eFax Blog

Virtual Webinar Explores HHS Proposed Changes to Modify HIPAA Privacy Rule

Virtual Webinar Explores HHS Proposed Changes to Modify HIPAA Privacy Rule

This past December, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced proposed changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. These proposed modifications to the rule would help support patient engagement and remove barriers to coordinated care as well as reduce regulatory burdens on the health care industry.

This news from HHS set the stage for a timely webinar co-sponsored by eFax Corporate and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) titled HIPAA in 2021: HHS Proposed Changes to Modify Privacy Rule and its Impact on Covered Entities.

Hosted by ANSWERS Media, the virtual discussion was led by two leading privacy and security experts in the healthcare sphere – Brad Spannbauer, Consensus’s VP of software implementation, and professional services and Lee Barrett, executive director and CEO of EHNAC. Both participants each brought diverse knowledge and opinions on the proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the potential effects it might have on providers and the patients they care for, along with any provisions that may need to be implemented once the rule is finalized.


Experts discuss overview and ramifications of key provisions outlined in the rule

The current timeline of the Proposed Rule and the release of Final Rule. The Proposed Rule was officially issued on December 10, 2020 and was published by NPRM in the Federal Register on January 22, 2021. Comments are open until March 22, 2021, and Spannbauer encouraged listeners to take part and leave their thoughts. He went on to inform attendees that it takes approximately 90 days after comments close for a rule to catch, and covered entities will have 180 days to implement the results.

The impact of COVID-19. According to Barrett, some of what has happened with the Privacy Rule goes back to the beginning of the pandemic. The Office for Civil Rights established bulletins and guidance in February of 2020, the focus is trying to minimize the impact on fines and penalties that could be levied throughout by the OCR. Overall, Barrett believes the objective was to increase information sharing amongst a variety of entities while also focusing on good faith efforts of covered entities and business associates regarding how patient information would be shared.  

Telehealth. We saw an astounding rise in telehealth practice during the pandemic. Telehealth was a key component in healthcare because patients were not making appointments or visiting their primary care physicians. Smartphone applications became a link between various organizations, trying to make it easy for both patients and providers no matter the diagnosis or treatment plan. The OCR will not be imposing HIPAA penalties against healthcare providers for noncompliance in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth using these remote communication technologies. It has been outlined that covered providers can utilize apps such as FaceTime or Skype, but are unable to use Facebook Live, TikTok, or Twitch when providing telehealth.

Guidance on disclosures to law enforcement, first responders, public health authorities. This will identify existing HIPAA Privacy Rule permissions and provide examples for when a covered entity may disclose PHI about individuals without their HIPAA authorization. If an individual was in an emergency situation where treatment was needed, a first responder was potentially at risk for infection, or any information would prevent or lessen a serious threat then the absolute minimum bit of information would be necessary to disclose.

Modifications to the rules. These modifications protect covered entities from being subject to the minimum necessary requirement for uses by, disclosures to, or requests by a health plan or covered healthcare provider for care coordination and case management activities. Covered entities can disclose PHI to social services agencies, community-based organizations, or home and service providers. The modifications were proposed to encourage covered entities to use and disclose PHI more broadly in a variety of circumstances, which allows for the broad sharing of information in the midst of emergencies.


A new administration brings change

Each administration brings about new changes, and the Biden Administration will be no different. Barrett discussed the vast background in healthcare technology that the newly designated head of ONC Micky Tripathi, will bring to his post – including serving on The Sequoia Board of Directors and furthering FHIR initiatives in support of interoperability. He went on to note how there will also be changes to the CMS administration as many candidates are currently going through the nomination process. A select few industry experts are also going through the nomination process for the position of HHS Secretary. As leaders are selected and continue to drive efforts in the right direction, Barrett expressed how it has been stated that interoperability initiatives started under the Obama Administration will continue under the Biden Administration.


HIPAA Safe Harbor Law

The webinar also touched on the Safe Harbor Law, which amends the HIPAA HITECH Act and requires HHS to focus on incentivizing organizations to promulgate best practice security. According to Barrett, the goal of this law is to “not penalize those organizations that may have been impacted by a cyberattack, ransomware or other.” He went on to say how choosing not to seek third-party accreditation leaves the impacted organizations subject to an audit by OCR as well as certain fines and penalties due to their lack of proper cyber hygiene.


Now you know, but what should you do to prepare for the Final Rule?

Barrett first advised that all covered entities take time to review their current policies and procedures to determine what revisions need to be made ahead of the Final Rule approval. Covered entities shouldn’t wait to start making provisions on what those revisions might be. Second, all covered entities should begin to look at their organizations’ training processes. Should the Final Rule be approved, where do training tactics need to be amended to meet the new changes? For example, front office staff members should be aware of all forms that patients might have completed and submitted previously as patients could come in and ask to review their PHI on the spot. They might even ask for their records to be sent to another entity. If this Rule is implemented, the timing of these events will go from 30 to 15 days.

Spannbauer concluded the webinar by telling attendees how a majority of these changes will eliminate burdens for covered entities and should be embraced as they will not only make life a little easier for those they impact but, most importantly, because they support patient care.

Watch the complete webinar: HIPAA in 2021: HHS Proposed Changes to Modify Privacy Rule and its Impact on Covered Entities

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Why On-Prem and Hybrid Faxing Can’t Compare to Faxing in the Cloud

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Why HITRUST CSF Certification Should Factor into Your Selection of a Cloud Fax Provider

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Virtual Panel on Healthcare Cybersecurity in the COVID Era: ‘The Devices Are Always Listening’

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

POTS: The End of An Era and Start of New Beginnings

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Pandemic Exposes Healthcare’s Achilles’ Heel

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

New Healthcare Interoperability Solution Leverages Age-Old Technology

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Hey Smart Speaker, Are You HIPAA Compliant?

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Healthcare Interoperability Part 2: Information Blocking and Preparing for Broader Information Flow

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Healthcare Interoperability Part 1: Debating the Role of APIs, plus FHIR’s Semantic Problem

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

ePHI Data Leakage and the 8 Hiding Places You’ve Forgotten

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Cloud Fax: How Healthcare Providers Can Take a Major Step Toward Interoperability Right Now

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

5 Ways Your Faxing Might Not Comply with Privacy Laws (and What to Do About it)

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

5 Reasons Why eFax Corporate is a Game Changer Across All Industries: It’s Secure!

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

Why VoIP Faxing Can be Trouble…

Why VoIP Faxing Can be Trouble…

(and What to do About it)

As the world’s leading provider of cloud fax services for midsized to large businesses, we receive a lot of questions from IT professionals about faxing and VoIP. “Can we fax over a VoIP line?” many ask us.  Because most of these companies have already migrated to a VoIP infrastructure (which we have written about in previous blog posts) for their voice communications, they are obviously hoping we’ll say yes.

But not before we offer them some serious warnings.

“You can try, and it may work just fine,” we would say.  “But it might not work consistently, meaning some faxes may go through but not others, especially longer ones more than a few pages. Or you may be able to send faxes but not receive, or visa versa.”  

In fact, faxing over VoIP can be so problematic that many VoIP service providers recommend keeping a plain old telephone service (POTS) line or two just to be on the safe side with analog applications like fax, postage machines and alarm systems, not to mention as a backup for when the VoIP network goes down, which it invariably will from time to time.  That advice gets the provider off the hook when problems pop up and brings in additional revenue, as traditional business phone lines typically cost over $50/month.


Can You Fax Over VoIP?

Technically speaking, yes, a business can send and receive faxes over a VoIP network. But the more you know about VoIP, the less confident you will be entrusting it with your company’s important fax transmissions, especially if you are doing a high volume of faxing.

