The eFax Blog

Why Faxes Are Legally Binding but Email Isn't

July 25, 2017 - by eFax Team

When it comes to communicating within the legal and business industries, faxing is still the preferred method of communication.

Despite being perceived as an outdated medium, fax has stood the test of time and is used by many industries as their primary means of data transferal. The reason for this is because of fax’s undeniable security and reliability, as well as its elevated status as one of the most legally binding communication tools available today.

In many different industries, but particularly in the legal sector, fax is the most-used medium of communication. In both business and legal circles, many documents still have to be printed and managed in hard copy. This is especially true for contracts, which require an authorised signature or company stamp in order for them to be deemed valid.

These types of documents often contain sensitive and confidential information, so a completely secure communication method is needed, one which can conveniently send important information quickly and securely.


The Problem with Email

One of the main problems with email is that it finds itself becoming increasingly vulnerable to interception, hacking and fraudulent activity. It is surprisingly easy for unauthorised personal to gain access to a company’s email accounts, which can have disastrous consequences, potentially resulting in legal action.

Using sophisticated software, criminals can hack into an email account by accessing login details and passwords. Using this information, they can read private correspondences, delete valuable data or even send fraudulent emails. The recent Sony Pictures email hacking scandal, served as a stark reminder that no organisation, regardless of their size or perceived security level, is fully exempt from a cyber attack.

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Fax and Increased Security

In terms of security, fax is one of the most protected methods of communication available to a business. The superior level of security which it offers explains why it is the preferred medium for law and business professionals.

Legal, financial and other industries all need to ensure that all of their communication tools are 100% secure, as there is no room for error when it comes to sending confidential data, especially if it’s authenticity is ever called into question in court.

Whether sent using a traditional fax machine or via the internet, messages are transmitted through a telephone line, meaning would-be criminals would have to know the exact moment a fax message was sent if they were to interfere with its transmission. This is why fax is, rightfully, considered to be one of the most legally concrete documents available to a barrister or solicitor. The sheer unlikelihood that a faxed document was tampered with during its transmission period means that its authenticity is hardly ever called into question.

Traditional faxing machines certainly make it difficult for messages to be hacked, but businesses can enjoy an even greater level of security when they choose cloud faxing – a much more secure and cost-effective technology.

One of the main advantages of cloud faxing is that service providers, like eFax, automatically encrypt all fax messages during and after transmission. At eFax, transmissions are encrypted with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols, which means documents are always 100% protected.

With online faxing services, a delivery receipt is always sent to the sender upon delivery confirmation. They are also always marked with a time and date stamp, which displays the exact hour it was sent. While this may seem like a somewhat minor detail, in the judiciary system this receipt is proof positive that a document was sent and received at a certain time. This type of the irrefutable evidence is invaluable to a legal team when putting their case together.

How Fax Prevents Fraudulent Online Activity

As mentioned previously, the authenticity of evidence is often called into question during legal proceedings. Thanks to advances in technology, attachments and messages sent via email can be doctored relatively easily. However, documents sent by fax are a lot harder to manipulated, meaning their credibility, especially when they contain a signature, is almost always guaranteed.

Under contract law, signatures are needed to confirm an agreement between two parties. In business, contracts are often agreed upon and signed by parties in two different locations. To get a legally binding “wet ink” signature, fax is often used to send documents from one party to another.

A faxed signature is legally recognised as valid and is often used to confirm or approve many business and financial deals. If a contractual agreement is broken, and there is a denial that any agreement took place, a fax of the original signed document is deemed to be sufficient evidence in court.

A common misconception is that only an “original” signature is submissible in court. However, when it comes to faxed documents, this is not the case. If your business currently relies on traditional technology, now is the perfect time to make the switch to cloud faxing – the modern way to fax.

What is Cloud Faxing?

Cloud faxing enables your business to enjoy the reliability and security of fax, with the convenience of email. And when you sign up to a service provider, like eFax, your company can instantly enjoy an encrypted and speedy service.

With eFax, you’ll never have to use your legacy machine again. Instead, all of your fax messages are sent securely via email. Watch as your office’s productivity is increased, while your bottom line costs decrease.

You can now wave goodbye to paper jams and signal delays. Instead, watch as faxes are sent instantly from desktop – all the while enjoying the same level of security that we associate with traditional faxing.

If you’re interested in learning how internet faxing can help your business, why not call or email us today to learn about eFax’s competitively priced plans?