Modern Fax Technology is More Secure Than Email

CXO THOUGHTS
Paul-Banco_etherFAX Modern Fax Technology is More Secure Than Email
Paul Banco, CEO, etherFAX

Data breaches within manufacturing, retail, financial, government, and healthcare industries are on the rise due to the biggest cybersecurity challenge within organizations: Email. A Financial Trend Analysis from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) found that the number of suspicious activity reports describing business email compromise incidents rose to 1,100 per month in 2018. According to FinCEN, perpetrators are using methods such as spear phishing, specialized malware, and spoofed emails to trick victims into thinking a legitimate email from a trusted person or entity is directing them to make a payment for a normal business activity. The total value of attempted thefts from these business email compromise incidents climbed to an average of $301 million per month in 2018.

Though organizations can implement security measures to ensure that their email solutions are compliant with data privacy regulations, an email message will still pass through multiple servers before it reaches the final point of delivery. This indirect transmission method leaves protected health information and other unstructured data vulnerable to imminent threats of cyberattacks, malware, and device or server crashes. To prevent data breaches, organizations must use a document delivery system with adequate encryption to secure endpoints and encrypt sensitive information that is both in transit and at rest.

Fax remains to be one of the most trusted document delivery methods available today – its key role in data protection is the reason why the online fax market is projected to be worth $2.4 billion by 2022. By leveraging the security of fax technology with the scalability of the cloud, organizations can exchange sensitive information faster and more securely. Ideal for the healthcare industry, a fax can securely transport unstructured data while complying with government-mandated regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

While many people still view fax as antiquated technology, newer delivery systems are redefining fax for the modern era and enabling high resolution, color documents to be securely transmitted within seconds. End-to-end encryption methods, such as those defined in the Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES), can guarantee data is secure at each endpoint of the transmission. As the name implies, ECIES is a hybrid encryption “scheme” that defines methods to secure and transfer information between two endpoints. These methods start with the use of Elliptic Curve Cryptography to generate a shared secret between peers and seed the encryption process with unique keying material while further protecting the information using signing and authentication mechanisms to assure the validity of the data in transit.

Implementing a fax solution that utilizes ECIES guarantees that information is encrypted from the moment it leaves the sending device or application until it is accepted and validated by the receiving party. Even if a third-party attempted to eavesdrop on the network communication, the information itself would be indecipherable. Most importantly, end-to-end encryption schemes allow secure transmissions even over unsecured channels.

Overall, fax technology is no longer synonymous with slow machines, phone lines, paper, and toner. Today, fax is cloud-based and virtual – providing new ways for businesses to send and receive information from a virtually unlimited number of endpoints and devices. Unlike email, a hybrid-cloud fax solution with end-to-end encryption can guarantee business-critical documents are delivered securely. In addition to data protection, the scalability, reliability, and automation that online faxing provides makes it a desirable solution for manufacturing, retail, financial, government, and healthcare organizations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As CEO of etherFAX, Paul Banco is responsible for the strategic direction of the company and leads technology development, including the patented etherFAX and etherFAX SEN intellectual property. In 2009, he identified the need to leverage the cloud for secure document delivery and co-founded etherFAX with fellow telecom industry veterans.