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  • Law firms still use it.  A lot.

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  • Da_Schmoo wrote:

    Law firms still use it.  A lot.

    Are law firms required to use fax for certain documents?  I'm just wondering the reasoning behind that.

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  • We are in healthcare and still use it, but trying to cut down on the use of it. Our biggest obstacle is other businesses, their systems can only receive a faxes so we have to keep sending. 

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  • GDaddy wrote:

    We are in healthcare and still use it, but trying to cut down on the use of it. Our biggest obstacle is other businesses, their systems can only receive a faxes so we have to keep sending. 

    This is crazy to me.  It's 2018, surely email can handle this, right?  Is fax more secure than email today?  I would think not, which is why I created this poll, but I don't know the facts, so figure someone will be able to enlighten me.

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  • It's not all about security. We read cases for outside hospitals and send results back. These outside hospitals import our results back into their systems. Some of these systems are outdated, or under configured or they have old fashion ways, and they only will import a fax, so we keep sending. There are many reasons for the outside locations to not upgrade, some justifiable some not. Since we have to work with them, we have to work with what they got. 

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  • I am also in Healthcare and we still use fax. In our case it is more secure than the email option.

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  • Pursell1911 wrote:

    GDaddy wrote:

    We are in healthcare and still use it, but trying to cut down on the use of it. Our biggest obstacle is other businesses, their systems can only receive a faxes so we have to keep sending. 

    This is crazy to me.  It's 2018, surely email can handle this, right?  Is fax more secure than email today?  I would think not, which is why I created this poll, but I don't know the facts, so figure someone will be able to enlighten me.

    IIRC (IANAL) a FAX can be considered a legal original, whereas a scanned-emailed-and-printed document cannot.

    Reason being that it's nearly impossible to modify a FAX transmission as it happens, whereas the same cannot be said for e-mail. (Partly due to the instant end-to-end communications tunnel that FAX establishes.)

    I'm sure legal arguments could be made today with SMTP over TLS and such, but again, IANAL.

    We run a FAX line at (almost) every building, and it's used by either purchasing (suppliers like their FAXes for orders sometimes) and HR for health screening/drug tests. We went full-SIP save for FAX. Thankfully they are pretty much never an issue. (Biggest "pain" is when they want to move one of the printers that handles FAXing around, but that's somewhat fun too since we have piles of 66 blocks that are now mostly empty.)

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  • Pursell1911 wrote:

    Da_Schmoo wrote:

    Law firms still use it.  A lot.

    Are law firms required to use fax for certain documents?  I'm just wondering the reasoning behind that.

    They tell me it is and they are the lawyers.

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  • Financial services here, and we use faxes A LOT. Blame the regulators, faxes are treated as both secure and confirmed receipt. Certain documents (especially to governmental bodies) must be sent fax instead of email, even secure email. If we tried to eliminate them we'd be dinged hard in audits, so we use them all over. I support at least 30 discrete fax lines in a ~300 person organization.

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  • Fax is required by MANY firms especially Healthcare and Insurance Companies.

    And some like Prudential require a BLANK yes BLANK first Cover Page.

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  • Pursell1911 wrote:

    GDaddy wrote:

    We are in healthcare and still use it, but trying to cut down on the use of it. Our biggest obstacle is other businesses, their systems can only receive a faxes so we have to keep sending. 

    This is crazy to me.  It's 2018, surely email can handle this, right?  Is fax more secure than email today?  I would think not, which is why I created this poll, but I don't know the facts, so figure someone will be able to enlighten me.

    Of course it can but stupid oversight regulations deem that fax is so much more secure than email because no one ever dials a wrong number on a fax machine, ever.

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  • I work at an AEC (architecture-engineering-construction) firm and we still use fax, though not a lot.  As far as I know we haven't used it internally in years, but we have a small number of clients and vendors, mostly mom & pop type businesses, that we still exchange documents with via fax.  I tried to get rid of it a few years ago as it would have been a fairly minor inconvenience for our few clients/vendors who still use it, but our company owners wanted to keep it.

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  • Thanks everyone for the replies!  and thanks JMA for the explanation, that's what I was looking for.

