine are stored on the hard drive permanently.

This raises all sorts of issues, principally, can sensitive documents that were passed through the machine be accessed from the hard drive. If so, this could lead to problems. For individuals it could be identity theft. For businesses, important information about finances, clients, employees and other confidential details could be accessed.

This concern was first raised in 2010 in the United States. Since then, many photocopier makers have claimed that their brands don't store information on the hard drive. Or that the machines can be set up so that they don't store the data.

Many companies also offer extra security kits that can be added to “beef up” the security of a digital photocopier. These security kits cover:

  • Encrypting data before it is loaded to the RAM or DRAM
  • Encrypting data that is stored on the hard drive
  • Ensuring that the RAM or DRAM of the machine is cleared after each copy is made

If these security kits are added to your photocopier then it's safe to say that that data on it will be secure.

So it is important to know if your photocopier is configured for optimal security off the bat and what kind of security kit patches it has installed on it. The level of security will ultimately depend on what the copier is used for.

If it is likely to be used for sensitive documents then you should also think about who uses it and who has access to it. Think about the real world or physical security procedure for the copier alongside the aforementioned virtual security measures.

For instance, a photocopier that will handle important documents shouldn't be in the hallway of an office where any passerby can use it. It should also be password protected so that only certain people can use it. These are simple and sensible measures to adopt but they can ensure that your data remains safe.

And a final point to note is that if you every come to sell your photocopier, ensure that the random and permanent memories are scrubbed clean of all your data, no matter how insignificant it might seem.

The whole issue of data being stored on photocopier hard drives causing a problem came about because old copiers where being sold to unscrupulous characters who would then use the information on the hard drives to commit criminal activities or sell the information onto business competitors.

If you limit who has access to your photocopier when you own it and erase all the data in the memory when you sell it, it's unlikely that your important data will ever get into the wrong hands.


Posted By david on 13th October 2012

Updated : 11th June 2018 | Words : 540 | Views : 8155

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