5 Surprising Information Security Risks Lurking In Your Office

We’re willing to bet you haven’t considered one or more of the information security risks associated with some of these seemingly “safe” items in your office.

Some of them were a surprise to us, too! (Especially Number 1 – it might be a real shocker.)

Here’s our countdown of 5 of the most surprising information security risks lurking in your office.   Got any to add?  Disagree with something on our list?  Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

Risk Number 5:  Mobile devices,  cell phones, tablets, etc.

No cell phones eBizDocs

Ok, folks, you already know this – these are cameras.  Really good ones.  That are constantly connected to the internet. That anyone (even a 5-year-old) can use to take a quick pic and send it off to 5,000 “friends” before you can even say “Oh snap!”  Of anything in your business – on screen or paper.

While this one can be an easy security risk to miss (after all, our cell phones are almost an extra appendage these days!), we are EXTREMELY sensitive to the security risk created by cell phones and other similar devices.  In fact, they are banned on our production floor here at eBizDocs due to the confidential nature of the documents we handle, and we strictly enforce that rule. (The sign above is one of about 20 that hang everywhere at our facility.)

If you have sensitive files in your offices, you might consider doing the same.

Risk Number 4:  Mobile Devices; Part Deux


These are mass storage devices.  With really large storage capacities (the one pictured above is tiny by today’s standards!).  And with Bluetooth capabilities built in, while the guy next to you is be-bopping away to his iTunes on his headphones, he can be busy downloading data files onto his iPhone without raising any suspicions. When his work day is done, off he goes, selling company secrets (or your customers’ credit information) to the highest bidder.

He sure didn’t get that new Maserati on his data-entry salary.

Risk Number 3.  Old DVDs, CDs,  USB drives, SD cards…

Lost USB used with permission from www.raesidecartoon.com

Image used with permission from www.raesidecartoon.com

Nothing nefarious about this risk – just the garden variety danger caused by good old human nature.  Humans collect stuff, and we tend to leave our stuff lying all over the place – dropped into a coat pocket and sent to the cleaners, stuck in the bottom of an old briefcase the senior VP of finance donated to Goodwill, tossed in the trash, left in desk drawers.

Unfortunately, you have no idea what data might still be on them.  Shred or properly destroy any digital storage device you are no longer using.  If you are still using it, keep it somewhere safe.  And if you find one laying around, properly dispose of it (after you make sure it doesn’t have the only copy of your last 3 year’s taxes, of course!).

Risk Number 2.  Old paper files and records.

More old stuff laying around.

People really do just dump papers with all kinds of confidential information into dumpsters.  Or their trash cans.  Or leave it stacked somewhere in the office (or hospital hallways) unattended where anyone can read or take them.

Because it’s easier, or, more likely, because they’d rather not spend the money on proper document destruction.

Just scan the files already.  Then shred the papers.  Please.

Risk Number 1.  Copy machines.  Really.  (Bet you didn’t see that one coming!)

All copy machines manufactured after 2002 have built-in hard drives. They’re all basically scan-copy-print machines now.  Says Jason Abare, Director of Technology for eBizDocs, “Copy machines actually scan the image to an internal hard drive (or save the document as it’s sent to the printer and waiting in the queue), then print out your copies.”

Why is that important?  That internal hard drive does NOT automatically clear itself of the images of the documents it was used to copy.  That means, unless you specifically clear that hard drive, when your copier comes off lease, or when you sell it, it leaves your office filled with copies of everything that was ever copied on it.

Oh yeah – and the tax documents you copied last night at Staples?  You know, with your personal and financial information, including your social security numbers on them? There’s a copy of all of that info on their machine, too.  Uh-oh.

Any other interesting or unexpected information security risks to add that we didn’t include here?  Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you. too!


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