Many offices still rely on faxing with some frequency. The practice is still commonplace among healthcare, government, banking, non-profit, real estate, and academic organizations – to name but a few.
Believe it or not, fax usage is growing according to IDC reports.
So what is it about the fax that has given this communication method such “legs?”
Is it the security of faxing? How secure are fax transmissions anyway?
There are protections for computers and scans, but let’s figure out whether the documents you send over your fax are just as safe.
Security of the Fax
Fax machines gained popularity in the 1990s and while they may seem older now, they’re still used heavily in the legal and medical fields to transfer all sorts of documents.
This may seem surprising, considering the important records that are transmitted. However, the security of the fax machine is one of the main reasons why they’re still so popular.
Problems with Email
Emails are quick and easy, but the problem with an email is that you never have any confirmation of the process. You click send and it goes into cyberspace. The only indication you have that someone has received your email is if you get a reply.
On top of that, email gets sent through virus checkers, firewalls and data harvesting bots. This provides ample opportunity for the email to become compromised.
Hacking a Fax
To put it simply, you can’t hack a fax like you can hack an email. The fax transmits your messages over the phone, which is inherently secure. Upon transmission, the document is converted, sent and reassembled.
In order to hack a system like this, a person would need manual access to a telephone line. Even if someone did find your file, they would only find noise they couldn’t read.
Faxes cannot be hacked very efficiently, but there are other reasons why the fax machine remains secure. Unlike emails, faxes cannot have attachment viruses. Even if they’re slower than emails, email attachments can destroy your software and spread infections across the network.
It’s unlikely you’ll be concerned about an attachment before you open it since they’re so common, leading to problems later. You may want to spend a few extra minutes using the fax to save you the trouble.
Email often feels very secure, perhaps more than the fax at times. This is because you won’t have to deal with papers spread all over the place. However, the fax machine is inherently private.
The only people who will see those papers are the people at your office. Emails need encryption to remain safe, while the fax is already encrypted. So, you are able to rest assured that any private documents remain private.
One of the most annoying problems with emails is when documents are put in the spam folder for no other reason than because they’re named poorly or are too large. You might end up waiting for a document that never comes, all because it’s been sifted out by the system.
This can slow down business and lead to some missed opportunities. With the fax machine, your documents won’t be identified as junk by the network. If any file has been corrupted, the machine won’t print them for you.
The only problems the fax machine has with security is that you might end up sending your document to the wrong person by mistake. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re sending business-related documents, but it can be annoying.
You might also dislike all the documents sent to you via fax and find them hard to organize.
While the fax machine might seem to be antiquated and old school, the fact remains that this machine is one of the most secure methods offices have for sending documents back and forth. They can’t be hacked and don’t have issues with viruses like emails do.
If you’re seeking to send something that’s sensitive, rest assured that your fax machine can get it there safely. Just be sure to keep your eyes on the documents that are sent to you. Moreover, always make sure that you’re sending the document to the right person.