Stop the Faxes (from Putting Data at Risk)

Kachina Shaw

Putting protections and policies in place for data at risk in mobile apps and mobile devices and email is high priority for most IT organizations, no matter the size. Let’s face it, you can’t go a day without reading about another threat. And finding the staff and budget for it is relatively easy, given that accomplishing the goal of data protection coincides with other goals, like monitoring usage and storage needs and keeping productivity up.

But as any good magician knows, it’s what you’re not looking at that might be most surprising in the end. You may not have given faxes any thought for months (years?), but that’s a mistake. Which brings us to those forgotten faxes.

GFI Software and Opinion Matters dug into the topic, and conducted a survey of over 1,000 U.S. office workers on their faxing practices.

The findings will most likely surprise you:

  • 72 percent of surveyed businesses use paper faxes
  • 49 percent of respondents have read a fax intended for someone else
  • 46 percent said they didn’t know whether a document sent over fax is legally binding (it is)

Interestingly, 29 percent said they use faxes because other companies they work with require it and 24 percent said they were required to use faxes by regulation.

Financial, health care and legal organizations may have policies in place addressing faxed materials, along with other modes of communication. If your company doesn’t fall into this group, making a small survey of users on fax use is a smart first step toward assessing your risk.

So, the moral is that newer technologies bring newer threats, but the older ones don’t die. They just get ignored until they come back to bite you — hard. Now, let’s talk about the security of those printers ...



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