And in case you aren’t familiar with VoIP, here’s a very brief overview of what it is and how it works.

how-voip-works-with-fax

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a communication technique used for sending voice over what used to data-only networks.  Rather than transmitting a conversation over the traditional circuit-based telephone network, VoIP takes the sounds in your phone call — the voices of the speakers and any background noises — and converts all of that into a series of data packets.  These packets are like envelopes containing the bits that comprise the voice call.  

The VoIP packets travel across your local area network (LAN) and/or wide area network (WAN), and may also be sent across the Internet, mixed in with many other packets containing email messages, word documents, spreadsheets, images, etc. At the receiving end, the voice packets are separated from the other ‘data’ packets and reassembled to recreate the words that were just spoken.  

Naturally this all has to happen very fast, in a fraction of a second, so VoIP packets are considered to be very time-sensitive; if a packet containing a snippet of a word is delayed or arrives out of order, it is useless and must be discarded.  That leads to the occasional blips and dropouts that one hears in VoIP phone calls, especially if they happen to travel over the public Internet where network congestion can cause packets to be delayed or lost along the way.

Converting voice to packets using VoIP technology makes sense for several reasons, but the first advantage is the tremendous cost savings that can be achieved by converging multiple types of business communications, that used to require multiple dedicated networks, over a single connection.

A related benefit is compression to reduce the amount of bandwidth required for phone calls. VoIP doesn’t just convert analog voice calls into digital format — the technology can compress that data considerably. A typical phone call, when it is digitized, requires 64kilobits per second (kbps) of bandwidth per call.

VoIP services, using compression protocols, can squeeze the number of bits in a voice call down to as little as 32, 16, 8 or even 4kbps (with corresponding reductions in sound quality), before sending that call across the Internet. For a large company or call center, whose employees make hundreds or even thousands of calls a day, this adds up to considerable savings.

But here’s the problem. While many forms of data can handle and even benefit from compression — including voice, documents and video — the analog fax tones cannot be compressed.

And this is where fax’s problems with VoIP begin.

How Fax Works In A VoIP Environment — And Why It Can Fail To Work…

There are two primary difficulties in transmitting fax over an IP network or VoIP service.

The first problem:  Fax cannot be compressed so it must be digitized for transmission over IP as a full rate 64Kbps data stream.  That may not matter for occasional use, but it adds up in a high volume faxing environment, especially at peak hours when everyone else is trying to send their documents or make calls at the same time. Most VoIP calls are compressed to 32kbps or less, so fax consumes at least twice the bandwidth of a compressed VoIP call.  In addition, there is the IP packet overhead, which increases the required bandwidth to around 88kbps, or at least 175% more bandwidth than a VoIP call.

Second, Fax has little tolerance for packet delay and packet loss. One of the virtues of IP is that large data files can be compressed and “packetized,” broken down into smaller discrete packets of information and then transmitted over the Internet. This technique attaches a ‘header’ containing destination and source IP addresses to each individual packet (like the “to” and “from” address on an postal envelope) — and including information about the packet’s place in the larger sequence of the data (“I’m the fourth piece in a seven-piece series that makes up part of this fax”), and where it’s going (“Here’s the IP address of the computer where I’m supposed to be delivered”).

What this means is that IP allows the network to find the fastest, clearest route for each individual packet to reach its destination. This sometimes means that pieces of the transmission — such as an email message — arrive out of sequence. The process still works reliably, though, because the header information helps the system put the document back together almost immediately upon arrival at the recipient’s end. If some packets get lost along the way, they can be retransmitted until the full message is assembled.  

This works well for documents and email, where a few seconds of delay is not noticed, but not so well for ‘real-time’ communications, and for Fax the delay could be deadly.

You’ve no doubt been on a phone call where someone cuts out momentarily and you miss a part of a word or two. That’s a packet(s) not reaching the other end of its VoIP journey to your phone or arriving too late, in which case the packet will be discarded. In those cases, all you have to do is ask the other person to repeat their last sentence. And believe it or not, in other cases a word or two is dropped and your brain is able to interpolate the missing information without your even realizing it consciously. This is why voice managed to make the transition to IP despite the imperfections.

A fax, by contrast, cannot be compressed and cannot tolerate even a tiny percentage of packet loss — even a 1% packet loss, and more than a couple seconds of delay, can cause the connection to time-out and the fax to fail. It also cannot tolerate a break in the packet sequence which could result in more delay. The recipient’s fax machine might very well read any of these issues as a problem with the inbound fax, and kill the entire transmission.

The second problem:  Fax transmissions have low tolerance for interoperability issues. The hundreds of millions of active fax machines in the world use several different fax protocols — T.30, T.38 and G.711 being the primary ones, and speeds like V.14 or V.34, while VoIP typically uses G.729 to compress calls and save bandwidth.

When a fax is sent over an analog network like the phone system, the two fax machines communicate with each other and agree on the type and speed of transmission. But when the fax is being transmitted over VoIP, any gaps in the tones create the same problems for the recipient’s fax machine.

If a fax travels over a VoIP network from a machine using one protocol and arrives at a machine that expects another, this can cause gaps in the fax’s analog tones as the system tries to work out the protocol issues. The fax machines misinterpret the gaps and lose synchronization with each other.

For example, when the VoIP network is set to use G.729 compression, it has to switch to G.711 for uncompressed transmission when a fax is sent.  The brief breaks on the fax tones that occur as the VoIP system tries to negotiate between the two protocols can cause the fax to fail.  And the longer the fax, the less likely it is to make it through.

T.38 may save the day, someday. The newer T.38 protocol was intended to transmit faxes directly over IP (FoIP), so the fax doesn’t need to be converted to an audio stream first. In theory, two T.38 capable fax machines should be able to communicate over VoIP.

But T.38 must be on both ends of a network to work, and many service providers never implemented the protocol. If the fax has to traverse networks that do not support T.38, it will need to be transcoded, which can add latency, increase cost, and may cause the call to disconnect. In addition, the spec has been implemented in various ways by manufacturers, so that one machine’s T.38 may be incompatible with another vendor’s equipment. The result is a failure to communicate.


Fax Can’t Share the Information Highway

An intuitive way to understand the unique challenges that Internet Protocol creates for faxing is by thinking of a standard analog fax transmission as a presidential motorcade. Fax was designed to enjoy a dedicated and direct path from sender to recipient.  On the old telephone network, fax traveled over a dedicated circuit it didn’t have to share with anybody.  Returning to our motorcade analogy, this is where all cross-traffic is blocked to keep the motorcade’s speed high and consistent, and in which all of the cars in the motorcade can remain in their original sequence for the entire journey. Put simply, all lanes for the fax are cleared from start to finish so there is never any delay.

A VoIP or other IP-based network, on the other hand, was designed for complex and ever-changing traffic patterns — more like a 12-lane highway where a mixture of real-time and non-real time data packets (cars) are frenetically traversing the path and jumping in and out of lanes at all times. Some of these pieces of data share a lane for part of their journey; some data packets arrive in a different order than they were sent; still others might get re-routed or even stuck on the road for a few moments, forcing the finished data transmission to wait at the recipient’s end until they arrive and can be pieced back together in order.

Fax is a road-hog of a technology, not designed to share its lane with anyone else. So when confronted with delayed or dropped packets, fax simply shuts down.

Which is why we at eFax Corporate explain to the IT professionals who ask us that, “yes, technically you can send or receive a business fax over a VoIP network — but doing so may create more problems for your organization than it solves.”

So What Can You Do About Fax After You’ve Migrated to an IP Environment

It’s tempting to look for a way to migrate your company’s legacy fax infrastructure to your new IP environment. After all, IP creates efficiencies, it helps your organization save money, and it can centralize many of the communications technologies that your IT department once had to manage and troubleshoot separately.

But if we’ve convinced you that fax won’t enjoy the many benefits of IP that your other data communications are enjoying, then the question is: What can you do to modernize, streamline and improve the efficiency of your legacy fax infrastructure?


