I’m rolling out a new column: Guest Pass. Like Captain Kirk and the bridge, it’s a column in which I hand over control to a guest.
The first recipient of a Guest Pass is old friend Peter Zuk. Many of you remember Peter from his title insurance days. In my early years as disciplinary counsel, Peter was instrumental in helping me to learn the importance of a swift and serious response to a violation of the trust accounting rules. He also served as an invaluable resource and sounding board when I found myself confronted with trust accounting issues that, having come from the AG’s office, I’d never encountered.
These days, Peter works for Kyocera Document Solutions and serves as a member of one of the Professional Responsibility Program’s hearing panels. Peter’s Guest Pass serves up an important reminder on tech competence & maintaining the security and confidentiality of client data.
Mr. Zuk, you’ve got the bridge.
Data Security: Don’t Forget the Copier
by Peter Zuk
I’m selling copiers and secure networks to lawyers many of whom were former title insurance customers. It’s great to be able to serve my old clientele again.
In working through the purchase of a new copier or multi-function printer (MFP, as we like to say), the question frequently arises as to how to dispose of the old machine. Big and heavy, they’re impossible to lift and few have a car big enough to haul it to a recycling facility.
Fortunately for most business customers the answer is an easy one: The new company takes the old copier as a condition of the sale.
But what about law offices? Is there anything else that they should consider?
The answer is “maybe”.
To understand this answer you have to know how the modern MFP works.
While they don’t look like much, copiers come packed with technology these days. Part of that technology is a large capacity hard drive. To provide you with a crisp, clear copy or scanned image, the MFP takes a picture of your document, digitizes it and saves it to an internal hard disk located within the machine. From there, the internal computer then copies that image from the drive to a photo-statically charged drum which transfers the charged image to paper.
What happens to the image on the hard disk you may be asking? Fortunately most machines now overwrite the image at the completion of each job obscuring its discovery.
Lawyers may be ok with that level of security. To be sure though, the prudent attorney may wish to request that the copier company remove the hard disk from the old machine on premises and surrender it to a member of the firm for proper and documentable destruction. On premises removal of hard disks is becoming requested more and more and should be considered as part of an overall data security plan for the firm.
Firms wishing to do this should notify their leasing company prior to removal as they may ask to be reimbursed for the cost of the hard drive.
Thank you Peter! For those of you saying to your selves “self, this isn’t a very big deal,” check out this 2010 story from CBS News: Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets.