Hard Copies, Printers and Identity Theft: Five Things Your Office Needs to Minimize the Threat

If you or your employees print any sensitive data at work, including personal information, client details or even proprietary creative content, you need to have a plan in place to deter and avoid identity and information theft. Unfortunately, when you print hard copies of information, anyone can easily slip the paper into their pocket and take it home. However, you can minimise the threat:

1. Education

If your employees aren't aware of the risks of identity or information theft, they may not be as likely to follow safety protocol. Hold meetings, hang posters and send out emails outlining threats, the risks of identity theft, and why it's important to be vigilant.

The Australian Federal Police keeps stats and information about identity theft that you can use to convince your employees.

2. Locks

Keep printers in a secure area, locked to unauthorised people. That limits the number of people who have access to your printers and is safer than exposing your printers to cleaning staff, office visitors, temps or others.

3. Shredders

Rather than slipping potentially sensitive information in recycling bins, employees should use a shredder. You can invest in shredders to keep near all garbage and recycling bins, or there are small desktop shredders for use by individual employees.

Have employees shred anything that has their or other employees' identification numbers, banking information, address or other identifying information as well as any paper containing information like this from clients. Similarly, documents with creative information (ideas, content, etc.) should also be shredded when not in use.

4. Email

Although printing is essential in a lot of applications, it can help keep your information more secure if you do not print as often. Instead, urge your employees to share information over email. Look over everything your office prints and digitalize as much of it as possible.

5. IT Support

In addition to taking care of hard copies of information, remember that some printers and copiers store digital imprints of the items printed on them. Clear the cache of printers daily to erase sensitive information, and have an IT support person come to your office periodically to wipe the hard drive of any photocopiers you have on site. Also, have the IT person look over your printer to ensure you are erasing its data correctly.

For more tips on what to do to reduce identity and information theft from office printers, contact a printer sales or repair person, especially one who knows the brand of printers you use, such as Canon printers.