Six Steps to Better Electronic Document Security

six document security tips for the digital ageThe Internet has been called the Information Superhighway, and it certainly has revolutionized information storage and sharing for the better. However, along with all this mind-blowing technology comes the need for ultra-vigilant document security, wherever those documents may reside.

No matter what business you’re in, chances are good that you’ve got sensitive stuff to protect. When it comes to multi-function printers and copiers, most come with STANDARD layers of security. But, that may not be enough to keep everything safe. You have to consider the serious risks you open yourself up to if personal or financial statements, health records, confidential government information or sensitive corporate data “escapes” or is stolen. We’re talking liability claims, financial loss and even criminal penalties.

And, don’t forget all the federal mandates now in place for compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB), Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), and security-relevant policies like NSTISSP #111 and DoD Directive 8500.12. Overwhelming, right?

That’s why I always recommend that you take a multi-layer approach to securing electronic documents and data. Because I work mainly with Sharp copier and printer solutions, I will specifically address the innovative options available to Sharp users. If you use another brand, check with your dealer to see if these can be implemented on your system.

Some of the terms below are technical, but your IT department or provider will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Document Security Steps with a Multi-Function Printer/Copier

You can strengthen every link in your workflow chain as they relate to a multi-function printer (MFP) by addressing the following security topics:

All new Sharp MFPs come with a standard “End of Lease” feature that not only deletes files, addresses and settings, but also overwrites the harddrive data SEVEN times to completely erase sensitive data. (Yes, I said seven times!)

Some Sharp printers have an optional data security kit (DSK) helps protect and control major MFP systems and subsystems (print, copy, scan, fax jobs, network settings, operating system, memory components, local user interface, engine and job controller). The DSK uses the 128/256-bit advanced encryption standard (AES) algorithm on all data before it is written to RAM or flash memory and the hard disk. The DSK also provides overwriting routines for deleted data to help ensure all information is virtually irretrievable by unauthorized users.

To limit unauthorized access to each device, you can take advantage of Sharp MFP user account codes, access cards, user/group profiles, passwords or external user accounts contained in a lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) or active directory server.

Sharp MFPs feature an intelligent network interface that can limit access to specific computers on a network by IP or Mac address and selectively enable or disable any protocol or service port on each device. All communications to and from the MFP can use secure socket layer (SSL) for secure transmission over the network.

The architecture of a Sharp MFP provides a logical separation between the fax, telephone line and LAN. It is, therefore, virtually impossible for attackers to gain access to the internal systems of the MFP or the local network.

Protection for all sensitive documents is available via Sharp encrypted PDF files for scanning and printing, or using SSL and TLS (transport layer security) protocols for scanning, printing, e-mail and setup.

The Sharp MFP internal audit trail and/or third party application software provides comprehensive auditing of all user activity. Certain federal regulations parameters – such as ‘to’, ‘from’, ‘when’ and ‘file name’ – can be logged, reviewed and archived for conformance.

If you own a business in Canton, North Canton, Akron or other location in Northeast Ohio and Toledo area and want a consult on document security, contact me for more information. I’ll be happy to discuss these tips with you in more detail.

Image credit: iserg / 123RF Stock Photo