At eFax Corporate, we know that a catchy title always draws in the reader.

Although we are not in the habit of comparing fax technology to the anatomy of animals, 1960’s rock ‘n roll bands or World War II speeches, in this case the analogy works, and we couldn’t resist.

As the saying goes, “you are only as strong as your weakest link,” and when it comes to legacy fax technology, it could be the Achilles heel of your compliance and cyber-security plan.

If you think that’s a lot of clichés, let’s put it another way. Do you leave your car unlocked, your back door open, or your wallet out?

Of course, you don’t. Unfortunately, many organizations are doing the equivalent of all three when using legacy fax. In fact, many of them have little to no security process controls for fax machines, printers or servers. That’s a serious vulnerability.

Many enterprises don’t realize that it doesn’t take much to incur a serious security breach, and to pay a hefty price for it.

For example, two errant faxes to unintended recipients cost St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York State a $387,000 HIPAA penalty.  

If you think that must have been a fluke thing, a random act of carelessness, consider the many ways in which an organization can leave itself vulnerable to security breaches with its legacy fax transmissions.  While fax security nightmares can come in many shapes and sizes, there are a few recurring patterns. We like to think of them as the “five fax security disasters in the making.”

First, what is your audit trail?  Companies need a documented security process for compliance purposes.  Every sheet of paper resting in the fax tray with sensitive information is a compliance violation waiting to happen. Like leaving your wallet out – and letting your social security card fall onto the table — there is no telling who might walk by and swipe it up.   

Secondly, what do you do with your faxes after they have been transmitted? Organizations don’t always have a retention strategy for these documents and the sensitive information they contain. Companies that do the right thing by destroying paper faxes after they have been received incur additional costs for collecting, shredding and disposing of the paper.

Computers and servers don’t solve this problem either. Sensitive data on a server that is unsecured is as vulnerable, in its own cyber way, as the paper that is left in the tray.

Fourth on the list is the likelihood of human error. One mis-typed number is all it takes to send a fax on its way…to an unintended recipient. Not sure what happens next? Ask the staff at St. Luke’s or the Bank of Scotland. They got hit with a £75,000 for the same offense.

Finally, legacy fax is making your other systems vulnerable, too. Through a process known as “buffer overflow”, hackers can send malicious faxes, to gain access to your internal connections and infect your entire network.

In short, unsecured legacy fax is a security and compliance nightmare. So what’s the alternative? Fortunately, cloud fax technology addresses the shortcomings of legacy fax. Specifically, eFax Corporate is entirely paperless and designed to comply with the strictest security and privacy standards, including HITRUST, HIPAA, SOX, and GLBA. eFax Corporate keeps your data secure, compliant, and easy to manage.