While electronic faxing through email is becoming more popular, nearly three quarters of small businesses still utilize traditional faxing, according to a survey conducted by GFI Software. Smart faxing provides important guidelines to follow that let you protect confidential information being sent or received from your office fax machine. It is especially important in legal, financial and healthcare industries.
Basics of Smart Faxing
The following are general guidelines to follow to implement smart faxing in your business. These tips and basics will help you get started with smart faxing.
- Keep your fax machine in a secure location in your office where it isn’t open to the public. This helps keep sent and received documents confidential.
- Limit access to the fax machine to authorized personnel only. If someone unauthorized needs to send a fax, offer to do it for them. Choose one or two trusted employees to send and receive faxes.
- Avoid faxing documents with sensitive or personal information unless it is the only option. When you do fax personal information, double-check the fax number you send it to and call the company to let them know you’re sending it so they put it away as soon as possible. Also include a confidentiality statement in case it does get in the wrong hands.
- Use a cover sheet for all faxes that identifies the sender, intended recipient, date, time, and the number of pages.
Sending a Fax
The first thing your company and authorized personnel should be trained on is proper protocol for sending a fax. The basis of smart faxing is not only how to fax properly, but how to do so for the highest amount of protection to your confidential information.
1) Include a cover sheet. You should always include a cover sheet to make it easy for the recipient, which includes your company information and name, the recipient’s information, date, time, and how many pages are being sent. If it is sensitive information, include the confidentiality statement with your business number in case it was sent to the wrong number.
2) Verify the information before filling out the cover letter, including the recipient’s name and fax number.
3) If you’re faxing to a programmed number, double-check that it is still the recipient’s fax number. This should be verified periodically.
4) Glance in the display window before pressing “Send” to make sure the number is correct.
5) Remove the printed documents and original materials once the fax has gone through and dispose of or file them accordingly. Don’t leave them sitting in the fax machine. Confirm the number on the confirmation sheet to be sure it was sent to the right number.
Receiving a Fax
There are also guidelines to follow when receiving a fax. Remember to keep the fax machine in a secure area where the general public or unauthorized employees can’t get to it.
1) Set a password on the fax machine is this is a feature you have; it will only allow you to access faxed documents if you enter a password into the machine.
2) Remove the faxes from the machine as soon as they go through and verify that you received as many pages as are listed on the cover sheet.
3) Place faxes face-down in a secure area until they’re ready to be distributed.
4) If the received fax was sent in error, contact the sender and inform them you received their fax by mistake.
5) Assign another authorized person to keep an eye out for confidential faxes that come through, if you’re planning on being away from the office.
Smart faxing protocols are the best way to protect your business and confidential information. Many small businesses send sensitive information back and forth through faxing and therefore should follow the sending and receiving guidelines. It’s also essential to have adequate business insurance, such as general liability insurance, valuable papers coverage, and cyber liability insurance.