Coordinated Business Systems Blog

5 Ways to Leave Your Sensitive Documents Open to a Data Breach

You’ve all heard the song, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, right?

Slip out the back, Jack.

Make a new plan, Stan.

Hop on the bus, Gus.

Just drop off the key, Lee.

Now that I’ve planted that ear-worm inside your head, what’s a Paul Simon song have to do with document security?

There are five simple mistakes many of us make when printing, sharing, and storing documents -- paper and digital.

IT security often focuses on the network -- keeping intruders out and your network free from hacks, viruses, and ransomware.

Not to belabor the obvious, that’s important.

Outside data breaches and cybercriminals aren’t the only way offices lose sensitive documents.

Slipshod document handling can also be a cause.

Here are the five ways to leave your sensitive documents open to a data breach (I know, not nearly as catchy as the song).

1. Not Using Password Protection

We’re all busy and it’s easy to overlook this simple and easy step to keep a confidential document confidential. You’re rushing out the door for a meeting, but need to get a document to Bill for your meeting with him later. You scan, push email to Bill, and then realize you sent it to the wrong Bill. If that document was password-protected the wrong Bill wouldn’t be reading your strategy plan for how to downsize his department right now.

2. Output Trays

Documents sitting in printer and copier output trays or stacked on a nearby shelf is wasteful -- nearly 50% of print jobs are thrown away without being used. Even more important, those documents represent a potential goldmine for identity thieves and nosy co-workers.

That's a threat to your security and compliance efforts. Personnel records from HR, payment details from accounts payable, strategy documents from the recent board meeting -- you don’t want just anyone to have access to this information.

Implement pull printing and user authentication at the device. This will prevent wasteful printing, provide an audit trail of print jobs, and ensure sensitive documents are never in plain view for anyone to see.

3. Saving the Sensitive Files in an Unsafe Folder

When you scan to the cloud the document could need to be scanned to a local folder first. Whether a shared drive or desktop, users then generally forget to delete the file after moving it to the cloud, which makes it accessible in the case of a network breach.

Look for copiers and apps that allow you to scan directly to secure cloud folders. If you can’t, train users to ensure document security.

4. Can You Print This For Me?

Remote working is great for productivity. However, sometimes remote workers need to print documents and ask their co-workers to do it for them. Doing someone a favor is great. Losing track of sensitive documents? Not so great.

Mobile printing allows employees to print while off-site and then (with pull printing) retrieve onsite. Enabling this functionality will allow remote workers to serve themselves without the hassle of calling in a favor or the risk of a file going unmanaged and exposed

5. Leaving the Data on the Printer’s Hard Drive

Today’s printers and copiers are essentially computers, with hard drive and cache memory. There are a few actions you can take to ensure confidential information stays that way:

  • Automate hard drive overwrites -- many models will allow you to schedule regular wipes of your drive
  • Encrypt your hard drive
  • Empty your hardware’s cache on a routine schedule

If the documents aren’t there, they can’t be stolen!

Again, not quite as catchy as Paul Simon, but more important to keeping your business from being hacked.

More questions about copier security? We’ve got you covered, read these posts for a deeper dive into other issues and answers for preventing your copiers from becoming a security hole:

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