Initially, faxes had an inherent, localized, security issue; they just collected in the receiving tray of a fax machine in the copier room until someone came by searching for a particular document. The process was to go through every fax in the pile to find yours. In the meantime, you could read everyone else’s faxes. People would even steal them and no one would know. There was no record of what faxes came through the machine. The log sheet would show what fax number sent it, bit no information about the content.
In real estate offices everything from sales leads to personal financial information was just laying there for anyone to grab. Definitely a security issue. It’s well known that some Realtors would ‘steal’ leads belonging to others in their office. They called it 'fax farming'; Get to the office first thing in the morning and go through all the faxes that arrived overnight. In a real estate office that is usually a lot.
Then, technology happened. Faxes could be scanned through a fax server and converted to a PDF file. Then, that file could be e-mailed direct to your inbox. You would now have the same security as your e-mail account in general.
That’s the current state of the art for faxing services. They’re still just low-resolution scans, but more secure when they can be delivered as a PDF to your e-mail. Unless your e-mail gets hacked….
Not much, other than their online interface and payment portals. And, of course, their pricing models, which can range from $10- to $35- a month. However, the basic technology is the same from everyone.
Some fax providers offer online storage of all your faxes. Other companies would debate that. You don’t need copies of your company correspondence stored on some other server that you have no control over. Companies like FAXtopia delete all your faxes from our servers after they are successfully delivered. That is truly a secure fax service. There is nothing to be compromised. You won’t get an email blast that says their servers were hacked and all your faxes have been exposed.
Once the fax is in your mail service providers system, that’s where your overall IT security and virus protection programs take over. That you can control.
That involves setting up an account where need to you log into a portal every time you receive a fax. Enter a user name, password, click a few times, etc.
However, after all that, the fax can simply be downloaded to your local computer / network. So, the faxes are still potentially susceptible to getting compromised on your system. But the actual transmission of the fax is secure, unless someone gets your password.
The best security practice for faxing should include deleting faxes from your mail system after you have downloaded them to your local computer. Keep your files on one system with good security and back up practices. Don’t leave your files on a vendor’s system that you have no control over.
Check out FAXtopia's secure fax services here.