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You can help ensure that your online faxes are really secure

You may or may not send faxes, but you really have to focus on security for anything that you do in an online world.

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Image: Forbes

The main reason why regulations within certain industries require you to send private information via fax or postal mail is that other forms of transmission, such as email, are not considered secure. Interestingly, the regulations do not distinguish between using old-style fax machines and online fax services.

If you need to send faxes, but you want to avoid adding a dinosaur fax machine to your surroundings, many people believe that Internet-based services might actually be more secure. However, you need to understand your security options from the time that a document is on your device to the time that it reaches its destination.

Protecting Documents is a Four-Point Process

First, start by recognizing that every transmitted document is susceptible to risk in four places:

  • The sending device: You have to use your own device to send a fax. That device can be anything, such as a laptop computer, a tablet, or even a smartphone. 
  • The network traveled: From the time a fax leaves your device, it travels through the network. 
  • The online fax provider: Your faxes are received by the fax service before they go to the intended recipient.
  • The destination: Obviously, any sent fax has a final destination. This is the end of the transmission.

You Have Full Responsibility for Protecting Your Devices

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Image: Pixabay

While using reliable anti-virus software — and regularly maintaining it — is essential, it is only one part of a good protection plan. It helps immeasurably to encrypt any information that you send to make it unusable to hackers that manage to grab it. You have several options for encrypting the information on your computer, from purchasing encryption software to using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for your Internet connection. Read up on these options. Some are more complicated than others, but they are all worthy of your consideration.

Mobile devices may be even more susceptible to hacking, so they have their own sets of recommended security practices. Naturally, you want to install and maintain reliable security software on these devices, but many security risks can come from the decisions that you make. It’s generally best to avoid clicking on links in the messages that you receive. Also, be aware that many apps are unsafe, so you should download them with care and delete those that you don’t need. Also, keep in mind that public WiFi networks are not safe for sending your most private data. Stay away.

Make Sure That Your Online Fax Provider Offers Robust Security Features

This is the final point before a fax actually makes it to the recipient. Most providers maintain many security measures, including encrypting fax data. Never assume that a provider is secure; make sure that you check out their practices in this regard.

The most secure providers are likely to proudly share their full range of security processes. Do they prohibit data access to anyone outside of the company? Do they require strong passwords for both senders and recipients? Are their data centers physically protected? These are examples of questions that need answers.

Of course, depending on the type of fax information you send, you may not need a full range of security protection. Still, too much coverage is better than too little by a long shot.

You Cannot Control All Security Once a Fax Reaches its Destination

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Even a transmission that makes it safely through to the intended recipient is not necessarily safe. You have little control over this part of the process, but you can and should perform all necessary research to ensure that every recipient offers the protections that illustrate that they take security as seriously as you do.

No matter how you send a fax (machine or online), if the intended recipient is not security-conscious, you cannot guarantee the privacy of your data once they receive it. Maybe the physical machine that receives your fax is in a public area. Perhaps the addressee of your online fax pays no attention to security risks. If you are sending your highly-personal information, then you might want to ask about issues like these before you hit Send. recipient

In an Online World, Everyone Should View Security as a Priority

The Internet got its start back in 1962, but it wasn’t until 1972 that email became possible, with spam making its premier around 1978. Those early beginnings led to so much more usage, and today’s Internet has become an integral part of life for virtually everyone. 

The Internet’s value is probably immeasurable, but one estimate values it at $2.1 trillion of the United States’ $20.1 trillion annual GDP. Unfortunately, honest users are only part of the mix; every technological advance has served as temptation for individuals looking to make a quick criminal buck.

You may or may not send faxes, but you really have to focus on security for anything that you do in an online world.

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