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  • We just moved to e-fax (financial services), and it's used very heavily. 

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  • HIPAA Compliance


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  • I was going to say HIPAA as well. HIPAA is getting better and I know there is a push to go totally digital.

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  • I'm in banking so we have one line for fax at each branch

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  • Many businesses including doctor offices are too cheap to implement a secure email gateway, so Fax is still allowed per HIPAA.  Personally we use Proofpoint.

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  • What about virtual fax services, are they as legally bounding as a regular fax with a physical line?

    I mean anybody today could send and receive faxes through the internet, not necessarily through an ugly machine from the 80's connected to a physical line.

    How do legally do they treat those?

    We are neither in healthcare or legal business, but some faxes are sent for legal purpose, or health checks from doctor cabinets to us. What we send is through a real fax machine, using a DID number that don't even belong to our city. What we receive is through a fax to email service, using many numbers (DID) we got.

    Since the DID could be transfered to anybody or anywhere, how can it be more secure than an email? Also the fax to email need to be printed... 

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  • Ditch the analog fax on POTS lines and move to a cloud service.  We use SRfax and Nextiva, both work well for the general stuff and SRfax (among others) will do the HIPAA things.  Vastly less hassle, and far cheaper than paying for POTS lines.

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  • Yes, we are an accounting firm and we need it to communicate with the IRS.

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  • Pursell1911 wrote:

    Da_Schmoo wrote:

    Law firms still use it.  A lot.

    Are law firms required to use fax for certain documents?  I'm just wondering the reasoning behind that.

    Fax is iirc still the only way to electronically transmit a signature legally.

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  • A number of our libraries still have fax machines.  They're not used a lot but they're one of the few places where you can still find one if you need to send financial, legal or medical information via fax.  Thankfully they're not ours to support.  We have one in our office too as part of a multi-function copier/printer setup.  Don't think it sees much use but it was important enough to have they made sure the new copier/printer had one.

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  • Just had our new copiers outfitted with fax cards. This was the more cost effective approach as e-fax services were way above where we thought they'd be. Given the fact that between 4 branches we only fax about 300 pages a month it was the solution for us. Not to say that we weren't enticed by the features of e-fax services but it just wasn't as cost effective as the fax cards.

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  • I'd like to know how fax is HIPAA compliant. It's insecure by design. 

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  • Sutibun wrote:

    Pursell1911 wrote:

    Da_Schmoo wrote:

    Law firms still use it.  A lot.

    Are law firms required to use fax for certain documents?  I'm just wondering the reasoning behind that.

    Fax is iirc still the only way to electronically transmit a signature legally.

    I don't think fax is the only legal way. I have legally signed electronic documents for getting a mortgage on my house. It might not be all states in the USA but it has to do with the ESIGN Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act according to the electronic document signing service website I used with my mortgage lender.

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  • OuttaHere wrote:

    I am also in Healthcare and we still use fax. In our case it is more secure than the email option.

    *cough cough* B.S.  *cough cough*  LOL.  ;-)

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  • HIPAA is well-intended garbage that does nothing but make it more difficult for healthcare consumers to communicate with their providers.  Obviously written by a room full of old men who know nothing about technology.  Some of our customers still use fax, but then some of our customers still use flip phones, too.  :-D

    For fun, let's make a list of all the ways fax is less secure than email:

    1. Every secretary, everywhere, can read it
    2. Faxes left sitting on the tray for anyone to pick up
    3. Inbound efax "gateway" where every fax is reviewed and then forwarded on to it's intended recipient (again, the "secretary" security hole)
    4. Faxes being tossed into a wastebasket instead of shredded or otherwise securely disposed of
    5. Etc.

    Feel free to add your own.  ;-)

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  • Sutibun wrote:

    Fax is iirc still the only way to electronically transmit a signature legally.

    You can use a digital signature in PDF's, Docusign, etc.  I would assume with the number of contracts that go through those services, they would have been proven to be legal....?

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  • Oldsmobile_Mike wrote:

    Sutibun wrote:

    Fax is iirc still the only way to electronically transmit a signature legally.

