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One Step Ahead
May 11, 2010, Volume 56, No. 33

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

Warning: Your Printer & Copier
May Store Your Confidential Data

By now you are probably smart enough to avoid carrying unencrypted sensitive data on portable devices; you use a complex password and you don’t share it with anyone; you save your important work to network drives and you keep your desktop and laptop current with antivirus software and updated security patches. But do you also dispose of, return to lessor, sell, or donate your printer or copier every few years? WAIT!

Though we don’t often think of it this way, more and more office devices—including multi-function office printers—come with hard drives. The data you print, copy, scan, or fax is stored on that hard drive and in some cases, stored permanently unless you and your LSP do something about it.  At a minimum, be aware that when you dispose of your printer, fax, copier or scanner, there may be a hard drive containing images of all of your documents unencrypted.  Have the hard drive securely wiped before you give the device away or sell it, or if the device’s hard drive is removable, remove the drive entirely and have it securely destroyed. While the device is still in use in your office, consider its physical location—a secured or monitored area is preferable.

If you have questions regarding these issues contact your LSP, or Purchasing Services at rbeynon@upenn.edu.


To receive OneStepAhead  tips via email, send email to listserv@lists.upenn.edu with the following text in the body of the message:  sub one-step-ahead <your name>.

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/

Almanac - May 11, 2010, Volume 56, No. 33