Today I read an articleabout a school district in Rhinebeck, NY taking heat from parents and the publicat large because they still use analog fax machines to send and receive theirstudents’ private information — including medical records. One quote inparticular stuck out to me: “The attorney recommended that … if it’s going to befaxed, which is not the preferred way but sometimes it’s the only way, that ithas a cover sheet on it that is clearly marked ‘confidential, for nurses eyesonly,’” said Thomas Burnel, Rhinebeck assistant superintendent. “The best thingto do is put it in the mail or hand deliver it but we’re under no obligation toset up a separate fax machine that goes in to the nurse’s office.”
Obligation? Perhaps not. Responsibility? Well…..yes. The fax communicationsBurnel was referring to were arriving to and being sent from a traditionalpaper-based fax machine in the office of the school principal.
It turns out that it is not “the best thing” to put it in the mail or handdeliver. Fax technology is such today that even a cash-strapped educationaljurisdiction can fax securely straight from their email client, scanner or MFP,and actually end up saving money. Burnel said adding a dedicated fax line forthe school nurse would cost $700 annually. I work in the fax industry and I cantell you that a $700-a-year dedicated fax line for the nurse isn’t necessary tosecure private faxed communications directed to the nurse, the principal, oranyone else in the school district for that matter.
Putting a cover sheet on a fax may deter some from reading secureinformation, but not those with malicious intent, which, in this case, could beanyone happening to have access to the principal’s office. Think janitorialstaff, clerical assistants, even students and teachers themselves.
My last blog, Robots,Cloud Computing, and the Future of Fax, Oh My!, touted the benefits of theOpenText A10x Global Fax Appliance. The principal’s office inthe scenario above — where students’ secure information is being sent andreceived to unsecured locations — is a perfect place for the Fax Appliance.
If you need your sent and received documents to be secure, and to havegreater certainty and control over who can and cannot access the information youare sending over phone lines or even between IP addresses, you should check outOpenText’s Fax Appliance and other offerings in our suite offax solutions.