Faxing sounds to many people like an old-fashioned communication method that shouldn’t be used in today’s modern, high-tech world. After all, with the technological innovations that have occurred in the past few decades, there must be more secure ways to send personal information, right? Actually, people are often surprised to learn that faxing remains one of the safest methods for transmitting sensitive data.
Industries That Still Rely on Faxing
For most people, being convinced that faxing personal information online is the way to go when it comes to secure information transmission takes little more than a look at the industries that use it as a standard for communication. The medical profession is the most prominent example. Hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities across the world trust analog and online faxing over email, texting, and other more modern communication techniques.
When individual people need to make sure their information is kept safe, they can and should follow suit. Just be sure to use an online faxing service that maintains the highest possible standards for data security and uses end-to-end encryption.
The Potential for Human Error
In the healthcare sector and other industries that are under strict regulation, employees are required to receive training on how to handle information safely. The average American doesn’t have the benefit of professional training from a HIPAA safety officer, but they’re still responsible for ensuring data safety.
The problem is that while online faxing is quite secure, there is still room on either end of the transmission for human error. Beyond utilizing a proven secure faxing service, people should also take these steps to avoid trouble:
- Make sure the company or individual receiving the fax is trustworthy and will dispose of it properly.
- Only send extremely sensitive personal information after verifying that the fax number provided corresponds to that of the intended recipient.
- Include a cover sheet when faxing any kind of confidential information, even to and from secure environments.
- Be specific about how the person or organization receiving the data is allowed to use it.
There’s no way to control 100% of the circumstances surrounding online fax receipt, but taking these basic steps can help to reduce the chances of confidential information being intercepted by an unauthorized party. Eliminating fax machines entirely on the receiving end by using secure fax-to-email services can help.
What to Look For in a Faxing Service
While online faxing services can be incredibly secure, not all of them are. People who are sending sensitive information need to vet these services carefully. The best way to tell if a company is taking adequate precautions to protect its clients’ data is to see if it works with businesses in the medical, financial, or legal sectors. If so, it’s all but guaranteed that there are safeguards in place to protect the data both while it’s in transmission and at rest. Those safeguards should include:
- End-to-end encryption
- Secure cloud storage
- Audit trails
- Two-factor user authentication
- Access controls
These and other features help to keep information safe from hackers as it’s being transmitted. The only way to make sure it will be safe when it arrives at its final destination is to double-check the fax number and make sure the person receiving it is trustworthy.
Trust the Pros to Keep Private Information Safe
Individuals sending sensitive information online need to be just as cautious as businesses and other organizations that handle confidential data, if not more so. The good news is that it’s easy to vet online fax services.