Secure Cloud Fax vs. Email and Fax-to-Email Services
Many people now believe that the birth of email caused the death of fax. This is far from the truth. In fact the use of fax services continues to grow more than 12% every year as fax still has some distinct advantages over email. Security, cost reduction and the fact that it is more eco-friendly and practical, as it can be used from multiple locations including mobile devices, are just some of the reasons why it is better.
Some people may ask what is the difference between secure cloud-based fax and email and why would someone choose to fax a document when email appears to be a similar and equally capable option? But this is because many people do not realize that email is insecure.
A lot of online fax services today are email-to-fax services and these harbor the same problems as simple email. When using a fax via email service, the content of the email and any attached documents are read and stored multiple times en route. They are viewed by ISPs, servers, firewalls, virus checkers and unscrupulous ‘bots’ that harvest email data and the content within attachments.
Also email attachments can harbor viruses. When sending an email with a document attached it could have a virus that can then spread to the recipients network.
However, this is not the case when sending and receiving faxes using a secure cloud-based fax service. This is because like manual faxing, cloud fax uses standard PSTN-based fax transmissions for the sending of data, which is inherently secure, because in order to hack into a PSTN line physical access to the line or switching equipment is required. When a fax is transmitted via one of these services it is disassembled and converted into base64 binary, and then reassembled at the other end either within a fax machine or an electronic fax service that decodes the binary image files. Therefore, if a hacker were even able to intercept the faxes, it would appear as nothing but noise and could not easily be read or interpreted.
The best cloud fax services also have enhanced security measures compared to ‘regular’ fax services. These include superior physical safeguards, people and policies; and data encryption.
Another common problem with emails is that they can get blocked and redirected and therefore sometimes do not even reach the recipient. Due to the risk of spreading viruses with emails, some businesses and email services have systems in place that redirect emails that are deemed as ‘junk’ to a junk/spam folder. There can also be problems sending large files via email and they can be blocked if the attachment is too big.
One further reason why secure cloud fax services are superior is the enhanced audit trail. When you send documents via email or an email-to-fax service, you have little visibility as to what happens after you click the ‘send’ button. With a cloud fax services you can visibly see your fax documents being transmitted in real-time from the ‘outbox’. And if for some reason they ‘fail’ like because it is a bad fax number, you will know real-time. Gone are the days of click send and hope it arrives - which is especially important for sensitive documents and data. All this information is tracked in notes in an activity stream for the audit trail of that document.
These are just a few of the reasons why secure cloud faxing is the best way to send and receive sensitive documents and why it is superior to both email and fax via email services. If you need to send and receive sensitive documents regularly you should consider secure cloud fax, as usability, efficiency and security are only some of its great features.