The short answer is yes, online faxing is completely safe and a secure way of communicating.
Sending and receiving faxes online is better than doing the same using the traditional combination of faxing machines and plain landline cables. One of the reasons why you are better off with online faxing should be quite obvious, since when a document arrives at a fax machine, it prints the message for anyone to take – a method that could easily lead to the message getting into the hands of unauthorized people. Online faxes, however, are never printed by default, always appearing in the online faxing manager first, which is password protected and therefore cannot be accessed by just anyone but only the account user.
The Protection of Online Faxes
Online faxing managers are protected by passwords and 256-bit encryption, meaning that aside from those who are given permission to view or send faxes from within the account nobody – not even the employees of the chosen faxing service – will be able to see your messages.
This type of protection works outside of the online faxing environment as well. For example, all of j2 Global’s faxing services (eFax, MetroFax and MyFax) have features that allow for faxing via email, which in addition to being more convenient for the user only allows faxes to be sent from a plain email account from the email addresses of those that have been added to the faxing account.
As for the messages themselves, the good news is that faxes stay fully encrypted even when in transit over the internet, up until the moment that the receiver opens them. This ensures that hackers cannot intercept messages, but even if they do they won’t be able to decipher them thanks to the applied encryption.
Note, however, that your messages are only protected from one endpoint to the other so long as they are opened within the safe environment of the faxing service. In other words, stick to opening and creating the messages within the account manager or in the online faxing service’s dedicated smartphone application instead of doing so via an email account. Although if this email account has extra protection – like two-factor authentication – then it is safe to use for faxing purposes, too.
Online Faxing With HIPAA-Compliance
In cases where the faxing solution has to deal with electronic protected health information (ePHI), it must comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
What this means is that the transmission between the sender and the receiver must be secure and fully protected at all times, otherwise the faxing solutions is not HIPAA-compliant.
Due to the strict requirements of the law not all online faxing services provide the necessary measures to earn the title of being HIPAA-compliant. However, certain solutions like Sfax, SRFax and RingCentral Fax meet these requirements by default. eFax is also HIPAA-compliant – which is j2 Global’s flagship product – and adds electronic signatures into the mix, too, but only if the business opts for the Corporate subscription plan that operates with custom prices.
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