How the shift to cloud-based faxing is ensuring fax will stay around – for years to come
Have you sent a fax lately? A lot of us may answer no, or perhaps recommend just sending whatever document you have by email or from a multi-function printer as an email attachment. The blogosphere and pundits alike have declared the ‘death of fax’ for many years now. But, much to the contrary, faxing is not dead, and indeed, according toDavidson Consulting, faxing is much alive – and in fact growing. For example, Davidson reports that there are 100 billion faxes send worldwide every year and that the market for fax services is forecast to grow at a notable 15.2% compound annual growth rate through 2017. Not too shabby.
But sending a fax – really? With so many alternatives available like cloud-based shared folders, FTP, and even Internet of Things (IoT) ‘wearable’ technologies, why are we still using fax, and why is it still alive? Well, if you’ve had to refinance your house, provide a ‘wet ink’ signature on a legal document on behalf of an enterprise or small business – you know the ‘why’. However, there are some other very pertinent reasons why fax isn’t going away anytime soon that your business or enterprise should be aware of.
Here’s five reasons why faxing is still very much alive and will continue to be a mission critical mode of document conveyance for consumers and businesses worldwide.
1. Technology. The wave of cloud services and other public cloud offerings has driven a big shift from the way businesses and consumers consume and share information. The evolution to cloud-based services has enabled an ‘anywhere, anytime’ usage model where music, documents and data sharing can be done via any internet connected device. Cloud faxing is no exception. With email-based faxing over cloud networks, for example, electronic faxing is as easy as sending an email – from any connected internet device or multi-function device/printer.
2. Global Reach. While new cloud technologies continue to evolve, faxing is still recognized as a central means of business communications worldwide since no single technology has superseded faxing. In fact, many businesses are adapting a cloud-based fax model that simplifies their existing workflows with email-based faxing with the added benefit of eliminating the need to maintaining fax servers, telco lines, maintenance agreements, etc.
3. Audit and Delivery Confirmation. If your business is in a highly regulated sector likehealthcare, finance or legal, you may very well be aware of the implications of compliance issues such as HIPAA, HITECH, SSAE 16, Sarbanes-Oxley or Graham-Leach-Bliley to name a few. Unlike email or mobile text messaging, with electronic faxing, the receiving fax must acknowledge that the document was received successfully. This notification is proof that your document was delivered successfully. This transactional audit trail data is a critical component to an overall compliance strategy.
4. Secure. Modern cloud-based fax providers can provide the most secure faxtransmissions by enabling TLS encryption (Transport Layer Security) protocol, delivering enhanced security for peace of mind that your documents are protected by NIST-standard level encryption. As an added measure of security, the documents themselves can be stored with Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit encryption while at rest on cloud networks. A nice advantage over basic email.
5. Ubiquity. Because electronic faxing has established a foothold worldwide with a universally accepted protocol, fax technology (cloud or physical fax machines) is ubiquitous and is deeply integrated into business processes, such as transferring medical records or financial information. Cloud faxing has adapted with the technology to integrate into core businesses systems such as Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems using flexibleApplication Programming Interfaces (APIs). Businesses also receive the added benefit of eliminating the maintenance and overhead of on-premise fax servers and systems.
As Mark Twain once said after his death was erroneously reported in the New York Times “…the report of my death has been grossly exaggerated.” The same is true with fax. Fax isn’t dead – it’s just evolving with the times.