Common RightFax Support Questions: What’s the Big Deal about Outbound Fax Security?

After last week’s discussion of inbound faxing and HIPAA, it’s time to turn our attention to the outbound side of things. Besides the usual precautions about keeping fax machines physically locked away to guard PHI, HIPAA has special requirements for the security of outbound transmissions.

More specifically, the law requires reasonable safeguards to ensure the correct information is sent to the correct recipient. For instance, the American Medical Association recommends that offices “verify the recipient’s fax number and use a cover sheet that does not include protected health information.” Unfortunately, this is hard to enforce, and verification of new or seldom-used fax numbers poses a particular challenge.

In recent years, it was found that a California hospital had faxed records to several wrong locations. In an even more egregious instance, one practice sent patient info to an out-of-state businessman for three years before realizing its error! Clearly, conventional faxing is woefully inadequate. And by compounding the growing problem of health information theft, it makes security far harder than it has to be!

What Can We Do?

One underlying need in outbound security is the ability to automate the confirmation of all fax numbers before sending. No reliance on human workers matching numbers at a glance, and no possibility of circumventing the ‘rules.’

There’s a straightforward solution to this high-stakes problem. An electronic fax server can incorporate all the above safeguards into a paperless workflow with full EMR-fax integration, both in- and outbound. In accordance with predefined custom business rules, all destination fax numbers can be check against another source (such as a providers / insurers database) to confirm accuracy. More than just avoiding delays due to typos, this approach can mitigate legal risk in a big way. And if / when audit time comes, RightFax users are well prepared with a granular ‘audit trail’ automatically prepared by the fax server. Needless to say, fax encryption options ensure all electronic copies of sent faxes are kept under uncompromising security as well.

The opportunities and requirements around outbound fax security vary from office to office, but one thing is consistent: for every one of our clients, a RightFax deployment has created powerful and cost-effective opportunities to maximize fax-related HIPAA compliance. To learn more about fax project architecture and RightFax support, we invite you to contact a representative at your convenience.

Common RightFax Support Questions: How Does HIPAA Affect Inbound Faxing?

As the majority of our RightFax support clients are in the health care industry, fax security is a perennially critical topic. It is obvious that protected health information (PHI) needs to be handled with great care, but what, exactly, are the legal concerns? The answer depends on whether we’re talking about inbound or outbound faxing, as these present slightly different problems. We’ll discuss the outbound side of things in a later post; for now, let’s a take a look at the legal risks of inbound faxing, and how a fax server reduces them.

Inbound Fax Security

Despite employees’ best efforts to collect faxes as they arrive, the fact is that documents can and do arrive unexpectedly. On a typical fax machine, PHI thus sits out in the open, visible to any and all passers-by, until it is collected and properly filed. HIPAA therefore demands that any unattended fax machine be locked away, accessible only to authorized personnel.

Needless to say, this solution is far from convenient. Physically sequestering an entire inventory of fax machines consumes valuable space and can seriously slow down inbound fax workflows. Even if the inconvenience is surmountable, breaches may be exceedingly hard to detect.

Still more alarmingly, it turns out that run-of-the-mill, low-cost online fax services are not a reliable solution. One insurer learned this the hard way, after its fax service misdirected its U.S. customers’ claims to a firm in Canada! Likewise, an Oregon provider reportedly faxed numerous sensitive documents to an individual’s home over as much as a decade.

And even when information does reach the correct recipient, health information theft has become a booming black-market niche, which makes cutting-edge fax encryption more critical than ever.

Security, Convenience & Cost Savings

With proper configuration and workflow design, an electronic fax server addresses all the above issues. All the security of fax transmission over the PSTN (phone lines) is retained, but document visibility/access risks are eliminated. Incoming faxes are never printed, but go directly to the intended recipients (whether humans or software), without ever being visible to unauthorized parties—no locks or keys needed. Because faxes are 100% digital, a detailed ‘audit trail’ records each time a document is viewed/sent/received. Additionally, operating costs fall quickly due to reductions in manual input and paper/toner consumption.

For more information about secure, HIPAA-compliant fax solutions, RightFax support, and health care workflow consulting services, please contact us at your convenience.

Common RightFax Support Questions: What Is a Remote Board Server?

Cloud faxing solutions like RightFax Connect are rapidly gaining in popularity. However, many users are still running in-house fax servers, but turning to virtualization to reduce administrative burden while increasing recovery capabilities. And as virtual servers have become more common, RightFax functionalities have grown right along with them.