    You can use a digital signature in PDF's, Docusign, etc.  I would assume with the number of contracts that go through those services, they would have been proven to be legal....?

    The entire purchase process for my house was done with DocuSign. If that wasn't legal, I wouldn't be the owner and I wouldn't have a huge debt to pay off... lol

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  • Erik Voghell wrote:

    What about virtual fax services, are they as legally bounding as a regular fax with a physical line?

    I mean anybody today could send and receive faxes through the internet, not necessarily through an ugly machine from the 80's connected to a physical line.

    How do legally do they treat those?

    We are neither in healthcare or legal business, but some faxes are sent for legal purpose, or health checks from doctor cabinets to us. What we send is through a real fax machine, using a DID number that don't even belong to our city. What we receive is through a fax to email service, using many numbers (DID) we got.

    Since the DID could be transfered to anybody or anywhere, how can it be more secure than an email? Also the fax to email need to be printed... 

    It's the Receiving method, not Sending method that counts, thus there is no Virtual fax on your desk.

    Email is not Secure at all in anyway shape or form.

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  • ColoradoFrag wrote:

    I'd like to know how fax is HIPAA compliant. It's insecure by design. 

    Explain your reasoning as I posted a picture of my training on HIPAA Compliance.

    And if you'd like to see the other slide of how much jail time you can do I'll tack that on.

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  • Many of our clients are Medical or Legal - both of these industries still operate like it's 1981...  Also, Government of Canada still delivers our Security Clearance approvals and requests for more information by Fax and Mail (not email,) so we need to still support it.  That said, we got rid of the paper nearly 10 years ago - Multitech FaxFinder for the win.

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  • ColoradoFrag wrote:

    Oldsmobile_Mike wrote:

    Sutibun wrote:

    Fax is iirc still the only way to electronically transmit a signature legally.

    You can use a digital signature in PDF's, Docusign, etc.  I would assume with the number of contracts that go through those services, they would have been proven to be legal....?

    The entire purchase process for my house was done with DocuSign. If that wasn't legal, I wouldn't be the owner and I would have a huge debt to pay off... lol

    Yup, my house too - the whole thing was done by email without a single tree being killed (at least on our side of the transactions.)

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  • Oldsmobile_Mike wrote:

    HIPAA is well-intended garbage that does nothing but make it more difficult for healthcare consumers to communicate with their providers.  Obviously written by a room full of old men who know nothing about technology.  Some of our customers still use fax, but then some of our customers still use flip phones, too.  :-D

    For fun, let's make a list of all the ways fax is less secure than email:

    1. Every secretary, everywhere, can read it
    2. Faxes left sitting on the tray for anyone to pick up
    3. Inbound efax "gateway" where every fax is reviewed and then forwarded on to it's intended recipient (again, the "secretary" security hole)
    4. Faxes being tossed into a wastebasket instead of shredded or otherwise securely disposed of
    5. Etc.

    Feel free to add your own.  ;-)

    You should really take 3 off the list - if this happens, it's the fault of the IT person and is no more likely than the secretary reading everyone else's email - with our system, we can assign ever user their own fax number (usually their extension,) and it automatically routes to the right mailbox without any secretary intervention.  Al the others are bang-on.

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  • When I joined my current company 4 years ago they were still using and heavily reliant on fax (but had no need to be). They had several old fax machines dotted about and frequently had some issues with them. I tried to get rid of it but was told it couldn't be changed as linked in to our ERP and they relied on it so much, despite often having problems with it I kept getting kicked back when I tried to replace it with eFax even though I assured them I could easily move it over with minimal business impact and no changes to the customers. 

    Year and a half ago we changed ERP systems so I saw an opportunity to kick out fax and just replace with eFax. Once in place everyone then asked why we hadn't moved over sooner... Never had an issue with it since. Eventually will get rid of eFax I'd imagine but as long as our customers use fax we will need to have it in place. 

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  • Pursell1911 wrote:

    GDaddy wrote:

    We are in healthcare and still use it, but trying to cut down on the use of it. Our biggest obstacle is other businesses, their systems can only receive a faxes so we have to keep sending. 

