In the modern office, employees have access to intelligent, complex devices that help streamline their day-to-day activities and provide an elevated experience for their clients. However, this digital workplace brings modern risks with it, particularly when it comes to data security.
Multifunctional devices – those that act as a printer, scanner, fax machine and copier all in one – analyze and contain large amounts of company data. And much of that data is confidential, including address books, job histories, received faxes, and more.
Not only is this client information vulnerable to attack, but important employee data is stored in these devices, including passwords, personal details, policies, document information and of course contracts. Organizations need to ask themselves how they can secure these devices against misuse and breaches – not just for the immediate future, but for the entire life of their devices.
This life cycle doesn’t simply mean the time the device is active within the workplace. Rather, it begins in the ‘Before Use’ stage, where the hardware must be configured in line with the company’s risk appetite. Then the ‘In Use’ stage involves ongoing management to ensure current and new data is stored appropriately and protected. Finally, the ‘After Use’ stage must be considered, including complete data removal so there is no opportunity your secure information can fall into the wrong hands.
It all starts with creating and implementing the proper policies.
Breaches are on the rise in the Middle East, and the region is second only to the United States in terms of the costliness of a data breach (average total cost: $5.31 million), according to the 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study from the Ponemon Institute.
In order to thwart such threats to business devices, thorough device-management policies must be implemented company-wide. The policy should be comprehensive – including instructions on device usage, security settings, account wipes, authorized users, confidential data, and more – and be accessible to every staff member. Moreover, ongoing training should be encouraged to ensure both new and current employees understand how workplace devices are to be managed.
Canon also offers a variety of solutions that can be deployed according to your particular operations:
It’s important that business leaders understand the three phases of the device’s life cycle: Before Use, In Use, and After Use. Rather than simply managing the devices once they are installed and active within the office, they must be adequately prepared and secured before use, and then there must be a plan in place for the data’s removal, storage or destruction at the end of its life.
Depending on the quality of the device, how often it is used, and whether the organization wants to update to a newer product, multifunction devices can last for several years. However, proper maintenance is essential to extend its life for as long as possible. In order to achieve this, there must be policies in place to protect the device both externally and internally.
Like all technology, office devices endure wear and tear over the course of their lives. Their lifecycle can be extended though by conducting regular maintenance on the device’s physical elements, even replacing parts to keep it running – and therefore keep your data secure in the same device.
Additionally, internal security measures must be in place to ensure the threat of breaches or misuse is reduced. This includes keeping the software and firewall protections up to date, downloading the latest patches from the device provider, and making sure all staff are appropriately trained in how to use the devices.
The protection of your organization’s data is of the utmost importance, so make sure your devices are secured, your staff are trained, and you have adequate end-of-life solutions in place for the removal or destruction of your confidential information.