The Risks of Printing, Scanning, Copying & Managing Paper Documents Yourself

Where the printing, scanning and copying of documents isn’t always thought of as a risky process, it can pose more of a security threat than you might have otherwise thought. Unfortunately, with the rise of technology and subsequent advancements, it’s never been easier for employees and others who enter your business to scan, print and/or copy sensitive information about your customers or staff members.

They could also access confidential information about your business, including financial records. All of the aforementioned is something that a company should work to avoid, but you might be leaving these doors wide open to those with malicious intent by carrying out simple tasks – printing, copying and scanning documents.


Risk 1: Paper being left on printers, scanners or copiers

This might not sound like a problem, but it can pose a major threat to your business, especially if documents that are left behind display sensitive information. When this happens, you won’t be complying with the Data Protection Act 2018, thus leaving yourself open to receiving fines and even prosecution.

Mitigate this by ensuring documents are not left at printers, scanners or photocopiers and ensure printer trays are not left unattended. When this happens, nothing stops a person from coming by and taking what’s been left at the aforementioned machines and this includes any visitors you might have. Make your staff aware of the risks and take steps to prevent the problem altogether. Perhaps place signs on or near the machines as a friendly reminder to your employees.


Risk 2: Employees & visitors having the opportunity to fax, copy or scan to email or folders

Most MFP brands will have the capability to scan to specific folders and/or emails and faxes. If your device(s) aren’t secured properly, then anyone can either inadvertently or maliciously email or fax information to recipients that should not be viewing that data. Again, this could be done without knowing or it could happen deliberately – it’s not always clear. Mitigate the problem altogether by securing your devices adequately and have the programme tested.


Risk 3: Everyone can access USB functions on MFDs

Any document can be copied to a USB stick. This is a problem as confidential information will be leaving the security of the office network and, once this happens, it’s then out of the company’s control. This also leaves your business vulnerable to fines and prosecution as you’d have failed to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018. 

USB sticks are also easy to lose, as are pen drives and hard discs. Not to mention, USB sticks can harbour viruses that can then be used to infect your computer network. Those with malicious intent wouldn’t have to work too hard to bring your serves down. Prevent the problem entirely by discouraging the use of USB sticks, pen drives and hard discs.

You could have your own collection of USB sticks that are counted out and counted in at the end of the working day. But where possible, refrain from using USB sticks and flash drives altogether. Rely on Cloud technology with the right security measures in place instead.


Risk 4: Employees can access scanned files that are stored either physically or digitally

This comes down to the right file management practices, essentially putting permissions in place that will subsequently allow confidential information to be viewed, but only by the right people. It’s imperative that such information isn’t open to absolutely everyone. Mitigate this problem by transferring all of your physical documentation into a digital format. Cleardata will be able to do this for you by way of document scanning services.

As a dedicated document management company, Cleardata have a wide range of services available that’ll help to protect the data you hold as well as improve the productivity and efficiency of your business operations when it comes to sorting, storing and accessing documentation.


Risk 5: Employees with access to sensitive information can scan, print or copy information freely

According to Computer Weekly, human error accounts for more data loss than malicious attacks. If you have employees in your business with access to sensitive or confidential information, then you should ensure that they’re fully-trained and well-versed in professional practices that ensures the compliance of the Data Protection Act 2018. 

Those employees should also be aware of the consequences that both they and the company will face if they’re found to breach any of the rules and regulations outlined in the Act. In turn, this should act as a deterrent for those with malicious intent to share confidential data illegally.

By moving your document management services to a digital format, you’ll be able to put security measures in place that ensures only those with the correct codes and passwords can access need-to-know information. Look to Cleardata to help you with such things for absolute peace of mind as a business owner.


Cleardata have been paving the way for ground-breaking document management services across the UK. As a committed company with a fully-trained, highly-skilled team at the helm of everything they do, you’ll be able to count on them to provide excellent document management services, regardless of the industry you’re in. For more information about how they can help you today, get in touch with a member of their professional team – they’re always happy to hear from you.