PDF is inarguably one of the most secure file formats for documents due to the reason that, in most cases, the content of such files simply cannot be modified. But even if the file itself is immune to tampering, it’s still legible – an issue that in some circumstances could become a full-fledged catastrophe if the email containing the PDF is intercepted and the file isn’t protected by a password.
Thankfully, online faxing provides the same speed and reliability as email with one major advantage. Transmissions between sender and receiver are always secure, meaning that PDFs can travel through phone cables without ever being seen by unwanted eyes.
When Fax Beats Email
When asked about what the best communication channel is for sending PDFs, most people would likely say email without even a second thought. And they wouldn’t be too far from the truth since electronic mailing is insanely fast, universally available and free of charge. But sadly, email isn’t as safe as it might first seem to be; for one thing, emails aren’t tracked – unless a separate app or add-on is installed – and due to the lack of proper encryption they can easily be intercepted by criminals hunting for precious user data.
Fax lines, on the other hand, have this necessary encryption built in, so if the fax transmission is intercepted – which is unlikely to begin with – then decoding the message is virtually impossible. For to this reason fax messages – and any PDF attachments that belong to them – will automatically comply with HIPAA security laws, as well as being deemed legally binding. In addition to that, faxes are also tracked, meaning that you will receive an extra message each time the fax either makes it to the recipient or if transmission fails for to some reason.
PDF, the Default Faxing Format
Before the cloud era the only way to send PDFs through fax was by printing out the documents, scanning them with the fax machine, and then sending those scans to the recipient. With online faxing, however, all it takes to fax a message is to access the password-protected online account from a browser or the associated mobile app, enter in the addressee’s fax number, attach the file, and then click “Send”. That’s already simple enough, but added convenience comes from the fact that online faxing uses PDF as the default file format, making it more than ideal to send and receive PDF documents.
Each time a fax message arrives into the online faxing account, it’s automatically converted into a PDF file and is then forwarded onto the user’s email account as an email with a PDF attachment. The process works the other way around as well, with one major difference: attachments in outbound fax messages don’t necessarily have to be PDF but can be other file types such as .DOC, .JPG, .TXT, and so on. And if that’s not enough, online fax services provide users with the option to send faxes with PDF attachments from standard email clients, therefore combining the convenience of email with the security of faxing.
Faxing Sensitive PDFs
Since fax is a fully encrypted communication method, it’s perfectly safe to send sensitive data through fax lines provided that the message has extra layers of protection.
One such protection method is to attach a confidential cover sheet to the PDF, the creation of which is ridiculously easy. In fact, all a confidential cover page needs is the addition of the most important contact information of the sender and receiver, the word “Confidential” written in a large font, and a confidentiality statement that tells people what to do with the document should they receive it by accident. If this process is done from an online faxing solution then it’s even simpler, as cover sheets are added to faxes by default. These programs also allow for the option to choose a preformatted confidential fax cover sheet to be the first page of your fax.
In addition to that, certain online faxing services allow users to include electronic signatures on attached PDFs as well, meaning that the attachment can be made legally binding without the need to print the document out, sign it, and then scan it again.