    This is crazy to me.  It's 2018, surely email can handle this, right?  Is fax more secure than email today?  I would think not, which is why I created this poll, but I don't know the facts, so figure someone will be able to enlighten me.

    You don't think fax is more secure today?  Let's think about that for just a moment.

    When you send by email a copy of that email is going to be:

    • Saved in at least two places (Sender and Receiver)
    • Sent through internet, most likely unencrypted and open to many prying eyes, and stored, at least temporarily on a number of servers.
    • sent as a PDF that many people may hesitate to open due to security threats
    • Saved out of email and onto a file system somewhere for easy access (probably on both ends, so now there are at least 4 copies of the data floating around)

    Now let's compare that to a fax

    • Original paper document is transmitted directly from the sender to the receiver (no intermediate hosts or servers)
    • The receiver directly prints a copy of what was sent onto paper.
    • Nothing stored on any computer anywhere.

    Of course the likely real world scenario today is that the fax was sent from an electronic document and was stored electronically on the other end, so the only "more secure" part is the transport of the document.  However, it does get around a number of potential 'gotchas' from a legal standpoint.

    Yes, I work in a law firm and yes we receive 50+ faxes a day.

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  • We are at the same boat and sadly the other business are the Medical Insurance companies.

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  • Yes of course we still use fax here in healthcare IT, it is still a useful tool that is easy to setup and use. 

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  • No (and thank goodness!).

    I'm happy to say my current employer does not have any faxes and prior to that I was able to swapout the faxes in place of e-faxes that were part of our VoIP system (Siemens/Unify OpenScape).

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  • Seng wrote:

    Sutibun wrote:

    Pursell1911 wrote:

    Da_Schmoo wrote:

    Law firms still use it.  A lot.

    Are law firms required to use fax for certain documents?  I'm just wondering the reasoning behind that.

    Fax is iirc still the only way to electronically transmit a signature legally.

    I don't think fax is the only legal way. I have legally signed electronic documents for getting a mortgage on my house. It might not be all states in the USA but it has to do with the ESIGN Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act according to the electronic document signing service website I used with my mortgage lender.

    Your Mortgage does not disclose your DOB, SSN or any other sensitive information.

    There are 2 parts to buying a house, securing a loan SSN, DOB etc... and the acquiring the house from the seller which not always need DOB and SSN

    You don't buy a home from a Realtor or Seller, you secure a loan and then Close on a home.

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  • Whatever the technical or security reasons there are economies of scale here - any organisation can comply with a requirement form a customer/government agency/regulatory body simply and at very low cost by deploying a single fax machine. If the requirement for secure email/e-fax/whatever else is mandated it can often be beyond some organisations either due to licencing costs or complexity especially if they don't have dedicated IT thus reducing the ability of smaller organisations to compete.

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  • Work in the Healthcare Field Faxing will never die no matter how much we in IT want it to it will always be here forever and ever and ever.

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  • We are in the financial industry and still use it.  It is the preferred method of some of our clients.

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  • I work for a automotive dealership here in Florida and we have at least one fax per department. when i ask why the biggest reason i get is the financial institutes we use to get loan approves requires everything to be sent via fax.

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  • even hotel industry uses fax many times.

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  • We work with some healthcare information and are held to HIPPA standards. Fax is still one of the most secure ways to send information, as long as the receiving fax machine is in a secure area.

    It baffles me that so many people think that fax machines are antiquated at this point. There are so many people in fields that deal with sensitive information that use fax machines on a daily basis.

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  • We're a small municipal government. We may still accept smoke signals for communication.

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  • It depends on which business you're referring to in my case. At my day job, because it's the medical field, yes, unfortunately we do. For my project on the side, the business represented here on my profile, no, thank the gods. We don't even use E-Fax at Winter Hill Solutions!

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  • We have 2 fax lines, one for secure data in HR and another general fax. They are used occasionally, but most businesses accept email. There was a point when the fax lines went down and during that period, the "high" usage users found an email alternative and used that solution ever since. We are now down to about 20 faxes a month. Email has better tractability than fax lines and operate much faster. I recommend encouraging your users to stop using the fax lines if possible and if they can't email, have them bring these issues to you as you likely will find the email alternative for them.

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