Almost all multifunction devices have similar features with computers. Some scanners, copiers, and printers have hard drives for data storage. You can connect them to a network to be able to process requests. These include printing, copying, scanning, and faxing requests.
When you connect devices to a network, you have to set their security settings. Manufacturers usually do not enable settings. It will be up to you to properly secure your device.
In an office or business setting, the proper handling and security of these devices is the responsibility of the IT Department. This includes the delivery and installation. It also includes continuously monitoring the devices. They do this to make sure that the security features are always enabled. The department also oversees the handling of the hard drive.
Not all scanner models have hard drives. If you want to know if a particular scanner has one, you’d have to ask the manufacturer. If purchasing the scanner online, go through the product specifications to find out.
A multifunction device consolidates the functionality of different devices. These can include the functions of a printer, copier, scanner, and fax into one machine. This type of device has an internal drive. The internal drive enables it to coordinate the simultaneous performance of all the functions. There are configuration similarities between a multifunction device and copiers.
The multifunctional devices can perform many of the office’s same needs. They can do it with less document traffic as compared to network copiers. A multifunction device may include a hard drive either as a standard or optional feature. This will depend on the performance level, the price and the size of the intended work group.
The importance of the device’s hard drive
Scanners or printers with hard drives are useful in business settings. If you use your device to scan a document, it stores a copy on the hard drive of the device. Such documents can be documents from different departments, invoices or checks, your customers’ personal information, and more. For regulated industries like financial or healthcare services, this feature becomes really important. It’s especially essential for security reasons.
You are accountable for keeping and securing sensitive information. If you have information about customers, you have to keep it away from nefarious persons such as hackers. If not careful, hackers may gain access to such information retained in a scanner’s hard drive.
For security reasons, there will be a need to incorporate your scanner in your IT department’s security plan. Also, make sure that information on the scanner’s hard drive doesn’t leave the office or the establishment.
Protecting your device’s hard drive
What happens when you need to decommission a leased or purchased output device? That means you return the device to the vendor if leased. Either that you retire the device if purchased. Either way, this could pose a potential security problem. This is because there may be sensitive data remaining on the device’s hard disk.
Security provisions do not apply only to the device while still operational. You should also have security provisions that will address data destruction. Do this when you return or retire the equipment.
For devices under lease, you have to return them in working order. This means you cannot just destroy the drives..
If you are aware that your scanner or printer has a hard drive, then you can take the necessary steps. Do these to make sure that no unauthorized person can access the data in the drive. Many printer scanners are often restored and resold or re-leased. This makes it imperative that you erase the data in the hard drive before they leave the office.
Owning your own equipment will pose no problem as you can erase the contents of your device’s hard drive at will. Such devices usually come with directions in their manuals on how to erase data in the drives. If your equipment comes with a lease or if you have a device services contract, first check with your service partner before doing anything.
It’s useful to know how to erase data in your printer or scanner’s hard drive. Knowing the different process allows you to perform them as needed. Here are some ideas for you:
- Take the hard drive out of the device. You can either overwrite or rewrite the data digitally or destroy the device physically.
- Reformat the drive. Be sure you’ve saves all important data in the drive first. Remember that reformatting usually erases all the contents of the drive permanently.
- Scanners and printers usually have wipe or overwrite functions for the hard drive. This is a convenient and practical option. It allows you to keep the hard drive free of sensitive information even while you’re using it. Or when it’s time to decommission the device, the wipe function would destroy the hard drive’s data.
Once you are cognizant of this security issue, it becomes a simple process and won’t be a problem anymore.
How about flatbed scanners or simple scanners?
Flatbed scanners are usually found in most homes. This refers to an optical scanner which makes use of a flat surface for scanning documents. The cheap flatbed scanners and the simple scanners do not have hard drives. They also don’t have much RAM and rely mainly on the host computer to be able to read and output data.
Network scanners have more RAM. This is because they need to contend with network congestion so they can buffer one full picture. Some scanners can buffer several pictures. Automatic scanners coupled with a printer can do this. Multifunctional scanners can also do this.
There is no point storing files in flatbed scanners permanently so there is no use for hard drives. They perform their functions well enough with RAMs.
There are advanced scanners that can act as file servers and can store data permanently. Making them capable would require special procedures. However, this would be impractical in terms of economics. So, now that you know about the different types of scanner, it is time to choose wisely.