The way we see it, you have the following four options:

1.  You can leave your existing fax infrastructure in place, and continue to pay for dedicated telecom services.  This is relatively safe, at least for now, but it fails to address many of your existing issues with faxing and creates new ones of it own. Caring for an aging in-house fax infrastructure is costly and time-consuming for your business or IT department.  Also, as you know because you’re managing it, a legacy fax environment is inefficient.

2.  If you’ve migrated to IP and now are having trouble with faxing, you can roll-back to costly analog lines for every fax number (or to a full onsite network of fax servers and fax machines that also require their own numbers over digital T1 lines). A big step backward for the IT team — but a happy turn of events for your telco provider.

3.  Wait for the standards bodies to introduce a new protocol that fixes the fax-over-IP problems such as delay, jitter, packet loss and other reliability issues. Keep in mind that G.711, T.37, T.38 and other protocols are still in operation decades after they were introduced. So you might be waiting a long time for the perfect, standards-body solution.

4.  Move to a cloud fax model. The cloud faxing solutions from eFax Corporate provides the ideal platform for delivering faxes over IP networks because they convert the fax into an email attachment which is independent of the underlying network technology.  The fax is now a series of data packets riding on a data network. Voila! Problem solved, and users can now send and receive faxes directly from their desktop, with a complete audit trail of very fax sent and received.

For Cloud Faxing, You Can Trust Industry Leader eFax Corporate

For the confidential documents you need to send or receive by fax, your enterprise can check all of the important boxes by upgrading your VoIP fax infrastructure to the cloud fax leader, eFax Corporate.

Our fax by email service is built on a highly secure, redundant global network — which can enhance your organization’s document security and regulatory compliance while at the same allowing your IT teams to outsource their entire fax infrastructure to a trusted cloud provider.

To learn more about the challenges of faxing over VoIP, register to attend our upcoming Webinar here:  Unify your Business Fax & VoIP in the Cloud

For more about Cloud Fax, you can also download our free white paper:

The IT Manager’s Survival Guide: Outsource Your Fax Infrastructure to the Cloud

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Posted in:

category image icon Online Fax

Related Articles

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 13, 2024

Financial Services Firms: Reap the Benefits of Cloud Fax During the Pandemic and Beyond

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

5 Benefits of Online Fax Services for Banking Services

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

5 Benefits of Online Fax Services for Accounting

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

5 Benefits of Online Fax Services For Educational Institutions

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

5 Benefits of Online Fax Services for Manufacturing and Construction

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

5 Benefits of Online Fax Services for Transportation Businesses

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

5 Benefits Of Online Fax Services For Real Estate

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

HIPAA Compliant Fax: Secure Faxing for Healthcare | eFax Protect

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

5 Benefits Of Online Fax Services For Law Firms

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

Can I Fax My 1040 to the IRS?

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 12, 2024

An Inside Look Into Fax Integrations

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 11, 2024

How To Fax Multiple Pages | Guide

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 11, 2024

Can You Fax SCI Documents?

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 11, 2024

Fax Tracking: How To Know Where Your Fax Is

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 11, 2024

Fax Header: What It Is and What To Include

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 11, 2024

Top 4 Tips and Tricks to Find a Fax Number 

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 7, 2024

What is the Typical Duration for a Fax Transmission?

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 6, 2024

How To Send a Test Fax Online

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 1, 2024

eFax vs Email: What You Should Know

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 1, 2024

Are Faxes Still Used? Understanding the Modern Day Uses

blog-post-image
Online Fax
March 1, 2024

What Is Cloud Faxing?

blog-post-image
Online Fax
February 21, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Paperless Faxing – Paperless Fax Solution

blog-post-image
Online Fax
February 21, 2024

IRS Fax Numbers To Fax Your Tax Forms

blog-post-image
Online Fax
February 21, 2024

Online Fax Number Formats: International & Local Examples

blog-post-image
Online Fax
February 21, 2024

Fax Service Near Me

blog-post-image
Online Fax
February 21, 2024

Fax Confirmation: Steps to Obtain a Fax Confirmation Page

blog-post-image
Online Fax
February 21, 2024

Choose the Best Online Fax Services for Small Business

blog-post-image
Online Fax
February 19, 2024

Fax Machine Alternatives: Why Online Faxing is the Best Option

blog-post-image
Online Fax
February 19, 2024

Are Digital Signatures Legal? Understanding the Legality

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

Why On-Prem and Hybrid Faxing Can’t Compare to Faxing in the Cloud

Why On-Prem and Hybrid Faxing Can’t Compare to Faxing in the Cloud

It’s probably fair to say your organization has invested a great deal in fax technology over the years, and despite the fact that most of the rest of the world has moved on to digital faxing, some paper faxing is still necessary. Does that mean you should just live with the inconvenience? Maybe you should switch to a hybrid model? Or does it make sense to transition to the cloud? We’ll answer each of those questions in this post.

Four reasons not to stay with on-prem faxing

This is the easy part. Other than inertia, there are no reasons to continue to run an on-prem fax infrastructure. Here are a few reasons:

  1. Fax servers and desktop fax machines depend on the plain old telephony service (POTS), and the FCC is requiring telecom carriers to phase out their POTS services this year. Even if a few carriers don’t comply right away, your network is going to become less reliable and more challenging to manage.
  2. Your IT department should not be spending time keeping fax servers operational with up-to-date cards and software licenses, purging data to keep fax hard drives from filling, monitoring and replenishing toner and other supplies, and monitoring usage levels to anticipate capacity needs.
  3. Fax troubleshooting is a waste of time. People dislike using faxes, and the people who have to try to figure out why a fax won’t go through or wasn’t received dislikes it even more. 
  4. The technology isn’t just old, it’s ancient. Fax machines are a holdover from the 1980s, and they depend on telephony infrastructure launched in the 1880s.

Four reasons hybrid faxing is not the answer

So, on-prem faxing isn’t the answer for a litany of reasons. Check. How about hybrid faxing? In theory, hybrid faxing offers in-house control with the efficiency of the cloud. But there are some problems with that theory:
 

  1. Hardware limits. This model depends on in-house fax servers, so there are still tough decisions to be made about capacity (e.g., when to buy a new server when fax usage reaches the limits of your hardware).
  2. Time Lost mired in the details of administrative processes. With hybrid faxing, you will still have to monitor and maintain your on-prem servers, purge and archive server data, update software, and troubleshoot problems.
  3. Security – your data could be at risk. You’ll continue to face security/regulatory issues. For example, employees print faxes and delete the stored ones but don’t securely store the hardcopies. Similarly, employees might move the stored fax data to a digital location that’s not encrypted or secured. These unsecured practices open the door for third parties to steal or manipulate your data.
  4. Cost Savings. You’re paying double for your faxing system with either option in comparison to faxing in the cloud. You have the expense of maintaining on-prem fax servers while paying a third party to manage the cloud component of your
    fax environment.

We told you about the downside to prem and hybrid faxing. The experts agree that cloud faxing is the smart choice. Here are seven reasons to choose cloud faxing over other options:

  1. Cloud faxing has a much lower total cost of ownership. We have seen companies lower their faxing costs by 50% or more in comparison to these two other choices.
  2. Cloud fax frees up your IT team to spend their time on more important things.
  3. If the provider you choose has a geographically redundant network, you’ll never experience fax downtime.
  4. Advanced cloud fax solutions encrypt your fax data in transit and in storage and bring your faxing processes in line with industry regulations.
  5. You can scale your faxing capacity up or down as needed—no buy-or-wait decisions needed.
  6. Your staff will have access to a full-featured faxing program from their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, so they can respond quickly to incoming faxes.
  7. Your employees will be delighted when you take away their clunky and high maintenance fax processes and replace them with the ability to receive, review, edit, sign, and send digital faxes from an email, a website, or their phone, while reducing their technology footprint. 

