Are Business Faxes a Thing of the Past?

Are Business Faxes a Thing of the Past?

As you look around and see smartphones and tablets everywhere, you might assume things like fax machines are ancient history. Why would businesses still use a fax machine when they could scan documents and send them over email? It might surprise you to learn that most small and medium sized companies still use some form of business faxes as part of their daily operations. In fact, nearly 75% of communications in the medical field are sent via fax. Before you decide whether or not to throw away your fax machine, we’ll share the pros and cons of using a fax machine, and possible alternatives to try.

Problems with Faxes

Fax machines, just like printers, are susceptible to getting jammed, preventing a fax from printing, or causing it to print strangely. On occasion, a fax won’t go through because someone else is using the phone line, causing a busy signal. When this happens, you have to try again later. When a wrong number is used, the fax will be sent to the wrong location. If your toner is out of ink, faxes can come out blurry or completely illegible. Last of all, between the price of paper, toner, and the machine itself, the cost of using a fax machine can add up.

If there are so many downsides of sending a fax, why do you businesses continue to do it?

Security

Sending information over a fax machine better prevents cyber criminals from accessing that information. Emails can be hacked, but in order to intercept a fax, you’d need to tap the phone line. This is much more difficult and less likely to occur.

Tradition & Convenience

Although the younger generation is changing the landscape of many workplaces, there are still a majority of workers who have been using fax machines for years. They know how to use them and feel comfortable doing so. In order to send a signed document, you need to print it, sign it, then scan and send it back via email. This process is much quicker with a fax machine. You can use digital signatures, but in some areas, only a real signature is allowed.

Government or Industry Regulations

Specific guidelines, such a HIPAA, require patient records to remain confidential. Fax is usually considered to be a more secure method of sending information, which is why fax machines are still used within the medical and judicial system.

Paper Trail

Fax machines also provide proof of receipt, which is very helpful for lawyers that need official verification surrounding when a document was sent and received.

Customer Preference

Some countries around the world don’t have reliable internet, and must use fax machines that use phone lines. If you need to do business with companies based in these countries, you may need to do so via fax.

Fax Machine Alternative

You can send virtual faxes using your computer if you don’t want to invest in an actual fax machine. There are several online fax services to choose from. This service can be used at individual desktops, allowing employees to have their own virtual faxes. A dedicated fax line isn’t required because every phone line within the office can be used as a fax line.

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