Even though fax is often perceived as out-moded, it remains the only completely secure way to send sensitive information.
The perception exists that fax machines are old clunkers in the corner, but the reality of today’s fax technology is very different. According to Craig Freer, MD of Vox Amvia, the word fax refers to a transmission mechanism rather than the infrastructure used. So yes, while many offices still do have the old ‘clunkers in the corner’, modern fax is an advanced and secure way of sending information.
“Fax technology is very different from email technology,” explains Freer. “With email, you press send, your mail is disessembled and then re-essembled on the other side – after bouncing around servers across the globe. The information can be hacked and stolen at multiple points.”
Fax is different. “Fax is point-to-point,” says Freer. “Two servers or machines need to establish a direct connection, and only once that has happened does the transmission begin.”
This has two distinct benefits: first, the information is completely secure, even during transmission. And second, an audit trail is established. “Audit trails with emails are unreliable,” says Freer. “All you have is a read receipt, but otherwise emails can be deleted, ignored and hacked. Fax is tamper proof and hack free.”
With the Protection of Personal Information Bill soon to be implemented into South African law, companies need to take particular cognisance of how they will protect their clients’ sensitive and personal information. “Under this act, any company that deals with sensitive information can no longer absolve responsibility of that information to a third party – if the information is leaked, the company is liable,” says Freer. “Companies need to re-evaluate the way they send information, and if there is a clear and firm audit trail in place in order to protect themselves, their own information and that of their clients.”