It seems that almost every day there’s another data breach scandal making headlines.
Turn on the TV and it’s the lead story of every news channel.
Click on one of the big social networking sites and it’s a trending topic—trending higher as new, more salacious details emerge.
“More than three-quarters of internet users at least somewhat agreed that they would stop using a service, product or retailer if they felt their privacy was violated,” — 2013 polling by Radius Global Market Research
Case in point – Yahoo recently admitted to the largest reported data breach ever—one billion customer accounts may have been compromised. No that is not a typo; it is a 1 followed by 9 zeros – 1,000,000,000 accounts, which means that customer names and email addresses, phone numbers and security questions, not to mention encrypted passwords, could all have been available for sale on the dark web for the past few years, because this breach actually occurred back in 2013!
And although the passwords were protected by a ‘hash algorithm,’ the aging MD5 technology that Yahoo used to protect passwords in 2013 can be easily cracked. The company has since moved to stronger methods of protecting subscriber passwords.
This latest revelation from Yahoo is on top of a previously announced intrusion that affected a mere 500 million accounts in 2014. Verizon, which is trying to acquire the Internet service company for nearly $5billion, is understandably displeased with this latest revelation.
And when you consider that most of today’s most widely publicized retail data breach scandals have had all of the elements that make for a good dramatic story—i.e., betrayal, abuse of power and carelessness—it’s no wonder stories like this get the lion’s share of media attention.
But what happens when a new, bigger headline emerges on the front pages of today’s national newspapers? …Or when customers who have had their confidential information breached aren’t able to simply carry on with their lives as usual? …How do they pick up the pieces and find solutions that will lessen the damage?
Well, the first step is to cancel the credit card or bank account that has been breached. Then, the customer will need to:
• formally dispute any unauthorized charges
• monitor breached accounts (and transactions online) for inaccuracies
• set up ongoing text and email alerts to notify you of changes to your account
• take legal action
Customers are required to report their losses within two days of receiving their data breach notification, in accordance with the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA).
Not much time, is it?
Customers aren’t the only ones who have to work against the clock to minimize the fallout from a big data breach.
Credit card issuers, banks and other financial institutions also have a limited amount of time to minimize losses, while keeping in accordance with current state and federally mandated consumer protection laws state and federally mandated consumer protection laws.
Major credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian and Transunion are required to remove credit information that is incorrectly reported to their agencies as a result of a data breach.
If you’re a retailer, manufacturer, distributor or other vendor of consumer goods, then you’re probably aware that safeguarding customer information is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week undertaking that requires an advanced fax service to guard against data breaches.
In the end, it’s not just the company that experiences the data breach that has a giant mess on its hands. Countless other individuals and organizations that have been affected by the data breach scandal will also have some cleaning up to do.
Retailers, manufacturers, distributors and other vendors of consumer goods would be wise to recognize (and plan for) the fact that data breaches are not always the work of hackers and other “outside” forces.
Well intentioned workers inside the company working with obsolete technology also pose a dangerous threat to confidential customer information.
But more advanced technology is available, and it can help your enterprise to eliminate data security threats. Many of you may already be aware of cloud faxing, but if not, here is a quick run down of the benefits.
Cloud faxing is a safe and secure document transfer solution that lets you transfer, retrieve and store sensitive data online. You can integrate the technology into an existing network infrastructure and workflow applications with none of the software or hardware upgrades typically associated with a traditional fax server network.
Because cloud faxing meets current data security and privacy standards, it’s safe to send and receive sensitive data from any Web-enabled device, while keeping compliant with current data security and privacy standards.
The Inherent Risks of Traditional Faxing
Now let’s take a closer look at why traditional analog and digital faxing (fax servers) can place your customers’ confidential information at risk, and how a cloud fax solution is the most secure way to send and receive sensitive information with customers and business partners that have fax requirements.
Analog faxing once served an important purpose in retail business. It allowed retail business owners, sales teams, manufacturers, suppliers, venders and other key industry personnel to quickly and easily transfer purchase orders, contracts, sales figures and other retail documents back and forth in near real-time.
Companies could transact business with companies in other countries; submit receipt records, payroll reports, bank statements, balance sheets as well as tax reporting forms to the accountant department; or receive important business letters from the home office without needing to wait days or weeks for legacy Snail Mail to arrive.
Fax was so ubiquitous that faxed contracts have been accepted as legally enforceable documents by the courts for years.
It was great.
Until it wasn’t so great.
And then it caused problems—big problems.
For starters, there’s the issue of security.
To be fair, it isn’t the fax transmission process itself that is problematic (that is reasonably safe), but the problems that can occur when faxes are not properly secured once they print out to the fax machine’s tray.
Take these common security issues for example:
• Access to sensitive data—e.g., social security numbers, and other personally identifiable information.
