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The Safety And Security Of Online Faxing

By Chris Haycox

In the 1980s, fax machines were ubiquitous in businesses large and small. It was a thrill to get your first one, and with the minimum 200dpi resolution, you could read charts, electronic diagrams, small print and even comic strip copies. Soon enough, of course, sending and receiving faxes was not so much a thrill as a nice addition to the communications arsenal. Unfortunately, the way that most companies instituted faxing left much to be desired in the way of safety, security and smarts.

It was unfortunately quite common for companies to install a single, centrally located fax machine for each department, sometimes even for the whole company (if it was small enough). Some people have a natural tendency to be nosy, while others are felonious enough to steal information of value like company secrets, patents, marketing plans, personal ID info and financial data. Many companies even identified some employees as fax machine stalkers, creating a situation in which people would have to stand by the fax machine, wasting time while waiting for a sensitive fax to arrive. There was really no other kind of security possible with the common-fax-machine setup.

Trouble every day

Human nature being what it is (fallible), some firms opted to buy more fax machines and give individual ones to handlers of sensitive data. This could rapidly get expensive, as each unit draws power, uses toner, needs a dedicated phone line (or ties up a common one), goes through paper and needs regular troubleshooting and occasional repairs. Translation: Getting everyone a fax machine is an expensive proposition. So, with the advent of the Web and e-mail in the early 1990s, wasn’t all this fax business supposed to be relegated to the dustbin of history? What happened?

What happened was what usually happens in evolution, whether with life forms or technologies. There were bumps in the roads and mutations. E-mail became more popular as the decade of the ’90s progressed, but it never did supplant all the world’s fax machines, since Internet penetration differed all over the world. To this day, there are hundreds of millions of fax machines in use, with plenty of them in the U.S. and other industrialized countries. For a variety of reasons, e-mail could not be used in place of a fax in every instance.

When e-mail fails

There are a number of situations wherein e-mail is not up to the job, including:

Large documents: E-mail clients, as well as ISPs (Internet Service Providers), have different limits on the size of attachments. A scan of a building blueprint that is a few feet square can run to 100MB in size. Gmail, one popular mail service that can be used as webmail or with e-mail software, enforces a 25MB limit on all attachments. Online faxing and fax machines can avoid these limitations.

Downtime: According to Southern California’s TimeWarner Cable, the average customer can expect two service interruptions per month, with one possibly as long as a day. If you have a fax backup plan that includes both online fax accounts and a working, legacy fax machine, you will be able to stay in touch when others cannot.

Levels of security: As opposed to e-mail accounts that are protected by a single password, online faxing can incorporate multiple levels of protection. Using encryption can add to the safety, as well. If you do have your own dedicated fax machine in your office, as well as an e-mail account, you can decide on a case-by-case basis which is the most secure means of sending or receiving any particular documents.

Security summary

Just moving to an online faxing account will protect you from the fax-stalking people in your firm, the ones who hover near the fax machine waiting to see what they can find out. If you are giving out your virtual fax phone number, people with fax machines can send as if they are transmitting to another phone, and the message will end up in your e-mail. Conversely, from your online fax account you have access to the millions and millions of fax machines still being used today in all parts of the world. If you design and implement a smart online-and-backup-machine faxing plan, you will be covered (and secure) no matter what direction the communication is flowing.

Clearly, the multiple levels of security, the privacy, the encryption options and the presence of numerous alternatives gives the edge to the online faxing plan described here. Although we want to think that everyone in our company is honest and discreet, the experiences of people who have suffered identity theft and other cybercrimes tell a different story. You do not have to be paranoid to want to protect yourself against prying eyes. One good way to do that is with online faxing.

About the Author: Metro Hi Speed is a leader in internet fax solutions for any sized business. Less expensive and more reliable than traditional fax services – you’ll enjoy the convenience and well as the cost. Visit us today for more information on our small business and corporate fax solutions.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Haycox, Chris "The Safety And Security Of Online Faxing." The Safety And Security Of Online Faxing. 25 Jun. 2010. 3 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Haycox, C (2010, June 25). The Safety And Security Of Online Faxing. Retrieved September 3, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Haycox, Chris "The Safety And Security Of Online Faxing"

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