IT departments frequently prefer to virtualize the RightFax server even though the telecom team requires physical, in-house telephony (whether traditional or IP-based). The Remote Board Server/Remote DocTransport Server (RBS/RDS) is a clever way to support such a configuration, by bridging the gap between a virtual machine and physical fax board. Likewise, even if using Fax-over-IP (FoIP), a RBS will also connect RightFax to the the FoIP licenses (which are effectively a virtual fax board). However, please note that the Business and Branch Office editions of RightFax do not support a RBS; this is available only in the Enterprise, Enterprise Suite, and Enterprise Integration licenses.

The RBS setup process is not terribly complicated, but given that it’s usually part of a deployment or major upgrade, working with your RightFax support provider will ensure a quick and reliable configuration. Your RightFax support partner will provide critical guidance on registry backup, dialing rules setup, SQL connections, and other best practices for a robust fax server environment. Notably, there are also some major administrative differences between RBS controls in RightFax 10.5 and previous versions, so even those with prior experience managing a RBS will do well to consult with a professional (as is recommended for all upgrades).

For timely assistance with RBS configuration, upgrades to a virtualization-ready RightFax license, or other matters of RightFax support, please contact us today.

Common RightFax Support Questions: How Can I Add New Phone Numbers to RightFax Connect?

RightFax Connect is one of the most exciting and innovative developments we’ve seen in faxing in quite some time. For anyone who might be unfamiliar, this allows RightFax to support integration between an in-house server and hosted telephony. The goal is to give organizations the best of both worlds: the absolute control of a local server and the nearly instantaneously scalability of cloud-based telecom.

And now that RightFax Connect has come into the picture, server admins might find themselves faced with some new tasks. One such item is adding new phone numbers to the RightFax Connect environment.

It’s a simple task, so in the spirit of flexibility and ease-of-use, OpenText has design a simple solution:

  • Log into connect.rightfax.com
  • Find the Action Menu
  • Click on Manage Fax Numbers
  • Click on the + sign toward the right side of the page
  • Complete the corresponding form
  • …and that’s that!

    If your current fax architecture is fully in-house, then the simplicity of RightFax Connect may make it well worth considering. Connect migrations are often motivated by ease of administration, as well as the possibility to outsource a significant chunk of telecom architecture while retaining in-house fax server management (for regulatory / compliance purposes, for instance).

    To learn more about how RightFax Connects supports an efficient and scalable fax environment, without sacrificing RightFax’s industry-standard security, we encourage you to contact us online or at 877 MY FAXING (877 693-2946).

Common RightFax Support Questions: What Are the Major Technical Changes in RightFax 10.6?

All RightFax support contracts include access to the latest RightFax software version, which is currently 10.6. If your system version has already reached Sustaining Maintenance, then upgrading to a more recent environment will ensure continued access to manufacturer support, patches, and so forth.

On the other hand, if you are running 10.0 or 10.5, then time is on your side, as these versions will be supported through 7/17/2015 and 11/11/2016, respectively. Nonetheless, some RightFax support clients will find the newest technical changes beneficial, and well worth an upgrade even from another supported version.

So, what’s new?

For starters, the latest version of RightFax supports SAP versions ECC 6 EP4 and ECC 7, IBM WebSphere 7 and 7.5, and a number of new MFPs. Administrators will appreciate enhanced settings propagation within a Shared Services Collective (up to 12 servers), support for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, automatic restarting of services for reduced downtime, an improved Web client, and expanded Dialogic SDK compatibility for T.38 configuration.

RightFax 10.6 Feature Pack 1 brings yet more compatibility, with key products including Citrix XenServer 6.2, the latest IBM Notes and Domino 9 platforms, and HTML conversion via Google Chrome. Integration possibilities are even broader thanks to a new Web API SDK, FaxUtil productivity has increased thanks to speedier recent-fax viewing, and RightFax Connect (the RightFax cloud faxing solution) has undergone performance and management improvements.

A host of other security and administrative features have also been debuted or improved upon in RightFax 10.6, some of which (such as the Encryption Module) are so significant that they’re covered in posts of their own.

Meanwhile, our representatives can confirm your RightFax support status and upgrade eligibility, or arrange a complimentary technical consultation with a senior RightFax engineer. To let us know how we can best assist, feel free to contact Paperless Productivity online or at 877 MY FAXING (693-2946).