Choosing a cloud fax provider

There are dozens of cloud fax companies, but they’re not all the same. Consensus Cloud Solutions, provider of eFax Corporate, is the world’s largest and most experienced global cloud fax provider. Here’s why you should look into eFax Corporate:

Experience. Building a highly robust cloud fax infrastructure isn’t easy, and it’s expensive. eFax Corporate has been serving businesses continuously for more than 25 years and has invested millions in building an enterprise-caliber cloud faxing infrastructure that’s secure and reliable.

Cloud native. Most faxing platforms use the vendor’s private data centers (or a combination of those and the public cloud). These solutions are difficult and time-consuming to manage. eFax Corporate was purpose-built for the cloud, so it scales quickly, has robust redundancy, and performs better than any other cloud fax platform. 

Large network. eFax Corporate has built the world’s largest cloud fax network to establish economies of scale no other provider can match. This means a more cost-effective solution for our customers.

Full AWS integration. eFax Corporate is the only cloud fax solution fully integrated into Amazon Web Services’ Cloud. By leveraging Amazon’s reliability, scalability, efficiency, and systems uptime, we can provide the industry’s best disaster recovery, fastest fax delivery times, and the lowest cost in the market.


If your company is stuck with outdated processes like on-prem faxing or even hybrid faxing for the foreseeable future, think about moving to the cloud. eFax Corporate can lower your costs, free up IT for more important projects, and make your
employees happy.

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 19, 2024

Virtual Webinar Explores HHS Proposed Changes to Modify HIPAA Privacy Rule

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Why HITRUST CSF Certification Should Factor into Your Selection of a Cloud Fax Provider

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Virtual Panel on Healthcare Cybersecurity in the COVID Era: ‘The Devices Are Always Listening’

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

POTS: The End of An Era and Start of New Beginnings

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Pandemic Exposes Healthcare’s Achilles’ Heel

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

New Healthcare Interoperability Solution Leverages Age-Old Technology

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Hey Smart Speaker, Are You HIPAA Compliant?

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Healthcare Interoperability Part 2: Information Blocking and Preparing for Broader Information Flow

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Healthcare Interoperability Part 1: Debating the Role of APIs, plus FHIR’s Semantic Problem

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

ePHI Data Leakage and the 8 Hiding Places You’ve Forgotten

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Cloud Fax: How Healthcare Providers Can Take a Major Step Toward Interoperability Right Now

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

5 Ways Your Faxing Might Not Comply with Privacy Laws (and What to Do About it)

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

5 Reasons Why eFax Corporate is a Game Changer Across All Industries: It’s Secure!

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

Why HITRUST CSF Certification Should Factor into Your Selection of a Cloud Fax Provider

Why HITRUST CSF Certification Should Factor into Your Selection of a Cloud Fax Provider

If your company is a covered entity or business associate in the healthcare industry, you know the ever-growing threat that cybercriminals pose to your patients’ data—and to your company’s HIPAA compliance.

To cite just one example, according to a study reported in HealthCare IT Security, 93% of healthcare organizations suffered a data breach in the last three years. Worse, the same study found that 96% of healthcare security professionals believe their organizations are not technologically equipped to keep pace with hackers’ increasing numbers and sophistication.


Cybercrime Is Evolving, and Your Cybersecurity Needs to Evolve With it

Question: If cybercriminals are becoming more numerous and their methods more advanced, can you afford to allow any aspect of your company’s cybersecurity to remain static?

We believe the answer is clearly no. This is why when selecting any digital service your employees will be using to handle patients’ data—including a cloud fax solution—you should search only for vendors that are working continuously to stay ahead of these risks.


HITRUST CSF® Certification Demonstrates Your Vendor Is Always Working to Prevent the Next Threat

For healthcare entities like yours, one way to find the technology services that are best equipped to deal with cyber threats is to look for those built by companies that have earned HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) certification.

As we’ve noted previously here on the eFax Corporate® blog, HITRUST CSF certification is considered the gold-standard framework for compliance and security in healthcare IT.

This is partly because the framework incorporates key elements of internationally accepted data standards, such as those from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the agency whose security guidelines the US Department of Defense follows for protecting its own data. HITRUST CSF also incorporates the major elements of the most stringent data standards such as PCI, ISO, HITECH and, most relevant here, HIPAA.

But there is another reason HITRUST CSF certification has gained such credibility among healthcare entities and payers. (According to Healthcare Weekly, more than 90 healthcare insurers now require their partners to become HITRUST certified.)

These payers understand that electronic protected health information (ePHI) is among the most attractive types of data to cybercriminals. They know that hackers grow in number each year and that they keep finding creative new ways to attack the networks of covered entities and business associates. And they know that most technology vendors aren’t able to keep up with these security threats.

An important benefit of the HITRUST framework is that is flexible and always evolving to meet new challenges. To attain this certification, an organization must show that its technology and practices are able to quickly adapt to new threats and overcome them.

With that in mind, among all of the other reasons to look only for solutions backed by HITRUST-certified companies, the most important might be this:

HITRUST CSF certification demonstrates the vendor is continually evolving and updating its technology to deal with changes in both healthcare regulations and cybercriminals’ behavior.


The First Major Cloud Fax Provider to Earn HITRUST CSF Certification

Considering how many faxes your organization likely sends and receives—and how many of those contain ePHI—you can see why HIPAA compliance and security should be among your top priorities when selecting the right cloud fax solution.

That should make the decision easy, because eFax Corporate is the first major cloud fax provider to earn HITRUST CSF certification.

Our enterprise-caliber Digital Cloud Fax Technology (DCFT) solutions have been protecting healthcare organizations’ highly sensitive and regulated data for more than 20 years. Attaining this new HITRUST certification is only our most recent demonstration of eFax Corporate’s commitment to provide the most secure, HIPAA-compliant cloud fax platform for covered entities like yours.

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 19, 2024

Virtual Webinar Explores HHS Proposed Changes to Modify HIPAA Privacy Rule

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Why On-Prem and Hybrid Faxing Can’t Compare to Faxing in the Cloud

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Virtual Panel on Healthcare Cybersecurity in the COVID Era: ‘The Devices Are Always Listening’

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

POTS: The End of An Era and Start of New Beginnings

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Pandemic Exposes Healthcare’s Achilles’ Heel

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

New Healthcare Interoperability Solution Leverages Age-Old Technology

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Hey Smart Speaker, Are You HIPAA Compliant?

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Healthcare Interoperability Part 2: Information Blocking and Preparing for Broader Information Flow

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Healthcare Interoperability Part 1: Debating the Role of APIs, plus FHIR’s Semantic Problem

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

ePHI Data Leakage and the 8 Hiding Places You’ve Forgotten

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Cloud Fax: How Healthcare Providers Can Take a Major Step Toward Interoperability Right Now

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

5 Ways Your Faxing Might Not Comply with Privacy Laws (and What to Do About it)

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

5 Reasons Why eFax Corporate is a Game Changer Across All Industries: It’s Secure!

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

Why Digital Cloud Fax Technology Will Continue To Be Critical for the Healthcare Ecosystem as CMS Drives Towards Total Interoperability

Why Digital Cloud Fax Technology Will Continue To Be Critical for the Healthcare Ecosystem as CMS Drives Towards Total Interoperability

Most everyone would agree that welcoming in a new year provides hope, but as COVID-19 continues to bring about lasting ramifications for the healthcare industry, it continues to shed a light on the importance of continuity of care. As providers treat and manage the care of those impacted by the virus coupled with vaccination planning, improving healthcare information exchange empowers physicians, care coordinators and health insurance companies to make informed clinical decisions at the point of care.

