Is a Fax Secure?

With all of the technology available to use today, there is one piece of office equipment still in use in most offices – the fax machine. Fax machines rose in popularity in the 1980s and quickly became a gold standard for the electronic transmission of documents. Because faxes traveled over physical phone lines via a dedicated connection, the legal and medical fields adopted the use of faxes as a means of sharing legal and binding versions of original documents – something they still do today.


But is a FAX secure?

Even though the legal and medical fields still rely heavily on transferring documents and medical records via fax, the honest answer is, no. Frankly, I’m surprised that the medical field still uses faxing as a means of transmitting confidential documents, given the stringent rules set forth by HIPAA. Too many variables exist to assure the complete security of information relayed via fax.

The primary problem that exists for fax security is the very thing that makes it so popular with many businesses – the physicality of faxes. When you send or receive a fax, there is no way of really knowing how long it will sit or who will be able to see it before it gets to the intended recipient. What if the fax is delivered to the wrong person, or to the wrong number?

What about online faxes?

As with everything else in today’s technology-driven business world, some fax traffic has migrated online. Online fax services can take any document that can be attached to an email and send it to an analog fax, as well as accept a document from an analog fax and convert it to an email attachment. You might be eliminating (hopefully) the issues of physical security noted above, but you’ve switched one insecure method for another. We’ve already established that email is not a secure method for transmitting sensitive information; email messages can be intercepted and redirected.

So What’s the Answer?

Sometimes you have to send or receive documents. It’s part of business. Short of hand-delivering them or using certified mail, how do you transfer documents from one place to another, quickly?

Secure file sharing services can help eliminate the uncertainty and lack of security inherent to fax transmissions. Services like this encrypt data on your computer, in transit, and in session. They maintain a backup of files for disaster recovery purposes. And your files are accessible whether you’re in the office or working remotely, so you don’t have to worry about not having something you need while you’re working.

Fax machines have had their day in the sun – now it’s time to move on to a more efficient and secure method of sharing documents. While nothing is 100% secure, file sharing services have distinct advantages over faxes and email, and can help your business to be more productive. If you’re still using a physical fax machine or an online fax service, I encourage you to check into file sharing – or contact us here at Lieberman Technologies to discuss it a little more in depth.