And Move Faxing to the Cloud
When your business first deployed a fax server architecture, that move probably represented a major improvement in both technological capability and administrative efficiency over your older model of desktop fax machines distributed across the company.
An in-house fax server gives an IT department centralized management and monitoring over the entire enterprise’s faxing. This can help the organization better track employee usage, and more easily maintain records of all faxes for auditing and record-keeping — as well as for regulatory purposes, for those businesses in industries subject to data privacy laws.
Moreover, bringing all company faxing under the centralized control of an in-house fax server can also enhance a company’s data security. Even if a fax transmission over a fax machine is largely secure, the fax process itself still leaves paper documents sitting on fax machines — which can be viewed or picked up by unauthorized personnel.
However, if you and your IT team have been responsible for maintaining an in-house fax infrastructure built on fax servers, you might also have realized that this model has its own serious drawbacks. Here are just a few.
4 Good Reasons it Might be Time to Finally Ditch Your Fax Servers
1. The upfront capital costs are prohibitive and slow to amortize
Fax servers are not the type of IT infrastructure that you can scale up or down to precisely the capacity you need. When your organization’s existing server reaches the limits of its capacity, you have to make a difficult binary decision: Continue pushing your luck with the server you have, or purchase a new server — often at the cost of thousands of dollars for the hardware alone. The fax software will cost thousands more, and maintenance will be tacked on as a percentage of the software cost. Then there are the telecom interface cards that can cost additional thousands, not to mention electricity and cooling costs.
Let’s say you do decide not to risk pushing your single fax server beyond its limits, and leaving your staff without fax capability when it finally fails. Because your staff isn’t likely to use the new server’s full capacity right away — after all, you were only recently getting by with just one — that means you are unlikely to amortize the upfront capital costs for the server for some time.
2. The not so hidden costs of telco lines
Because they are unseen, it is easy to forget that Faxes still need to be transmitted over analog or digital telephone lines, which can run $50 or more per month for a single analog line (on which you can send only one fax at a time), and $300 or more per month for a digital, multi-channel T1, at each location. Telecom costs are an additional recurring ‘hard-dollar’ expense that could be easily eliminated by converging fax traffic along with everything else over the Internet access network.
3. Maintaining fax servers requires IT resources diverted from more important projects
Another substantial cost of maintaining in-house fax servers is the time and focus of your IT team that will be required to maintain these machines, train employees on their use, and troubleshoot them when things go wrong. (Enterprise fax servers, even the really good ones, are notorious for crashing and requiring IT to reboot them.)
Tracking the fax software powering your servers, so your team knows when it’s time to upgrade to newer versions, also takes time and focus. And because fax servers in a busy enterprise can reach capacity more quickly than you might realize, you’ll also need to devote some IT time to monitoring usage and looking for spikes in demand or a general upward trend in staff faxing needs.
These soft costs are more difficult to quantify than the hard-dollar costs we mentioned earlier. But they are costs to your business, nonetheless. And perhaps their biggest toll will be in pulling important IT resources away from forward-looking company initiatives.
4. Fax servers aren’t as secure as you might think
Yet another drawback of in-house fax servers is that they can leave gaps in your company’s fax security.
For example, when an enterprise fax server’s hard drive reaches capacity, standard procedure is for an administrator to “purge” the contents — which often means printing out the fax records for filing. This can create security vulnerabilities similar to those of a desktop fax machine — such as documents being misplaced or viewed by unauthorized personnel.
Additionally, many fax servers do not encrypt their hard drive’s data effectively, which creates another security weak point for the company — which can be particularly concerning if the fax server is connected to the organization’s network and that network is hacked.
Moreover, these security vulnerabilities can be even more troubling for any company that handle personally identifiable information that falls under the protection of data privacy laws — such as healthcare organizations regulated by HIPAA, or financial institutions overseen by GLBA.
For all of these reasons — and many more — now might be a good time to retire your fax servers, and move to a more secure, streamlined and cost-effective model for your enterprise faxing. The best solution available today is a fully hosted cloud fax model from eFax Corporate.
Cloud Faxing: How Smart Businesses Fax
With eFax Corporate, your company can receive, view, edit, sign and send faxes all by email. No printing. No waiting at the office fax machine. And no delays in responding to a client or partner because your team didn’t get to the fax quickly enough. We will send you and your team faxes by email, and you’ll be able to fax back immediately, also by email, from anywhere.
Another great advantage of a cloud fax service with eFax Corporate is that your company can operate on a pay-as-you-go scale. Rather than having to purchase a new fax server and pay for full usage of another series of dedicated fax telecommunications lines, with eFax you will pay only for the faxing bandwidth you need. You can scale up, and scale down, as often as necessary. With a cloud faxing model, if your fax usage declines over time, so will your costs.
Finally, upgrading your fax infrastructure to we will significantly lower your company’s faxing costs, free your IT team up for more important tasks than fax maintenance, and improve your company’s regulatory compliance when it comes to data privacy.
Now, let’s run through the expense reduction check list one more time to recap the savings that can immediately be realized by moving to a cloud fax solution:
- Fax server hardware – gone!
- Fax server software – gone!
- Fax server maintenance – gone!
- Fax server telco cards – gone!
- POTS and T1 lines – gone!
- Space, power & cooling – gone, gone, gone!
The savings from retiring your fax servers can easily add up to 10s of thousands of dollars over a 3-year life-cycle.
These are just some of the reasons that for 20 years eFax Corporate has been the most successful cloud fax service in the world. They also help explain why we remain the cloud fax partner of choice for heavily regulated industries and why more Fortune 500 firms use eFax Corporate than any other cloud service for their mission-critical businesses faxing.
Learn more about how eFax Corporate can help your company tighten up your fax security, meet compliance requirements, and improve your overall fax productivity.