To help the industry meet this critical need, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a new rule aimed at streamlining prior authorization processes to help reduce provider and patient burden while promoting patient’s electronic access to health information. According to information released by CMS, this proposed rule builds on the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule and would place new requirements on Medicaid and CHIP managed care plans, state Medicaid and CHIP fee-for-service programs, and Qualified Health Plans (QHP) issuers on the Federally-facilitated Exchanges (FFEs) to improve the electronic exchange of health care data, and streamline processes related to prior authorization. The CMS fact sheet goes on to explain how this proposed rule would require increased patient electronic access to their health care information and would improve the electronic exchange of health information among payers, providers, and patients. Together, these policies would play a key role in reducing overall payer and provider burden and improving patient access to health information.Following the initial release of this proposed new rule in December of last year, CMS included several requests for information (RFIs) to support future rulemaking or other initiatives – one which pertained to reducing the use of facsimile (fax) technology across programs. In response, Consensus, Inc. – the company behind eFax corporate –  took the opportunity to address this RFI through the submission of a formal comment letter to CMS, explaining the significance of Digital Cloud Fax Technology (DCFT) to the larger drive toward total interoperability. It was critical to offer these insights as a means of voicing our concern as to how the broad category of “facsimile (fax) technology” may unintentionally impact the delivery of care for many providers who use DCFT to exchange patient information, order medications, and receive test results from labs.


Digital Cloud Fax Technology’s Impact

  • Secure, paperless, cost effective and proven way for providers, payers and ancillary services to share documents and records
  • HIPAA-compliant
  • Integrates with existing EHR technology
  • Falls under the HIMSS category of “foundational interoperability”
  • Critical technology for rural healthcare organizations and financially challenged urban clinics

It must be stated, Consensus supports efforts to improve interoperability and promote the electronic exchange of healthcare data, including giving patients and providers access to prior authorization information to better manage care while reducing the burden on the healthcare system. With policy changes like this latest CMS proposed rule set to improve patient access and advance electronic data exchange, the days of the physical, paper-based fax machine are clearly numbered. So, while we agree with CMS’s desire to remove paper faxing from the process of data exchange, we believe that CMS failed to recognize the use of HIPAA compliant Digital Cloud Fax APIs, which serve an easy interoperable and integrated solution for secure document exchange for patient data today within process workflows and significantly easing the burden on the providers required to comply with any new rules.

We also expressed how there are unique circumstances that might present a challenge to meet the proposed compliance date, including resource challenges, funding, existing system incompatibility and lack of reliable core infrastructure – especially in rural settings. Depending on when the final rule is published in relation to a state’s budget process and timeline some states may not be able to secure the needed funds in time to both develop and execute implementation of the API requirements by the proposed compliance date. Some areas may have difficulty in finding needed IT resources for the development work.

Finally, our letter stressed how this accelerated comment period is unusual for such a significant proposal. Which is why we requested that CMS and ONC extend the comment period to a minimum of 60 days after publication in the Federal Register so the potential impacts of the proposed changes can be better evaluated, and a greater number of comprehensive and thoughtful comments can be considered. 

What we all must understand is that fax doesn’t necessarily lump cloud faxing technology in with the paper fax machine – it is a protocol. Digital Cloud Faxing Technology is secure, HIPAA compliant and can certainly be interactive. Fax is a known quantity for being able to move information from one point to another securely privately and with a high degree of reliability and is pervasive among providers of all kinds. As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) works to meet the goal they set of achieving total interoperability by 2024, Consensus looks to align with the goals of CMS to eliminate paper, increase security and facilitate electronic transactions. Digital cloud fax technology is a natural fit for meeting those goals while presenting information in a way that providers and payers in all settings and locations are accustomed.Our letter, in its entirety, can be viewed here: https://beta.regulations.gov/comment/CMS-2020-0157-0058

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Why Ditching Your Legacy Fax Hardware Just Became an Immediate Priority

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Top 5 Reasons Why Faxing is Important to Business

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

80s Technology: Key Innovations and Their Contemporary Replacements

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Schools & Faxing – 3 Things You Need to Know About Internet Faxing

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate’s Secure Cloud Fax Solution Ignites the Workpath Line of Hewlett Packard Multifunction Printers

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Now Available to Millions of Verizon Business Customers Across North America

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Brings Cloud Fax Technology to AWS Customers Worldwide

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Announces Strategic Partnership with Salesforce

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
February 21, 2024

Can You Fax With MagicJack? Understanding the Limitations

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

Why Ditching Your Legacy Fax Hardware Just Became an Immediate Priority

Why Ditching Your Legacy Fax Hardware Just Became an Immediate Priority

An FCC ruling allows telecom companies to cease support for analog communications, which means you won’t be able to rely on your fax machines or on-prem fax servers for much longer.

As a corporate IT professional, you probably have many valid reasons for wanting to finally dump your legacy fax infrastructure—from the hassles of troubleshooting paper jams to the high costs of renewing maintenance agreements.

But based on a federal regulation just updated in August 2022, if your company needs reliable and affordable faxing capability going forward, you’ll actually need to retire that legacy fax infrastructure—quickly—and replace it with something new.


What this federal ruling means for you

Here’s the story. For decades, the Federal Communications Commission has required telecommunications companies to offer their customers affordable analog communications using the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS).

But with the ever-increasing availability and falling costs of digital services such as VoIP,
millions of customers have migrated away from the POTS network on their own, which has made these services both more burdensome and less profitable for carriers. So, in 2019, the FCC issued a ruling allowing these companies to retire their POTS infrastructure over a three-year transition period. That transition ended in August 2022.

What does this mean to your company? If your business’s faxing infrastructure still runs on fax machines or in-house fax servers, you should assume the phone carrier that supplies your analog fax lines is scrambling to decommission those lines as quickly as possible. And that means, if your business operations require the continued ability to send and receive faxes, you’ll need to find an alternative solution as well.


Why you should be looking for a new fax solution right now

A word of warning. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky organizations whose phone carrier is behind on the FCC’s August 2022 decommission deadline. Maybe your carrier hasn’t even begun the work of drawing down the POTS infrastructure that supports your analog fax lines.

You should not treat your carrier’s delay as an opportunity to relax your own search for a more modern business-faxing alternative. There are two important reasons for this.

First, as your carrier migrates its resources away from supporting your POTS-enabled analog service, you should expect both the quality and reliability of service to deteriorate.

Second, the longer it takes your carrier to fully eliminate its POTS infrastructure, the more likely it is that your costs for maintaining that outdated service will rise. After all, another key provision of the FCC’s ruling was to remove the price caps on what carriers are allowed to charge for POTS-enabled services.


The smart, easy way to migrate your fax environment away from POTS

So, the FCC has essentially ordered the shutdown of the POTS communications currently powering your company’s faxing capabilities. And even if your provider hasn’t yet gotten around to carrying out that order, they will—and from their perspective, the sooner the better.

What do you do now? There is one extremely simple and cost-effective solution: switch to digital cloud fax. Moving your company to the right, enterprise-caliber cloud faxing solution will mean:

  • Your IT team won’t have any onsite hardware to administer or troubleshoot.
  • Your staff will be able to send, receive, view, edit, and sign faxes digitally from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Your company will have an affordable, pay-as-you fax solution that you can scale up—or down—as much and as often as you need.
  • You’ll save time and money by eliminating the time-consuming manual steps of legacy faxing—and replacing them with a streamlined digital platform that integrates seamlessly with your other workflow apps.

And, perhaps most important for our current conversation:

  • You’ll move your faxing environment from dependence on the near-obsolete POTS to a future-proof cloud-based communications platform currently serving literally millions of businesses’ daily faxing needs.

