In an era when data security on smartphones and computers are the prime focus, we often forget other devices which also hold sensitive data. For instance, have you come across any of your friends talking about the need for getting rid of sensitive data from their old printers? Only a few would say “yes”.
We are now living in a smart era and you should keep in mind that printers are also smart devices. So, they come with internal hard drives or a flash memory that are capable of storing documents you have scanned. So, what does this means to you? Unless you clean up, scanned images of your medical records and credit card statements, or some other sensitive documents you scanned are saved in the printer’s memory. As such, if you failed to clean it up, it can be retrieved by anyone who knows what they are doing.
As the printer hard drives are most of the time placed in unusually hard to find place, they are most of the time not removed before they are resold or recycled. If that printer falls in the wrong hands, it can be pretty frightening. If you plan to give your printer to someone or you are planning to upgrade or even give it for repair, you should make sure that all sensitive data are wiped off first.
Now, there are various ways of deleting data from your printer’s storage system. Here are some of them:
- Unplug the printer for some time. This method will delete any data if your printer does not have a local storage. You need to read the user guide for how long you should be leaving the device unplugged till the data is erased automatically.
- Clear direct email function. If the printer comes with email feature, you should ensure that you delete your password.
- Wipe clean your disk drive. If the printer comes with a disk drive feature, you should wipe/format the disk.
- Destroy hard drive completely. If you are planning to trash your printer, dissemble the parts and then locate the hard drive. Take it out and crush it into pieces with a hammer.
If you follow these safety guidelines, you can be sure that nobody will be able to get any sensitive personal data from your printer.