In July of 2018, it was revealed that there were over 9,000 fax machines still in use across the UK National Health service; and that purchases of the absurdly legacy equipment were still taking place. Leading to the UK government to request that fax usage be phased out across the health service, before the 31st of March 2020.
It can be argued that there are a number of benefits to fax use. However, with digitisation taking place not only in the public sector but in almost every industry. The very notion of using a fax machine seems as archaic as heating your office by fire.
So, what is the best replacement?
We think it is MFT or managed file transfer. A technology solution used by hundreds of thousands of organisations across the world to transmit secure files, including documents and data sets.
Here are five reasons why...
1. Managed File Transfer is Secure
In this age of data breaches, it might be safer to say securer. But consider the facts, most MFT solutions will encrypt any data they hold and use a secure protocol such as HTTPS or SFTP in order to facilitate the transfer of files.
Often, the cryptography used has been vetted to meet a particular standard such as FIPS 140-2, a NIST standard with four levels which define how cryptographic material is generated and stored.
In addition, any MFT solution worth its weight will include additional security features such as secure shredding deleted files so that they cannot be restored and some of the features listed below.
Information security is becoming ever more important for organisations who have to work within the confines of the GDPR. How can you achieve high levels of information security using MFT? Read here to find out more.
2. It Can Use Authentication to Verify Identity
One of the major flaws in fax technology is the fact that a sender's identity is anonymised behind a fax number and recipients only need to have access to the fax machine printing the received copy. Simply, there is no guarantee of who has sent or received the file.
MFT almost always requires authentication on both ends. The sender will have to verify their ability to send files based on some form of credential, tying them to the action of sending; and recipients will only be permitted to collect a sent file if they can demonstrate they are the intended recipient, often via credentials.
3. Managed File Transfer is Fully Audited
MFT solutions create logs of all activity which has taken place on platform. Including sending, receipt, configuration change and more.
Should you want to determine who has sent a particular file or document, you can do so. If you wish to see whether or not the recipient has collected the file or document, you can do this also.
In effect, non-repudiation.
Most MFT solutions will permit these logs to be centralised, so that MFT activities can be correlated with other audit logs across the IT network. Providing IT with the ability to spot issues and suspicious activity.
4. MFT Solutions Can Recall Sent Documents
Although your experience with fax might not be as extensive. How many times have you sent an email to the wrong person and wished you had the ability to recall it?
This problem with email also exists with fax. Once the recipient copy has been printed, there is no capability to recall it. Consider that if a mis-sent fax contains personal data, you are in the territory of a data breach under the GDPR.
MFT solutions head this problem off in a simple way. When a sender sends a file or document using MFT, that file or document is not actually sent anywhere. it stays on the MFT solutions encrypted file store waiting to be collecting. That window of collection provides you with an opportunity to recall if needed.
It is the comparative difference between throwing a ball to someone versus waiting for them to collect it from you. Once thrown, your control over the ball has been lost. Whereas when holding the ball until the other person collects it from your hands, gives you an opportunity to change your mind in the time it takes for the recipient to arrive.
5. It Can be Integrated into Email Solutions
The digitisation crusade is great for system administrators and business leaders, often reducing fixed asset costs and applying a greater level of control and visibility.
However, from a users perspective, particularly those less technology savvy, it can add more complexity to their roles.
One of the advantages of fax usage to some, is that it is a simple to use technology which requires very little, if any, training.
MFT solutions attempt to combat this problem by intertwining with email solutions; and thus becoming a part of an existing workflow which your users are hopefully already comfortable with. The sending of an email with attachments, can trigger an automated workflow whereby the attachments are stripped and sent securely via MFT.
The user skill level can therefore remain ignorantly low.