Dean Herr

Secure scanning your documents

How secure is scanning to email?

If your biggest client wanted to do a document security audit on your scanning processes, how would you fare? Are all of your employees following a secure scanning technique? In many industries today, such as health, finance, and title it is pivotal that large files be scanned and forwarded on to the next person. When it comes to scanning and the different methods, the one most commonly used is scan to email. This in itself has some inherent problems, let’s take a look at what could potentially go wrong.


File Size:

Although this is a potential stumbling block, it generally isn’t a security threat. Have you ever tried to scan a document that was hundreds of pages? Take a look at the file size! Most email servers are capable or are throttled to limit the attachment file size. What do you do if you have a file that cannot be emailed through normal procedures? There are many services that have the capability to handle such requests and they normally require a slight fee to use them, some are even free.

How they work:

Using your connected copier, MFP, or stand-alone scanner you can simply send your request directly to a central folder location which has a virtually limitless capability. After receiving the document the end user is notified via email which has a contained link to perform a download. It’s a great way to thwart those email size limitations.

File Security:

This is the hot button topic that really needs to be addressed in today’s scan everything business world we live in. Imagine if you will, you walk up to your local copier with sensitive documents in hand, hit the scan button and send them to yourself via email. Assuming your internal email server has some sort of encryption, once it leaves your premises all bets are off. With the technology that we have today, there are some ways to reassure your clients their data is safe.

  1. Password Protect your documents

    – Most scanners today have the ability to password protect the document with the system. Placing a password on your attached document allows for the recipient to have said password prior to opening the document. This doesn’t mean the document is encrypted, just that the proper person can open the document.

  2. Password Protect with Encryption

    – One step better than above! Protecting your documents with a password along with utilizing an SSL encryption method to make the document less susceptible to breach.

  3. 3rd party forwarding service:

    This system is generally the most effective and auditable approach, and if you have clients that request an audit trail, the only cost effective method available. Just as the large file scenario above, this system works exactly the same way with full encryption. Your end users will receive the document via an email link, be forced to login with credentials and with relative certainty you can be assured the right person received your documents.

There are many services out there to choose from. Some are meant solely for the “home” user and some are geared more towards “business use. For business use, I personally like Biscom, their level of customer service is second to none, the pricing models are fair, and the system just works!

Making sure you have a system that works seamlessly with your copier/MFP is also very important. Let’s face it, you want to send your documents as quickly and securely as possible without having to jump through hoops to get things done!

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