Today, we have more faxing options than ever before. Instead of relying on a physical machine attached to landlines, people can fax directly from their computers or smartphones. Easy-to-use fax apps are also available to provide anytime, anywhere convenience. Best of all, these new options provide the same security and reliability as traditional fax machines. That means you get portability and proven security with a single faxing solution.
Is Fax Secure?
One question people often ask: is faxing personal information safe?
Security is one of the main reasons why faxing is still regarded as an important form of business communication. Fax machines communicate via telephone lines—not the internet. This makes it difficult for unauthorized third parties to access your private documents.
Of course, as a further precaution after sending or receiving any hard copy documents, users should quickly archive or destroy them in order to prevent any unauthorized access to sensitive information. This is especially true if the document is shared using public facilities and devices (i.e., a fax machine at a library or office services store).
Why Should I Fax When I Can Just Attach the Documents to an Email and Hit Send?
You could, but we wouldn’t recommend it, for several reasons.
Email is not encrypted. Even if your account isn’t hacked, your emails and attachments could still be intercepted. For example, while Google has strong security features built into Gmail, the actual content, including messages and attachments, of the emails you send aren’t encrypted and are vulnerable to exposure. For additional protection, you would need to incorporate a third-party solution that provides client-side encryption.
People have become more cautious about email. Email has become of the largest attack vectors, as email malware attacks were up 600% compared to 2019, according to security publication CSO. As such, both personal and business users are relying less and less on email, especially when working with sensitive documents. If you send important documents via email, from an email address they do not recognize to your recipients, they might mark it as spam or simply delete it. That can lead to miscommunications and missed opportunities.
Large files in transit. Further, documents might be quite large, take a bit longer to transmit and take up space in both your and your recipient’s inbox as well. In fact, the send might fail, due to the document’s large size.
Greater organization and efficiency. Individuals and companies can find greater efficiency by sending and receiving important documents via fax, whether online or off. Documents are kept separate from email and cloud-based document sharing platforms (i.e., Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive) and can be accessed faster and more easily because they are kept in one application.
No delivery confirmation. Unfortunately, there is also no delivery confirmation with email, so you may not know for sure whether or not your document ever found its way to its intended location. If you want to know whether the email was opened or not, as with encryption, you would need to incorporate a third-party solution into your email program in order to verify that your sender opened it.
How Secure are Online Fax Services?
Who Uses Fax Machines or Fax Services Nowadays?
In many industries, including medical and legal, a faxed document is considered legally valid and binding.
Some lawyers prefer dealing with faxes in order to create a paper trail for cases rather than digging through emails and attachments. Fax communication is instantaneous and serves as a time-stamped piece of evidence in court.
In health care, the mandates of the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA) govern the sharing of sensitive patient data. This is why cloud-based, document hosting and sharing services must demonstrate their adherence to HIPAA in order for their customers—caregivers, hospital administrators and patients—to use their services.
eFax Features & Benefits
Toll-Free & Local Fax Numbers
With toll-free and local fax numbers, businesses can increase their national and local presence. This helps businesses establish credibility and reach new groups of customers.
For example, new customers may be reluctant to send important documents to a phone number with an area code that they do not recognize. However, if you have a fax number with an area code local to that new customer group, you can reduce some uncertainty and anxiety.
This electronic signature feature also removes the need to incorporate a third-party service to electronically sign important documents. This saves on the hassle of launching a third-party program and reduces cost, as electronic document signing services are for the most part not free.
Not needing to download then upload removes steps in the workflow and actually improves security. Another copy of the document in your hard drive serves to increase the attack surface
Better than a Physical Fax Machine
You also don’t have to worry about having extra space—a desk, tabletop, or area where the fax machine would sit. Simply log into your eFax account, send a fax and get notified in real-time when your fax is delivered.
3 Ways to Fax
Are Faxes Secure?
Can't I Just Send Documents via Email?
You could, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Email addresses, especially if used for multiple online services and social media networks, can easily be compromised, allowing access to your account along with any messages and documents. Further, documents might be quite large, take a bit longer to transmit, and take up space in your recipient’s inbox as well. Finally, there is also no delivery confirmation with email, so you may not know for sure whether or not your document ever made it to its intended location.
How Secure Is Online Faxing?
Online faxing with a platform like eFax is safe. While an Internet connection can be hacked, online fax services like eFax encrypt documents so that they are kept secure and private in transit. Additional access controls, such as two-factor authentication, ensure that access is restricted to only authorized users in order to prevent misuse or compromise.
Is Faxing Personal Information Safe?
Yes, faxing personal information is safe. As cited above, encryption and two-factor authentication are strong security measures to ensure safety, but users should always take precautions to prevent unauthorized access to documents and sensitive information.