Before emails came along, the fax machine dominated business communication. In general use by the beginning of the 80s, faxing was faster than regular mail and there was no opportunity for it to be intercepted or tampered with along the way.
These attributes still apply to faxes, even though many companies are now taking their faxing online, where email to fax capability combines faxes and emails to create the ideal communication method.
Here’s a look at why faxes still remain important to business and the changes that have developed since widespread use of the internet began in the early 90s.
Faxes remain a secure way of communicating
Email seems pretty secure, but in fact it’s not automatically encrypted, which means anyone hacking into your system can see your emails straight away. On the other hand, faxes using phone lines are harder to hack, and online faxing is encrypted, which means that it’s near impossible for a hacker to decipher a document.
Another issue with unencrypted emails is the risk of a virus riding in as an attachment and infecting your computer. But with an encrypted digital fax system, incoming faxes are stored on a server. When an email link to the document is clicked, it displays the document over a secure SSI connection. And because these email to fax documents are encrypted, they cannot be blocked or spammed like a regular email.
Advantages of online faxing over traditional methods
Traditional fax machines need constant monitoring for incoming faxes, for paper, for ink, for maintenance. On top of this is the cost of fax line rental. Online faxing overcomes all these obstacles and lets you send a fax online by using your existing email client and the internet. Cloud storage is free, so once the fax is sent it’s stored in a secure location in the cloud for future reference. Not only faxes, but any large files can be stored online using cloud-based technology from companies like eFax.
Sending faxes from your smartphone
There is an app for everything today – including faxes. With a virtual fax number, you can harness the power of your smartphone to send and receive faxes no matter where you are. You can even scan images of contracts, invoices or personal documents into your phone using its camera, then fax them to a traditional fax machine or another phone or PC with online fax capability. You can add a digitised signature and a cover sheet as well, just as you would with a fax machine, but without the risk of leaving sensitive documents on the machine so anyone in the office can see them.
Finally, the fax machine is still used by lawyers because the T.30 fax protocol that governs the resolution, size and transmission rate of a fax meets the legal requirements of custodianship; that is, no third party can intervene with the data to alter it in any way. It’s reassuring to know that, updated for the digital era, the fax continues to be a safe and reliable way to exchange information.