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Why Digital Cloud Fax Technology Will Continue To Be Critical for the Healthcare Ecosystem as CMS Drives Towards Total Interoperability

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Top 5 Reasons Why Faxing is Important to Business

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

80s Technology: Key Innovations and Their Contemporary Replacements

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Schools & Faxing – 3 Things You Need to Know About Internet Faxing

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate’s Secure Cloud Fax Solution Ignites the Workpath Line of Hewlett Packard Multifunction Printers

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Now Available to Millions of Verizon Business Customers Across North America

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Brings Cloud Fax Technology to AWS Customers Worldwide

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Announces Strategic Partnership with Salesforce

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
February 21, 2024

Can You Fax With MagicJack? Understanding the Limitations

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

Virtual Panel on Healthcare Cybersecurity in the COVID Era: ‘The Devices Are Always Listening’

Virtual Panel on Healthcare Cybersecurity in the COVID Era: ‘The Devices Are Always Listening’

In a recent HITRUST virtual panel co-sponsored by eFax Corporate, “Effectively Managing Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in a Turbulent Healthcare Ecosystem,” HITRUST’s Michael Parisi shared an insightful anecdote.

A friend of Michael’s, working from home during the lockdown, had a phone call with a customer to discuss highly sensitive information—while his patio door was wide open. Afterward, the man’s wife came in from outside and told him she heard everything he’d said to the customer. Oh, and so did the couple’s next-door neighbor.

What makes Michael’s point relevant to this conversation about healthcare cybersecurity during COVID is that we’re all running our businesses and performing our jobs under new circumstances, which means we’re all facing new risks and threats.

Now, imagine that call was between a physician and a patient—and think of the neighbor as an Alexa or Siri in the doctor’s home, with a cybercriminal hacking the device to listen in for sensitive data. As Michael pointed out, “The devices are always listening.”


A panel with diverse healthcare-industry expertise

That was just one of many lockdown-era cybersecurity threats discussed by the expert panel, which included:

  • The legal perspective:
    Matthew Fisher, who heads the healthcare regulatory team for the New England law firm Mirick O’Connell
  • The third-party certification perspective:
    Michael Parisi, VP of Assurance Strategy and Community Development for HITRUST
  • The accreditation perspective:
    Lee Barrett, CEO of the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC)
  • The healthcare cloud-service provider perspective:
    Jeffrey Sullivan, CTO of eFax Corporate’s parent company j2 Cloud Services

COVID challenges for healthcare security professionals

Among the other quarantine-era risks the panel discussed included:

Too much change, too quickly.

Healthcare organizations have had to adjust so much of their operations to address work-from-home arrangements—policies, controls, assessments, tools, technologies—that many IT teams have had to shift their focus away from security, privacy, and regulatory compliance.

Newly generated data is attracting hackers.

With the medical industry working to develop both a COVID vaccine and new treatments, hackers see increased value in going after these companies’ networks and systems to steal this intellectual property. This is why cyberattacks against biopharma companies have skyrocketed since the early days of the pandemic.

Stressful times lead to poor cybersecurity judgment.

Many healthcare-industry professionals are working from home, often for the first time, while also dealing with the stress of the pandemic. These disruptions in our professional and personal lives can leave us more distracted and vulnerable to poor decisions—such as falling for phishing attacks.

EHNAC’s Lee Barrett cited one incredible example. The HHS issued a warning that hospitals’ security and privacy officers were receiving postcards, supposedly from the “Secretary of HIPAA Compliance,” asking them to visit a URL for a risk assessment. The problem: There is so such position as Secretary of HIPAA Compliance. This is a new phishing attack, designed to take advantage of everyone’s confusion during COVID. And many of these healthcare security professionals are falling for it.

Understandably, healthcare orgs’ priority is always on saving lives and is even more important now

Another challenge the panel discussed was that the healthcare industry has only finite resources and budget—and right now, the priority for these organizations is protecting people’s health during COVID. In other words, many organizations are having to weigh competing objectives and de-emphasize everything other than the challenges of treating COVID patients and saving lives. Unfortunately, “everything” can also include cybersecurity and data-privacy initiatives.


What healthcare IT teams should do now

The panelists offered a number of suggestions for health organizations to better protect their sensitive data. j2’s Jeffrey Sullivan, for example, suggested a couple of best practices for healthcare IT teams during what he described as our current “once-in-a-lifetime level of distraction.”

1. Make sure your automated solutions are in place

First, Jeffrey suggested, review your cybersecurity infrastructure across your newly distributed organization. Make sure all of the automated tools and processes are doing their jobs, meaning:

  • All of employees’ company-issued devices are encrypted
  • Your team has remote monitoring in place for these devices
  • You’ve implemented fraud protection, malware detection, and intrusion detection

2. Make sure your cloud service providers are prepared as well

Jeffrey also recommended contacting the third parties whose apps, platforms, and other cloud tools your employees use. Ask them what specific steps they’ve taken to protect their systems—and your company’s sensitive data—during this period of heightened risk from cybercriminals.

Lee Barrett of EHNAC—who called j2’s level of cybersecurity preparedness “a model for the industry”—offered another valuable recommendation:

3. Get a third-party risk assessment

Lee noted that the best way to make sure your organization is meeting all of its cybersecurity and regulatory standards is to have your infrastructure and processes audited and tested by a third-party expert.

Now more than ever, your internal IT security teams have too much on their plate to make sure you’re addressing—or even seeing—all of the new potential threats to your organization’s data security.

For HIPAA-compliant, HITRUST-certified, and COVID-secure cloud faxing, learn what eFax Corporate can do for your organization.

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 19, 2024

Virtual Webinar Explores HHS Proposed Changes to Modify HIPAA Privacy Rule

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Why On-Prem and Hybrid Faxing Can’t Compare to Faxing in the Cloud

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Why HITRUST CSF Certification Should Factor into Your Selection of a Cloud Fax Provider

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

POTS: The End of An Era and Start of New Beginnings

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Pandemic Exposes Healthcare’s Achilles’ Heel

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

New Healthcare Interoperability Solution Leverages Age-Old Technology

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Hey Smart Speaker, Are You HIPAA Compliant?

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Healthcare Interoperability Part 2: Information Blocking and Preparing for Broader Information Flow

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Healthcare Interoperability Part 1: Debating the Role of APIs, plus FHIR’s Semantic Problem

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

ePHI Data Leakage and the 8 Hiding Places You’ve Forgotten

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

Cloud Fax: How Healthcare Providers Can Take a Major Step Toward Interoperability Right Now

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

5 Ways Your Faxing Might Not Comply with Privacy Laws (and What to Do About it)

blog-post-image
Healthcare and Interoperability
March 13, 2024

5 Reasons Why eFax Corporate is a Game Changer Across All Industries: It’s Secure!

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

Top 5 Reasons Why Faxing is Important to Business

Top 5 Reasons Why Faxing is Important to Business

How the shift to cloud-based faxing is ensuring fax will stay around – for years to come

Have you sent a fax lately? A lot of us may answer no, or perhaps recommend just sending whatever document you have by email or from a multi-function printer as an email attachment. The blogosphere and pundits alike have declared the ‘death of fax’ for many years now. But, much to the contrary, faxing is not dead, and indeed, according to Davidson Consulting, faxing is much alive – and in fact growing. For example, Davidson reports that there are 100 billion faxes send worldwide every year and that the market for fax services is forecast to grow at a notable 15.2% compound annual growth rate through 2017. Not too shabby. 

But sending a fax – really? With so many alternatives available like cloud-based shared folders, FTP, and even Internet of Things (IoT) ‘wearable’ technologies, why are we still using fax, and why is it still alive? Well, if you’ve had to refinance your house, provide a ‘wet ink’ signature on a legal document on behalf of an enterprise or small business – you know the ‘why’. However, there are some other very pertinent reasons why fax isn’t going away anytime soon that your business or enterprise should be aware of. 


Here’s five reasons why faxing is still very much alive and will continue to be a mission critical mode of document conveyance for consumers and businesses worldwide.

