Cyber Security and Fax

If Fax Isn’t a Key Part of Your Cyber Security Plan, It Should Be.

Recently, hackers infiltrated the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center IT systems, forcing the hospital’s IT systems offline, and demanding $3.6M in ransom. During the cyber security crisis, staff members were shut out of the hospital’s EHR systems and had no access to email. In late 2014, Sony Pictures fell prey to a massive cyber attack which brought its IT systems to a halt, crippling Sony’s network, corporate databases, and email systems, and costing the company $35M in IT repairs. 

cybersecurityimageWhat did these two companies do in the wake of such catastrophic security and communication breaches?

How did they ensure business continuity and avoid communication disruption between employees, customers, patients, and partners?

They relied on fax. 

For Hollywood Presbyterian Medial Center, this security breach put the health and treatment of patients at stake. Our friends at etherFAX showed us how fax saved the day by allowing the hospital to transmit unstructured data such as patient charts and medical documents despite the lack of access to email or other hospital systems.

Similarly, fax also came to the rescue for Sony, which relied on fax technology to ensure documents were still able to be transmitted while the company had no access to email or other communication systems. As TechCrunch put it, “That is what a major corporate security breach sounds like: the squeal of a fax machine…instead of depending on email or instant messages.” 

According to the CyberEdge Group’s 2015 Cyberthreat Defense Report, 71% of organizations surveyed experienced at least one cyberattack in 2014 (up from 62% the year prior.) And in the Healthcare industry, security incidents involving operational systems increased a whopping 241% year-over-year, according to the 2016 Global State of Information Security Survey

Cyber security attacks are not isolated to large enterprises; small and mid-sized businesses are actually much more prone to attack than major corporations. In fact, according to a 2012 report by Symantec Security Response, 50 percent of all targeted cyber attacks focused on businesses with fewer than 2,500 employees.

So what is the answer? According to Small Business Trends, the first step in crafting a cyber security strategy is to implement secure communications methods. That means fax:

“In order to mitigate risk — especially if you’re bound by compliance mandates like HIPAA — you need to invest in more secure forms of communication. Here’s a tip that may surprise you: Did you know that fax is the most secure form of communication in the business world?

“’When a document is sent by fax it’s converted into binary code (1s and 0s), sent over the telephone network and then reassembled at the other end,’ says Karol Waldron of XMedius, a leader in enterprise-grade fax solutions. ‘Hacking into the telephone network would require direct manual access to the telephone line, and even if a file were intercepted it would present itself as nothing but noise, making it virtually impossible to interpret/read.’”

Instant InfoSystems is the foremost expert in fax solutions. With nearly 25 years of experience in the fax industry and expertise in a wide breadth of fax technologies, no one knows more about fax — and the critical role it plays in an organization’s communications strategy — than we do. With key partners such as etherFAX, XMedius, Biscom, FaxCore, stratafax and more, Instant InfoSystems can show you how to leverage fax as a key component of your cyber security, business continuity, and disaster recovery strategies.

Contact us to learn more.


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