Fax as a means of communicating has been around for decades with a lot businesses still relying on it to carry out their day to day work, for example:
What’s the common thread that imbues all of these industries? The need to share private client information safely and securely, that’s what.
So what’s the issue with sending information by regular email?
Well, email simply isn’t secure, not to mention it’s not a legally binding way to share a document, nor is it HIPAA compliant.
Let’s unpick these for a minute.
1. Email isn’t secure, fax is.
While most businesses run their daily operations via email, they just aren’t the secure option to share incredibly sensitive material such as protected health information (PHI). Email is too vulnerable to hacking.
You only have to look at any newspaper to see the extent of email hacking. From stealing passwords to spreading malware through trojan emails, email is too easy to gain unlawful access and get hold of confidential information.
When you send an email, it has to pass through so many different destinations before it reaches its end point – firewalls, ISPs, virus checkers; everything that is contained in the email is stored, copied, saved, even forwarded, many times over. Meaning that any email can easily be compromised and the sensitive information contained therein, read by anyone.
2. Email isn’t a legally binding way to transfer information.
For a document to be viewed as legally binding, in the eyes of the law, you have to be able to prove its authenticity, and you can’t do that with email, as shown above. It just isn’t secure enough – it’s too open to hacking, to interception, to manipulation and other fraudulent activity.
3. Email isn’t HIPAA compliant.
Since 1996, when HIPAA was introduced, the increasing focus on our private health data, how it’s used, how it’s shared, who has access, has all come to light, meaning regulations around data and how it’s transferred are heavily scrutinized.
Companies can’t afford to allow breaches of data to happen under their watch. They have to be HIPAA compliant and email isn’t.
How is virtual fax different to encrypted email?
So if regular email isn’t secure, isn’t legally binding and isn’t HIPAA compliant, why don’t users just use encrypted email instead of fax?
• When you send an encrypted email, the thing is, only the message you send is encrypted, not the subject line nor the email address of the recipient. Meaning you can easily give away sensitive information without meaning to, despite the rest of the message being secure.
• When you send an encrypted email, the faff involved with ensuring every recipient has the same software to decrypt the message, not to mention the special key needed to read the message, is monumental. Plus, when you store the message, it no longer remains encrypted.
• You have to pay for each user to have an email account each month. It isn’t a cost effective solution.
So what makes virtual faxing the answer?
Quite simply, certain industries, medical, legal and financial, for example, need more highly secure ways of sharing information than encrypted email can offer.
The advantages of virtual faxing
• Virtual faxing, through iFax app, for example, is encrypted end to end, meaning that as soon as you press send, your fax and all the information contained in it, can be shared safely and securely, with only the recipient and sender having access to it.
• Your faxes can not get blocked, can’t get loaded with spam, and can’t be used to transport viruses to the end destination, because they can’t be hijacked. All of the data contained in a virtual fax remains private.
• Virtual faxing is also incredibly simple to use. It doesn’t require you to purchase additional software, upgrades or constant updates to use it. You download the app or set up the system on your mobile device or desktop, and you’re good to fax and go.
• In fact, you’re good to fax from anywhere in the world. When you choose virtual faxing, you can save yourself a lot of time and increase your productivity by being able to send faxes and manage your faxes from wherever you want. No more being beholden to the physical fax machine, no more fighting paper jams, no more wondering if the whole message has been delivered, no more lost faxes, no more wasted hours feeding reams of paper into an actual fax machine.
• And when you’re done faxing, you can safely and securely archive your faxes for ease of purpose in the future. Each virtual fax has an accurate time and date stamp making it easy to file and locate each fax again at a later date.
• Finally, with virtual faxing, because it is more secure than email, you just snap and send, you don’t have to worry about the fax going to the wrong place, nor do you have to worry about it sitting out in the open in the print out tray for anyone to see the page. Only people with authorization to access the sent faxes can see them.
In a nutshell – virtual faxing offers traceability, encryption and security; does your regular email offer that?