Your office copy machine stores so much data

How can you protect it?

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and because of this, we’ve had to pay careful attention to data security. Hard drives from computers store information and are most at risk for a data security breach, but did you know that your printer has the same type of risk?

Most multifunction printers (MFPs) contain hard drives that record and store data, which means whatever you have scanned or printed could still be on the hard drive. Digital information is transmitted to a printing device through a computer, over a network, by scanning, or through a telephone line. Most of the time this data is stored on a hard drive so the device can print quickly, and multitask; i.e.  perform more than one function (print/copy/ scan) at the same time.

If your company prints sensitive data, you need to institute safeguards to protect this information. The good news is that newer MFP models have now become ‘smarter’, and have security measures built in.

When you buy or lease a copier, consider doing the following:

Work with your IT staff and evaluate your options for securing the data on your printer. Most manufacturers offer data security features with their copiers, either as standard equipment, or as optional add-on kits. Typically, these features involve encryption and overwriting.

  • Encryption scrambles data using a secret code that can be read only by particular software. This means that the data can’t be retrieved even if the hard drive is removed from the machine.
  • Overwriting your data with random characters changes the values of the bits on the drive that make up a file. Overwriting the file occupied removes the file traces and the file can’t be reconstructed again.
  • Think ahead to how you will dispose of the data that accumulates on a copier over time. Check that the company providing the copier will overwrite the hard drive if requested.
  • Securely overwrite the entire hard drive at least once a month.

If you’re looking to purchase a new printer or MFP for your company, you need to find a reputable and reliable stockist. Once you have found a company, consider looking out for the following:

  • Hard drive image that overwrites with a DoD-approved three-pass algorithm
  • Hard drive data encryption with an AES encryption algorithm
  • Hard drive removal option
  • Network security support for SSL, IPsec, and SNMPv3
  • Device authentication to control, manage, and track device access
  • Secure fax
  • Secure print feature
  • Customer security alert process
  • Secure product disposition process

Generally, it is advised you work with skilled technicians rather than remove the hard drive on your own if you’re looking for ways to protect your data.

For quality MFP brands, contact Digital Document Solutions

The fax machine – dead or alive?

If the fax machine could talk, it might quote Mark Twain when he said “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” While many of us have completely embraced the digital age and now scoff at the mere mention of using a fax machine, its death has been prematurely predicted for years. But is its actual death imminent, or is the humble fax machine still going to be around for a while to come? Let’s take a look.

When someone asks me if they can fax me a document, I tend to ask myself why people still use fax machines, while at the same time trying to find my fax-to-email number, which I keep in case of such emergencies. Although I haven’t used one in years, the fact that people still do, makes me think that the fax machine, while discarded from many homes and offices around the world, is still very much in use. While most of us have found favour with digital communication solutions, there are still many people who are reluctant to condemn their fax machine to join the millions of others on the technology scrapheap.

The truth is, people who have been using faxes since they became mainstream in the 80’s still use them on a daily basis. They know how to use them, they can rely on them, they often don’t trust technology, and they are in no hurry to give up something that still plays a useful part in their lives.

There are a number of reasons why faxes continue to sell at least a few million worldwide every year. Despite their demise being widely predicted, they will continue to be useful for some years to come.

It embraces handwriting

One reason why people still enjoy it is the fact that the fax embraces handwriting, in particular signatures, and is a more personal approach compared to email.

Used in certain industries

The fax machine is still widely used in industries like real estate, banking, legal and medical, where more often than not, a written signature is necessary. Some countries still require faxing in order for a document to be recognised as legal.

More secure

While many of us have given up security for convenience, this isn’t always the case. When it comes to confidentiality, faxes are hard to intercept and cannot be easily manipulated like digital documents.

Depends where you live

Americans barely use faxes anymore but the Japanese still use them regularly both for private and personal use. In 2011, the Japanese used them to spread critical information during the Fukushima nuclear incident.

Fax-to-email

Fax-to-email only really eliminates the fax on one side of the sender/receiver relationship. I don’t own a fax machine but I do retain the ability to receive a fax, which I only need once in a while but still allows for the occasional non-digital client to send me a fax if and when required.

Multifunction fax machines

Obviously fax machine sales are declining, but these days people are demanding their fax machines to be multifunctional. That is, they want a printer/copier/scanner/fax machine all in one. So the faxware industry is still alive and well, people just want more sophisticated fax machines.

The numbers

In 2014 just over 1.2 million basic fax machines were sold in Japan. While in France just 40 000 fax machines were sold in 2013 and 350 00 in the USA in 2012.

The death of the fax machine might not be that far off, but it certainly isn’t dead yet. It still has its place and uses, and while fax machine sales continue to decline, so far it has outlasted predictions of its demise by 10 years, and it’s still alive, if not quite kicking.

For all your office hardware and software supplies, contact your local digital solution specialists.