When it comes to faxing there are many different options available, all offering slightly different services with different levels of security. These options include manual fax using a fax machine, and Internet-based solutions such as fax-to-email and secure cloud-based fax.
Manual faxing involves a paper document being scanned using a manual fax machine, where the contents is processed into a bitmap and then transmitted through the telephone system. Then the fax machine at the other end, which is located by dialing the correct fax number, then reconverts the image being sent and prints it out onto paper so it can be read by the recipient.
However, there are now many internet-based solutions to rival this now rather out-of-date system. The Internet-based solutions mean that a separate fax machine and telephone line are no longer required as documents can be sent and received via computers or even via mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.
There are different online services available that work in different ways and provide different levels of security, which means that the type of documents you are wishing to send and receive should determine which service you go for.
Fax-to-email services, like simple email services, can harbor several problems and are inherently insecure. These services allow the contents of the email and any attached documents to be read en route and it is also stored multiple times during its journey.
The email contents and attachments are viewed by ISPs, servers, firewalls, virus checkers and unscrupulous ‘bots’ that harvest email data and the contents within any attachments. Additionally
email attachments can contain viruses.
But when using a secure cloud-based fax service these problems are no longer possible as they use Secure Socket layer (SSL) protocols and encrypted fax transmissions for the sending of data. Fax transmissions themselves are inherently secure, because they cannot be hacked without physical access to the line or switching equipment which is extremely difficult.
When a fax is sent by a secure cloud-based fax service the contents is disassembled and encrypted as base64 binary, and then the binary image files are decoded and reassembled at the other end by the recipient fax machine or electronic fax service. This means that if a hacker could intercept the faxes whilst on their journey, they could not read or interpret it as it would appear as nothing but noise.
But which option should you choose? There are many reasons to choose an internet-based service over the traditional fax machine such as cost, eco-efficiency, ease of use, disaster recovery and cloud computing. This is because Internet-based services are more cost effective, more eco-friendly, can be used from anywhere, anytime and will also allow you to store all your important faxes in an online inbox.
However, if you are sending sensitive documents that could get into the wrong hands if they were intercepted or that need to meet regulatory requirements, then you should definitely choose a secure cloud fax service.