In our recent post Photocopying: The Latest Security Risk, we explained some of the potential security risks involved with photocopier hard drives. For many Quote Bean buyers who were unaware of why photocopiers have hard drives, the news that they could pose a risk to information security was news indeed. The post also raised some questions at Quote Bean HQ as to why photocopiers have hard drives in the first place. So, intrepid investigator that I am I decided to find the reasons why photocopiers have hard drives!
It turns out that I didn't need to search far and wide for the answer. A simple poke around news feeds and I stumbled upon a recent investigation into photocopier hard drives by the New York Times - Why Photocopiers Have Hard Drives. We already know that a photocopier's hard drive stores and caches print copy jobs, but the New York Times went a step further and asked photocopier manufacturers themselves why photocopying machines have hard drives
According to the NYT's investigation, hard drives are typically found on multifunction printer/scanner/copier machines:
"They have hard drives precisely so they can multitask and work “on multiple print/copy/scan jobs at once,” said Larry Kovnat, a product security manager for Xerox...Such machines have hard drives so they can handle a print job, say, at the same time that someone else is using the machine to scan or copy another document."
It would appear that it is a photocopier's hard drive which enables it to work so efficiently:
"A hard drive enables a machine to store images as it scans them in and start working on the job...A machine with a hard drive can also generally store multiple complex copy jobs in a job queue, meaning you can enter a copy job while the machine is working on another one and the machine will start working on that job immediately after finishing the other."
So without a hard drive, our office photocopiers would be about as productive as they were in 1995!
Any Quote Bean readers who are concerned about the safety of their information when using public photocopiers should take heed of the following advice:
"Besides asking the information technology staff at your employer or copy center if the copier you are about to use is one with a hard drive and one with certain security features or policies in place to protect your information, you can also sometimes check with the manufacturer.Xerox, for instance, publishes this document that lists its machines and specifies which have hard drives"
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