Sfax review: Expensive, with HIPPA-compliant fax options for medical pros

A flexible interface and multi-user support make Sfax a good choice for businesses concerned about compliance

sfax review
Editor's Choice

Tom's Guide Verdict

While its HIPAA compliance targets specific industries, Sfax’s flexible interface and multiple user support makes it a good choice for businesses who need these features, and are willing to pay the price.

Pros

  • +

    HIPAA-compliant (mid-range tier)

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    Annotate documents and apply digital signatures

  • +

    Unlimited users at entry tier

Cons

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    No faxing from e-mail

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    Storage limited to one year

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    Only supports faxing in U.S. and Canada

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Just by reading the Sfax’s own description, it’s clear the service targets an audience that is a bit more specialized than many of the best online fax services out there. Scrypt, which provides the Sfax cloud faxing service, has worked in health care for almost two decades. So it makes sense that Sfax would distinguish itself by underscoring its HIPAA compliance.

Since our last look at Sfax, that’s even more true: Scrypt has doubled-down on its health care focus, with new features such as integration with Citrix Sharefile for Healthcare. (Note that Scrypt and Sfax are now owned by Consensus Cloud Solutions, which also operates MetroFax, MyFax and Efax Plus.)

Cloud fax services are required to sign a BAA (Business Associate Agreement) to be considered HIPAA compliant. And a HIPAA-compliant cloud service provider must have accountability for its data storage and recovery policies. Medical offices and individuals who actively use fax to retain their own medical data outside of the realm of a personal health record will find this service appealing. Sfax provides audit trails for HIPPA documents as well as annotations and digital signatures.

Sfax review: Pricing

Sfax's pricing is definitely geared toward a professional audience. Plans start at $29 per month for 350 pages. For 700, it costs $49, and scales up to $99 for the Contender account with 1,500 pages per month. Annual pricing gives one month free. 

All plans include a toll-free number. BAAs are available starting at the $49 tier.

By comparison, WestFax Secure Fax charges $39.95 for 1,500 pages with a BAA. SRFax, another faxing service that touts its HIPAA compliance, is even cheaper with its Healthcare Lite plan starting at $10.95 a month for 200 pages.

Free Trial: Sfax is one of the rare services that still has a trial, for 14 days; you will need to provide a credit card when you sign up, though.

Sfax review: Setup

Once you've provided your credit card to begin your free trial, you'll need to verify the account via the link sent to your email; from there, configuration is easy and friendly. The interface offers clearly differentiated text and colors to guide you — two surprising finds in the graphically challenged, staid world of cloud fax services.

You’ll choose a username and password, get your toll-free number (you can opt to port an existing number, if you prefer), and config your timezone and when you want notifications delivered via email (upon receipt, delivery or if the fax failed). You can then review your info, print it and set up the security options. Those options are copious — another differentiator of this service. Of particular note: You can add additional users (unlimited maximum), and even control the fax permissions for those users. 

Sfax review: User interface

The web interface for Sfax is one of the more visually attractive and intuitive I’ve seen. It has a handy nav sidebar and hierarchy that makes visual sense. The navigational elements are simple graphics fixed beneath the Sfax logo: Fax inbox, contacts, cover pages, library and settings. Beneath these core nav icons, the menus change with the context of the selected option, as does the display at right. For example, the Fax inbox has a nested file-folder structure, and the ability to show faxes by date and to search both incoming and sent faxes. These are powerful options, regardless of your fax business.

Sfax has added the ability to search subfolders with the inbox and to search both incoming and sent faxes simultaneously; previously, you could do so only by folder. These features are powerful, useful, and distinguish Sfax from the competition.

For businesses, it’s terrific to have multiple cover pages stored for different purposes.

You can import a CSV contacts file, or add contacts manually. For businesses, it’s terrific to have multiple cover pages stored for different purposes, all clearly visible at a glance.

The document library is the final core differentiator here: Upload documents you know will be sent often — say a release form or information about a procedure — and even edit those documents with Sfax as needed. While I focused on the Sfax web interface, the service has a downloadable Mac and Windows print drivers, so you can print a document to the Sfax service.

Sfax review: Sending and receiving

The Sfax web interface is straightforward. Add the recipient phone number, or select a recipient from the contacts; upload your file(s) or choose a document from the library; select the cover page; and hit send. Unlike other services, you can’t send a fax via email.

The interface here could have been a bit clearer, though: On our first send, I forgot to add a subject for the cover page, just because it wasn’t as visually differentiated. Also, the send button stays fixed at the top of page, a little odd considering your attention is at the bottom of the Web page. I received a prompt confirmation email after a successful fax transmission. Likewise, I received email notifying me of inbound faxes, with a link to the fax in the Sfax cloud inbox.

Sfax review: File support

Sfax can handle the usual complement of document and images file formats for sending faxes: .DOC, .DOCX, .XLS, .XLXS, .PPT, .ODT, ODS, .ODP, .RTG, .PDF and .TXT,  as well as .BMP, .TIF, .GIF, .JPG and .PNG.

Sfax review: Mobile app

Sfax also has an iOS app (opens in new tab), but not an Android app. The iOS app hasn’t been updated since 2018, though, and still lists Sfax’s prior owner, J2 Global, as the manufacturer. The app lets you send and manage faxes. It has a clear design, with customizable file-folder structure and the ability to send directly from the camera roll as well. The iOS app is HIPAA-compliant, which we’d expect given Sfax’s niche specialty.

Sfax review: Verdict

Sfax remains a highly scalable and versatile fax service, but it’s also one of the pricier options. With its HIPAA-compliant plans and digital signature, Sfax targets specific industries. And its flexible interface and multiple user support makes it a good choice for businesses who need these features, and are willing to pay the price. 

Melissa Perenson is a freelance writer. She has reviewed the best tax software for Tom's Guide for several years, and has also tested out fax software, among other things. She spent more than a decade at PC World and TechHive, and she has freelanced for numerous publications including Computer Shopper, TechRadar and Consumers Digest.