Government Agencies: Bad News and Great News About Your Faxing Infrastructure

eFax Corporate
4 minute read

If you can bear to look (because it can be worrisome and even depressing), you’ll find stories everywhere of hackers breaching government agencies’ digital environments via their email systems.

For example, CNN reported in early 2023 that cybercriminals who sent phishing emails posing as tech support gained access to the sensitive data of at least two US federal agencies. And later in 2023, InfoSecurity Magazine reported that hackers stole 60,000 emails from the US State Department by forging the authentication tokens designed to ensure those messages travel only between their senders and intended recipients.

But do you know what you won’t find anywhere in the cybersecurity news? Hackers stealing sensitive government data transmitted by fax.

This isn’t to say your analog fax communications are secure. (More on that below.) We point it out only because one of fax’s key advantages today, particularly for entities like yours that send and receive highly sensitive and confidential data, is its near-invisibility. While cybercriminals are continuously searching for weaknesses in government agencies’ email programs and digital networks, they focus a lot less on those agencies’ fax transmissions.

And that’s just one reason among many that faxing is still one of the most commonly used communication protocols in the public sector.

The Bad News: Your Government Agency’s Fax Machines Aren’t Secure

The unfortunate reality is that if your organization is still running a legacy fax environment built on desktop fax machines and analog phone lines, those transmissions are not as secure as you might think.

Traditional faxing can be considered “secure” only to the extent that hackers don’t give it any thought. If they ever direct their attention to your analog fax infrastructure – and realize how many sensitive documents you’re exchanging over that environment – cybercriminals might find your transmissions relatively easy to intercept.

That’s why, for example, the US State Department enforces the following fax security guidelines for its employees sending official government data via fax:

“Only UNCLASSIFIED information… may be transmitted on standard fax machines. Classified information may be sent via fax only on specifically approved machines used in conjunction with an approved encryption/decryption device.”

— US Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual, Section 530

More Bad News: Yes, Your Agency Still Needs Fax Capability in its Tech Stack

The main reason your office can’t simply unplug and forget about your fax infrastructure (as much as you might like to do so) is the same reason that your sister agencies, your state government’s various entities, and many of your vendors can’t eliminate their faxing environments, either. It all comes down to the network effect. 

As a Government Technology Magazine article puts it, “Fax machines have largely disappeared from private-sector offices, yet remain in many state and local government agencies.” Given that government entities are among the top institutional users of fax technology in 2023, we can assume statistically that your agency still needs to communicate via fax for documents such as:

  • Legal filings
  • Interagency requests for information or authorization
  • Procurement forms
  • Tax documentation
  • Invoices
  • Briefs

As long as the public sector entities you work with on a regular basis continue to exchange these documents by fax, your agency will need to maintain some form of fax capability in your tech stack.

Why You Should Get Rid of Your Legacy Fax Infrastructure (Today.)

Just because your team needs the ability to send and receive important documents by fax doesn’t mean they need to continue with the inefficient workflows required with analog faxing. Your employees can maintain the ability to fax without ever again having to walk to the office fax machine, dial the recipient’s fax number manually, and wait (with their ears covered to drown out that horrible noise) while the machine slowly grinds through the tedious process of copying and transmitting every line of every page. That frustrating and time-consuming fax workflow can end today for everyone in your office. Instead, you can replace it with a far quicker, easier, and more secure cloud fax solution.

eFax Corporate: The Government’s Choice for Secure Cloud Faxing

With eFax Corporate, you can give your staff the ability to receive, sign, and send faxes digitally over an encrypted network, through a secure mobile app or a user-friendly web portal.  As a leading enterprise-grade cloud fax platform, eFax Corporate has been securely delivering highly sensitive and confidential data for almost 3 decades – for many government entities.

In addition to improving your organization’s workflows, boosting your staff’s productivity, and cutting your overall fax costs, implementing eFax also means your fax data will be safer than ever.

eFax Corporate has built our industry-leading cloud fax platform to comply with the strictest government and industry security guidelines, including:

  • SOX
  • GLB
  • NIST

Contact us to learn more about
what eFax can do for your agency