1.  Technology. The wave of cloud services and other public cloud offerings has driven a big shift from the way businesses and consumers consume and share information. The evolution to cloud-based services has enabled an ‘anywhere, anytime’ usage model where music, documents and data sharing can be done via any internet connected device. Cloud faxing is no exception. With email-based faxing over cloud networks, for example, electronic faxing is as easy as sending an email – from any connected internet device or multi-function device/printer

2.  Global Reach. While new cloud technologies continue to evolve, faxing is still recognized as a central means of business communications worldwide since no single technology has superseded faxing. In fact, many businesses are adapting a cloud-based fax model that simplifies their existing workflows with email-based faxing with the added benefit of eliminating the need to maintaining fax servers, telco lines, maintenance agreements, etc.  

3.  Audit and Delivery Confirmation. If your business is in a highly regulated sector like healthcarefinance or legal, you may very well be aware of the implications of compliance issues such as HIPAA, HITECH, SSAE 16, Sarbanes-Oxley or Graham-Leach-Bliley to name a few. Unlike email or mobile text messaging, with electronic faxing, the receiving fax must acknowledge that the document was received successfully. This notification is proof that your document was delivered successfully. This transactional audit trail data is a critical component to an overall compliance strategy. 

4.  Secure. Modern cloud-based fax providers can provide the most secure fax transmissions by enabling TLS encryption (Transport Layer Security) protocol, delivering enhanced security for peace of mind that your documents are protected by NIST-standard level encryption. As an added measure of security, the documents themselves can be stored with Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit encryption while at rest on cloud networks. A nice advantage over basic email. 

5.  Ubiquity. Because electronic faxing has established a foothold worldwide with a universally accepted protocol, fax technology (cloud or physical fax machines) is ubiquitous and is deeply integrated into business processes, such as transferring medical records or financial information. Cloud faxing has adapted with the technology to integrate into core businesses systems such as Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems using flexible Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Businesses also receive the added benefit of eliminating the maintenance and overhead of on-premise fax servers and systems. 

As Mark Twain once said after his death was erroneously reported in the New York Times “…the report of my death has been grossly exaggerated.” The same is true with fax. Fax isn’t dead – it’s just evolving with the times.  

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Why Digital Cloud Fax Technology Will Continue To Be Critical for the Healthcare Ecosystem as CMS Drives Towards Total Interoperability

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Why Ditching Your Legacy Fax Hardware Just Became an Immediate Priority

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

80s Technology: Key Innovations and Their Contemporary Replacements

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Schools & Faxing – 3 Things You Need to Know About Internet Faxing

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate’s Secure Cloud Fax Solution Ignites the Workpath Line of Hewlett Packard Multifunction Printers

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Now Available to Millions of Verizon Business Customers Across North America

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Brings Cloud Fax Technology to AWS Customers Worldwide

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Announces Strategic Partnership with Salesforce

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
February 21, 2024

Can You Fax With MagicJack? Understanding the Limitations

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

80s Technology: Key Innovations and Their Contemporary Replacements

80s Technology: Key Innovations and Their Contemporary Replacements

The 80s was a remarkable decade marked by Ronald Reagan’s presidency, big hair, and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” However, it was also the era that saw the birth of much of the technology we enjoy today, including personal computers and cellphones. In this article, we’ll take a trip down memory lane as we delve into the top tech of the decade and their modern-day counterparts.

Fax Machines

There used to be a time when you couldn’t visit a home or office without seeing a fax machine. Though a great option for transmitting documents, they weren’t all that convenient. Faxing could be slow or incomplete, and fax pages could print out blurry, out of order or not at all.

Many industries still rely on the fax today, and bulky fax machines are being kicked to the curb in favor of internet faxingSending a fax online eliminates the troubles of a 1980s fax machine, and it can be done with any computer, tablet or smartphone.


Answering Machines​

Back in the 1980s, an answering machine was your only hope if you weren’t around to catch a call. Sure, it might eat your messages or fail to pick up calls, but at least you took comfort in thinking it had you covered.

Nowadays, voicemail is built right into smartphones and office phones, making it easier for you to retrieve and keep track of messages, from wherever you may be. And virtual answering services take things yet a step further, with features like voicemail transcription.


Floppy Disks

Before there was “the cloud,” there was the floppy disk – a storage medium used to hold a limited amount of data (a mere 110 KB for the 5-1/4 inch disk, and 1.4 MB for the 3.5-inch version). While convenient for transferring computer files, the biggest downside to the floppy disk was that it wasn’t always easy to determine which version was compatible with your PC. Plus, the initial formatting process could take hours to complete.

Today, cloud sharing lets you electronically share, transfer, and co-author computer files using any internet-enabled device. Cloud storage also allows you to back up and share as much data as you’d like – a huge advantage over the disks of the ‘80s.


Pagers

Commonly referred to as “beepers,” pagers were the mobile devices of their time. These little gadgets clipped onto your belt and displayed a caller’s number across the screen when you were being “beeped” …and that’s about it. It was then up to you to find a pay phone in order to call back.

Mobile phones have of course replaced this tech in the modern day, so you can receive calls, texts, emails and other notifications right in your pocket. The only beeping going on is your phone letting you know about one of these messages.


Cassette Tapes

It used to be that if you wanted to listen to your favorite band, you had to have a physical copy of their music – like on a cassette tape. And since cassettes were double-sided, you also had to flip the tape over when one side finished playing.

Today, on-demand music streaming services have all but replaced cassette tapes (and physical copies of music altogether). Now, you can stream music on your cellphone, tablet or computer, preselecting songs for instant playback or repeating your favorite tracks ad nauseam. And who wouldn’t want to access virtually any song at the press of a button?


Polaroid Cameras

Polaroid pictures were the only real option for instantly viewing your photos in the ‘80s. Yeah, you may not have enjoyed carrying around a clunky Polaroid camera, and sure, you may not have liked the size and shape of the photos, but it was neat!

The popularity of the Instagram app today has done more than just replace the Polaroid – it has driven new interest in this vintage technology. If you want to go old school, instantly printed photos are still an option, but for the rest of us, snapping a selfie with Instagram and just as quickly posting it online will give us the same instant gratification.


VHS/VCR

Remember renting a VHS tape from Blockbuster? It was one of the best ways to watch a newly-released movie at home in the 1980s. The VHS player/VCR was a staple in most households, and it allowed for recording TV shows onto tapes to watch later, too. How convenient!

Much like music, movies and TV have now gone digital, so they can be watched on-demand online. Streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu have sent VHS/VCR down the path of the Dodo.


Cellular Phone

A piece of ‘80s tech that only few could afford at the time, the cellphone takes the cake. Like most technologies, it started out big and awkward before being streamlined into the powerhouse it is today.

Every one of the tech items listed here can now be found on a smartphone (either built in or as an app). In fact, you could argue the cellphone is the single most important innovative technology of the last century. Just try going a day without one, and see for yourself.

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Why Digital Cloud Fax Technology Will Continue To Be Critical for the Healthcare Ecosystem as CMS Drives Towards Total Interoperability

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Why Ditching Your Legacy Fax Hardware Just Became an Immediate Priority

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Top 5 Reasons Why Faxing is Important to Business

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Schools & Faxing – 3 Things You Need to Know About Internet Faxing

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate’s Secure Cloud Fax Solution Ignites the Workpath Line of Hewlett Packard Multifunction Printers

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Now Available to Millions of Verizon Business Customers Across North America

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Brings Cloud Fax Technology to AWS Customers Worldwide

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Announces Strategic Partnership with Salesforce

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
February 21, 2024

Can You Fax With MagicJack? Understanding the Limitations

arrow-icon
arrow-icon

eFax Blog

Schools & Faxing – 3 Things You Need to Know About Internet Faxing

Schools & Faxing – 3 Things You Need to Know About Internet Faxing

3 Things You Need to Know

It’s an oddity of our modern era. In many ways, your educational institution is probably running cutting-edge systems for most of normal operations — fully digitized student records, online platforms for students to access coursework, and WiFi throughout the campus allowing to students to connect and work (or play). These are tools that less than a generation ago would have sounded like science fiction.

