Fax machines have been around for years, providing a reliable way to transmit and receive documents. However, they do not offer a significant level of protection when sensitive information is transmitted. That’s why companies and other service providers, especially medical care providers, are moving to online faxing.
Sending Sensitive Documents Involves Risks
Healthcare providers routinely need to send highly sensitive documents to other entities involved in providing care for patients. However, those documents are not public information, so if you’re sending or receiving documents related to a patient’s care, ensuring your fax is HIPAA compliant is crucial. That doesn’t mean other businesses can ignore the possibility that transmitted documents may fall into the wrong hands. Some typical risks involved when transmitting sensitive information are apparent, but some are unclear.
Keeping Sensitive Information Secure
There are several steps medical service providers and other businesses can take to protect confidential documents when they’re faxed. First, remember that not all online fax services provide the level of protection required when sending information protected under HIPAA. When an organization must maintain compliance with HIPAA regulations, keep in mind that the encryption and safety features built into online faxing are designed to comply with the regulations and protect other businesses that must send and receive sensitive information.
Security experts recommend anyone transmitting sensitive documents work with an online faxing service that’s dedicated to providing the level of security needed to protect those documents. In other words, look for a faxing service that provides strong encryption to protect documents. Gone are the days when people felt safe sending documents to a stand-alone fax machine that anyone could access. In the case of medical documents, patients are entitled to feel their personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Online faxing services provide that level of protection, as documents can only be accessed by authorized individuals.
Securing online faxes also includes keeping any stored documents safe from prying eyes. Computer security experts now recommend using cloud storage to protect information and, at the same time, allow authorized individuals to access documents from anywhere. Cloud storage security protocols prevent most hackers from accessing sensitive information. Although no storage option is totally impossible for unauthorized individuals to access, the likelihood of anyone other than an authorized user gaining access is virtually nil.
In-House Security Steps Still Matter
While the security provisions offered by an online faxing service are always important, that doesn’t relieve facilities’ duty to provide security for their onsite devices. IT service experts are always available to work with medical service providers and other businesses to ensure their on-site security protocols are robust enough to keep data safe.
Protecting devices is crucial, but users must also be trained to maintain security. Far too many users are sloppy with passwords, which means anyone in the building could take advantage of that bad habit and access sensitive data they’re not authorized to see. Take the time to evaluate the organization to determine where security risks are present and work to eliminate them. If necessary, seek professional advice to ensure data will always be protected.
Always Work with a Top Provider
Although the regulations surrounding HIPAA are confusing, working with a top-tier online fax service will eliminate the confusion surrounding compliance. If you’re unsure how to proceed, contact an online fax expert for additional information.