• Delayed transmission
When you consider where most community fax machines are located and how they are administered (usually a well-trafficked common area), it is no wonder that the analog fax machine poses a high-risk to confidential customer information.
Think of it. Delayed faxes are left unattended on the fax machine’s tray until someone comes along to retrieve them. Faxes that have been discarded in recycling bins can be fished out and stolen when no one is looking. And if a fax is inadvertently delivered to the wrong “in” box, it can easily become lost and confidential information revealed.
When you consider that faxes offer no physical or environmental security to safeguard sensitive information against unauthorized views and theft, it’s no wonder data breaches are such a frequent occurrence, particularly in the retail industry.
1) Could your company pass a regulatory compliance audit by the government?
2) Is your company budgeted for the possibility of big fines resulting from an audit?
3) Is your legal team skilled in handling legal cases that drag on for years?
If the answer is no, you should really consider a Cloud based fax solution for your business.
Use the Cloud to Cut Costs
And while fax servers are a step in the right direction, even they have their vulnerabilities.
The fax server is dated—the technology itself is more than a decade old. Not only that, but fax servers are expensive to maintain. Consider the following conservative cost estimates:
In addition to the above-mentioned costs for a fax server ($6,000), fax card ($10,000 or more) and server software ($25,000), there’s also the annual costs to keep the machine up and running.
On average, maintenance software costs typically run about 15% of the cost of fax server, which, depending on the model, could be almost $4000.
But there’s more.
With a fax server, you still need either analog or digital phone lines, which can range in cost from $50 a year to hundreds of dollars per year.
Retail and pharmacy chains that do an extensive amount of faxing to or from their stores can spend thousands on telecommunications services, even if they only have a single line per store.
But cloud faxing is different.
It’s like an updated fax server in the clouds—without the added cost of new hardware or software updates. Plus, there’s no routine maintenance or repair work—it’s all included in the price.
In addition, cloud costs are a direct match for actual usage, so if your usage declines over time, your costs will go down as well.
Bottom line: The analog fax machine can expose your sensitive confidential information to unauthorized personnel, offers no inherent physical or environmental security, and therefore puts your company at risk of non-compliance with current data security and privacy standards.
The fax server, on the other hand, while more secure, is an aging platform that incurs high upfront capital and operating costs without delivering any increased benefits.
A Cloud Fax Solution Enhances Security
The consumer products industry can benefit in measurable ways from a more protected, reliable and secure data transfer system.
Companies can track, manage and replicate verifiable safeguards that protect sensitive data against breaches and other major security threats, while maintaining a chronological record of incoming and outgoing faxes for audits.
Further, cloud faxing lets vendors of consumer goods – as well as their business partners – send and receive purchase orders, invoices, receipts and other sensitive data securely from their desktops, without having to print, scan or physically transmit a single document or dial a single fax number.
How Cloud Faxing Works…
Users just simply attach a document and send the “fax” in the same way that you would regular email. The entire process takes place in your inbox. Inbound faxes are delivered as PDF attachments to the same email inbox.
Thanks to advanced data encryption, your faxes are kept safe and secure at all times, including while in transit and at rest.
‘If what has been seen cannot be unseen, then what has been leaked cannot be unleaked.’
Your entire fax infrastructure will operate in compliance with current data security and privacy standards, so your enterprise never needs to wonder if it’s in violation of federal consumer protection laws.
Bottom line: Cloud faxing lets you:
• track and record the seizure, custody, control and transfer of electronic data
• speeds up the data transfer process
• allows for faster, more reliable transmission, retrieval and storage of sensitive data
• Ensure regulatory compliance with HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, PCI, etc.
Data breaches don’t only happen in plain view. And they certainly are not just restricted to normal business hours. Unauthorized personnel can fish faxed documents out of the trash at any time and remove sensitive data from a desk letter tray without anyone being any the wiser.
Multifunction devices that integrate fax, copy and scanner capabilities into a single standalone machine make it easy for unauthorized personnel to breach sensitive data, since all of these devices have hard-drives that are rarely encrypted.
But businesses can eliminate these and other data security threats by making sure their sensitive data is protected at all times with a cloud fax provider that delivers advanced data encryption.
The Future: eFax Corporate
Let eFax Corporate, the world’s most trusted cloud-based, paperless fax service eliminate unauthorized views and theft of your sensitive data. With eFax Corporate, advanced TLS-encryption protects your data during transmission, while 256-bit AES encryption keeps it safe while at rest in your inbox.
You can store limitless amounts of confidential information in your very own cloud-based repository, which won’t automatically empty. Or you can send it to local and international recipients without the usual local or long-distance calling costs associated with faxing.
Cloud faxing doesn’t just offer convenience. It also helps to keep your business compliant with the data security and privacy standards and makes your workday more productive.
Protect the confidentiality and integrity of your sensitive data by upgrading from analog or digital faxing to a cloud solution today.