And yet, if your school is like most, chances are that in the very same administrative offices across your campus where your employees are running sophisticated digital admin platforms and connecting to the Internet at blazing-fast speeds, they’re also transmitting key documents every day using a technology invented more than 150 years ago.

(For an abbreviated history lesson on the commercial fax machine — starting in 1985, not in 1843 when the technology was actually invented — eFax Corporate has prepared a fun “Fax to the Future infographic for you.)

Of course, your industry is not alone. Education is only one of many industries that still, well into the second decade of the twenty-first century, operate traditional fax machines right alongside their enterprise-caliber computers, tablets and high-end servers. Healthcare, finance, legal, real estate, consulting, transportation and a host of other industries still do a lot of their communicating and document transmission via old-fashioned, analog faxing.

What Educational Institutions Need to Know About Their Fax Infrastructure

One of the things that sets your institution apart, though, is that as educators you have some unique responsibilities and constraints in terms of how, where and with whom you share many of the most common types of data you transmit — such as students’ education and medical records, disclosure forms and financial information.

And although faxing continues to dominate across schools as the primary transmission technology for many of these documents, it does have some potential drawbacks for educational institutions.

Here are three questions to ask about your fax process to determine if it’s still the right protocol for your sensitive student data and already-busy administrative staff.

1. Is your current fax process secure?

One of the primary problems with traditional desktop fax machines in an institution such as a school (as with a medical office or a law firm) is that incoming paper faxes simply print out on the fax’s tray — where anyone walking by can see them or even grab them by mistake. This is obviously a problem when such faxes contain a student’s family financial background, transcripts, medical records or other sensitive personal information.

Similarly, an outbound fax is also at risk of being viewed or taken by unauthorized personnel if the sender in your administrative offices leaves the fax machine after dialing the number. Even if that fax is transmitted successfully to its recipient, the printed copy of the outbound document can sit unattended on your office’s fax machine indefinitely.

This of course raises all sorts of questions about student privacy and the security of their data. You certainly put more security controls on the student data you are protecting in your databases, and you probably have guidelines instructing your staff, for example, not to leave digital copies of student records lying around the office on an unencrypted flash drive.

2. Is your current fax process FERPA compliant?

Another reason educational institutions like yours are advised to take a thorough, critical look at their faxing infrastructure is that schools are legally obligated to take specific steps regarding how they protect student data — under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA.

Although the law went into effect more than 40 years ago, FERPA has undergone many changes and additions to reflect the significant new technologies that have entered widespread use since its passage in 1974. That makes sense, when you consider that email, the Internet, text messaging and many other forms of communicating and sharing information hadn’t hit the scene until decades after FERPA’s passage. Ironically in fact, one of the few protocols that hasn’t changed much since FERPA was written is the analog fax machine!

What all of this means for you and your organization is that you need to be sure that the way you are transmitting student information by fax complies with the complicated language of FERPA — including the new guidance on the law just released in 2014.

The key question you need answered, then, is whether your educational institution’s paper-based faxing processes meet the rules and guidelines covered under FERPA for safeguarding your students’ data privacy and security.

3. Is your current fax process the most efficient, productive way to fax?

Let’s say that your existing fax infrastructure does meet your institution’s threshold for both student data security and regulatory compliance when it comes to transmitting your students’ personally identifiable information. (Although if you’re using desktop fax machines, we’ll make an, ahem, educated guess that you’ve still got work to do both in terms of security and compliance.)

What about staff productivity? What about cost-effectiveness? Does your legacy, paper-based fax infrastructure represent the best solution for your institution now or going forward?

Again, we’ll assert no.

That’s because traditional analog faxing has many cost and productivity drawbacks for any organization — and schools are no exception.

education keyboard

The productivity downside to traditional faxing.

Let’s start with the productivity problems inherent in a legacy faxing system. With your desktop fax infrastructure, your staff cannot send or receive important, time-sensitive faxes on the go. Unlike the email or online file sharing they probably do on a regular basis, your employees can fax only if they’re physically in front of one of your school’s fax machines.

What’s more, sending documents by fax often means several time-consuming steps rarely necessary anymore in much of the rest of your staff’s daily workflows — printing or copying documents, standing at a fax machine, filing the paper copies (securely, of course) after sending, redialing busy fax numbers, waiting for the delivery confirmation, and sometimes waiting in line for access to the fax machine.

And finally, when it comes to distributed and decentralized fax machines spread across your campus, there’s the question of usage monitoring, record-keeping and detailed audit trails. With a series of standalone machines, each with its own dedicated fax phone line, your IT team will have real difficulty in keeping track of your school’s overall fax usage, and you’ll have no way of digitally tracking and storing records of all inbound and outbound faxes. This could prove problematic in the event your institution needs those comprehensive records for audit or regulatory reasons.

The cost downside of traditional faxing.

Desktop fax machines are also expensive, requiring paper, ink, maintenance, repairs and upgrades — not to mention the high monthly costs of maintaining dedicated analog phone lines to power their fax transmissions.

Cloud Faxing: The Smart Solution for Educational Institutions

There is a single solution that can address all of these issues with your legacy fax system — its inherent gaps in student data security, its potential areas of noncompliance with FERPA’s strict guidelines, and the productivity and cost-effectiveness drawbacks of paper-based faxing. That solution is online cloud faxing.

Cloud faxing is a solution proven to improve the faxing process for business and other organizations — including schools and universities — by enabling employees to send and receive faxes securely by email online from any desktop, tablet or smartphone.

Internet faxing eliminates the need for organizations to maintain, troubleshoot and upgrade their legacy fax hardware, while also allowing them to stop paying high monthly costs for their dedicated fax phone lines.

At the same time, online faxing greatly enhances the security and privacy of fax documents, by transmitting those documents with advanced encryption, via email, and forwarding them directly and only to the authorized recipient’s email inbox — as opposed to simply leaving them sitting on an office fax machine.

Cloud faxing also enables organizations’ IT departments and other designated administrators to easily track, monitor and manage all fax usage organization-wide — ideal for record keeping and staying on the right side of regulators.  

For Cloud Faxing, You Can Trust Industry Leader eFax Corporate

When it comes to entrusting your students’ personally identifiable information and other sensitive school data to a cloud fax solution, you should trust only the world leader. For 20 years, that has been the same provider — eFax Corporate.

Trusted by more heavily regulated organizations than any other cloud fax provider, eFax Corporate is also the choice for most of the Fortune 500 and thousands of other midsized to large businesses.

Our cloud fax services can help your educational institution tighten up your fax security, meet FERPA compliance requirements, and improve your overall fax productivity.

Learn more about how eFax Corporate can help your school.

Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Related Articles

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Why Digital Cloud Fax Technology Will Continue To Be Critical for the Healthcare Ecosystem as CMS Drives Towards Total Interoperability

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Why Ditching Your Legacy Fax Hardware Just Became an Immediate Priority

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

Top 5 Reasons Why Faxing is Important to Business

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

80s Technology: Key Innovations and Their Contemporary Replacements

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate’s Secure Cloud Fax Solution Ignites the Workpath Line of Hewlett Packard Multifunction Printers

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Now Available to Millions of Verizon Business Customers Across North America

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Brings Cloud Fax Technology to AWS Customers Worldwide

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
March 13, 2024

eFax Corporate Announces Strategic Partnership with Salesforce

blog-post-image
History and Miscellaneous
February 21, 2024

Can You Fax With MagicJack? Understanding the Limitations

arrow-icon
arrow-icon