Where does your leased copier go when you upgrade? It's usually offered up for resale to the highest bidder. CBS news ran a story on this issue, outlining the dangers of unknowingly or inadvertently leaving digital information on copiers.
Most digital copiers manufactured since 2002 include hard drives that store a copy of each document copied, scanned or faxed on the machine. Most digital copier manufacturers offer software that will scrub the data before it leaves your office, but, according to a copier industry survey, more than 54% of Americans are unaware that their confidential documents are being stored.
During their investigation, CSB news bought four copiers from a warehouse in New Jersey, and with forensic software downloaded from the internet for free, found confidential information from a police department, copies of pay stubs containing names, addresses and social security numbers, as well as information from an insurance company which included individual diagnoses and blood test which could be HIPAA violations.
While some industry leaders have made efforts to warn its customers about the privacy threat, it appears that many organizations aren't willing to spend the extra $500 for an option that would automatically erase the stored copies. That figures seems very inexpensive when compared with the cost of repairing someone's identity.
Editor's Note: Wouldn't a "secure hard drive erase for a fee" option seem like a potential business opportunity for the copier resale companies? In an era where additional revenue streams are coveted, this one sounds like a win/win for everyone.