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Hard Drive Security: 6 Overlooked Devices That Need Protection

Posted  August 29, 2017  by  Lynn Brown



The 2017 State of the Digital Workplace Survey showed that 95% of organizations rely on digital equipment in the workplace.

Unfortunately, information security is sometimes lacking.

While there’s a focus on securing desktop and laptop computers, any device that has a hard drive can be hacked by information thieves.

Here are 6 devices that are surprisingly overlooked – and how to better protect them.

  1. PRINTERS AND COPY MACHINES

The hard drives in digital copiers and printers scan and store the image of every copied or printed document – which makes them a security risk. Security tips: Implement security protocols similar to desktop computers. Set up equipment so authentication or login is required, put equipment in a secure location, and encrypt any hard drive that can send images to email or network folders.

  1. FAX MACHINES

A recent Spiceworks.com poll showed that 62% of organizations still use fax machines – because their customers and suppliers use them and because faxing is a trusted method of secure information exchange. But the hard drive stores data from transmitted documents. Security tips: A corporate fax policy should direct safe usage procedures.  Also, situate the machine in a supervised area.

  1. ROUTERS

Routers help secure networks and today increasing numbers of Internet of Things (IoT) devices are being connected to networks at home and at work. If a router isn’t configured properly, confidential information is at risk. Security tips: Keep the device’s security up-to-date, and use password protection.

  1. IoT

At the device end, hackers know that while IoT devices have built-in interconnectivity there is often little or no security. The Internet Security Threat Report 2017 by Symantec showed attempted attacks against IoT devices doubled in 2016. In one of the largest Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks ever, home routers, DVRs, and internet-connected cameras were targeted. Security tips: Create a policy about what devices are acceptable in the workplace and how to protect them. Research the security features of an IoT device before purchase. Use strong passwords and strong encryption.

  1. MOBILE DEVICES

While mobile phones provide easy access anywhere, they can also create security issues. Symantec blocked 18.4 million mobile malware infections in total in 2016; 1 in 20 devices had an attempted infection. Security tips: In the workplace, have a mobile phone policy that includes IT safeguards, password protection, employee training, and continuous monitoring and evaluation. Don’t download apps from unfamiliar sites.  

  1. E-MEDIA

Many people store work data on unsecured USB flash drives so they can work at home. But lost or stolen drives can result in the loss of confidential information. Security tips: Use secure USB drives. Don’t use the same flash drives for home and work computers if possible. Avoid public ports.

What’s also important with all of these hard drives is that they are securely destroyed – not stockpiled or recycled – when devices break down or are replaced. A workplace should partner with a trustworthy document destruction company that provides secure hard drive destruction services. 

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