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Are Faxes Secure? A Guide to Fax Security and Privacy

Are you asking yourself, “What is a fax?” A shortened word for “facsimile,” a fax consists of a scanned page or pages that are sent to another fax machine which then prints a whole new paper copy in another location.

Did you know that, according to Gaebler, the most current data that’s federal demonstrates that there are over 300,000 small businesses in Oregon? Additionally, around over 100,000 of them have employees, with the rest being self-employed persons.

If you’re a business owner in Oregon, you might be wondering, given security issues with so much information being shared among businesses and within them: “Are faxes secure?”

When you don’t have the answer to this question, it can be stressful because you don’t know if using faxes is right for your business.

In this guide, we’ll review fax security and privacy. Finally, you can send business communications safely and in a way that works for your business. Read on to learn more.


How Are Faxes Secure Compared to Emails?

When it comes to the security of fax vs. email, there are several reasons why fax security is better. These include limited exposure to the internet, being less useful to cybercriminals, and being less vulnerable to socially-engineered cyber attacks.


Limited Internet Exposure

When you send a fax, you aren’t exposing the information in that fax to the internet. Additionally, you aren’t exposing it to internet-connected devices. The communication that occurs between fax machines is on phone lines.

These are more difficult to access than public internet connections.

When you send an email, on the other hand, you’re exposing it to the internet connections of the sender and receiver.

Additionally, when you hit send, the email goes through virus checkers, servers, ISPs, and firewalls. People might also forward, copy, save, and store the email without any type of encryption protecting it.

This makes it easy for the email to be compromised and for the data in it to be downloaded or read by unscrupulous third parties.

For this reason (and the others we’ll cover), the answer to the question “Are fax machines secure?” is yes.


What Makes Faxing So Secure in Terms of Limited Internet Exposure?

The reason faxing is so secure in terms of limited Internet exposure is that when you send one (either manually or on the cloud), the fax is using the PSTN, the Public Switched Telephone Network. This is an inherently secure network.

How does it work? First, the fax machine at the source converts it into binary digits. Then, it sends this binary through the PSTN. Then, the fax machine on the other end reassembles it.

If a cybercriminal were to hack into the network, they would need access that was direct and manual to the phone line.

Even when fax machines are connected through an Internet connection, they’re usually connected to a smaller number of secondary devices and networks.

It’s difficult to breach a fax machine system, but even when it does happen, secondary breaches are fewer and the security gaps are easier to cover than with email.


Less Useful to Cybercriminals

Fax machines are also less useful to a cybercriminal who might be able to breach them. This is because the cybercriminal would only be able to access the devices that are already within the fax machine’s network.

On the other hand, if a cybercriminal gains access to someone’s email account, they’ll often be able to send and receive emails as that person and also read any emails associated with that account.


Less Vulnerable to Socially-Engineered Phishing Attacks

When a socially-engineered phishing attack occurs, someone might receive an email with a malicious link and click it. However, when someone receives a fax, it’s more difficult to trick them into giving away any passwords or other types of private information.


No Viruses or Spam

Another way in which faxes are secure is that they don’t contain any viruses or spam. So in addition to the information you’re sending via fax being secure, you’re less likely to have a virus attack your network through a fax.


Federal Regulations Related to Security

Depending on what industry you’re in, you might be required to send information following federal regulations such as GLBA, SOX, HIPAA, and others. Faxes can be sent following these regulations, which means they can be secure by federal standards. It’s important to discuss any of these requirements with your fax services provider before giving them any sensitive data.


Want to Send a Fax?

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Are faxes secure?” you might be interested in sending a fax. In this case, you should send a fax through a Goin’ Postal location in Roseburg or Green, Oregon, which will only cost you $1 per page. One way you can do this is to go into a Goin’ Postal store with your document.

Another way is to arrange to send the fax to Goin’ Postal via email. You’ll email the document to Goin’ Postal, pay over the phone, and then we’ll send your fax. To use the online option, just contact us at either of our locations.