Fax documents are still used by many businesses and organisations around the world to communicate vital pieces of information. The use of fax offers your business many advantages, including diverse accessibility, legal authenticity and convenience.
While you want to send fax, fax machines are archaic pieces of technology that do not benefit your brand. Their use within your business can present a myriad of unwelcome disadvantages, such as security weaknesses, low cost-efficiency and poor reliability.
Online faxing presents your business with the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of fax communication without the problems associated with outdated fax machines. Axe the fax machine but not the fax.
Fax machines have been around since the 1800s, although they only really became prevalent after their mass production in the 1970s. Whichever way you look at it, though, it's hard not to consider fax machines as old technology.
The legendary Nokia 3210 — a mobile handset many would now consider ancient tech — was released in 1999; decades after the fax machine rose to prominence. To give you an even greater perspective on the age of the technology, fax machines are displayed as historic technology in the National Museum of American History. Surely, then, fax machines are not something your business should be concerned with.
Despite its age, fax continues to be an important part of communication for businesses across the world.
Billions of fax documents are transmitted annually, with numbers holding steady year on year. This is in part because faxing remains highly popular in many international economies, such as Japan, as well as that it has become deeply entrenched in many industries and sectors. The NHS, for example, maintains over 8,000 fax machine units. Removing the technology would mean an expensive overhaul of its communication systems, so instead, the technology remains; a statement that can be applied to many other areas. It’s because of this that without the ability to fax, businesses are unable to offer the comprehensive communication functionality required to connect with organisations and brands all over the globe.
Besides enabling important lines of communication, fax has a handful of other significant benefits. Of particular note is its ability to support the authenticity of legal documentation. Due to the methodology of submission, fax documents are considered more viable in legal processes than emailed files, especially when it comes to signatures and dates.
So that settles the argument, doesn’t it? In answer to the question “Do I need a fax machine?”, the answer is obviously yes.
But hold on.
The reality of fax machine technology is that it is — to quote healthcare secretary Matt Hancock — part of a downright dangerous system that jeopardises security and efficiency. Fax machines are notorious when it comes to data protection and compliance with data protection laws. It’s all too easy to accidentally fax the wrong person the wrong information and end up in breach of the law. Fax transmission errors are the second most common cause of data breaches when considered in the context of human error. In fact, the only more common issue is lost or misplaced paperwork, which also happens as a result of fax machines producing paper documentation unnecessarily.
Other major problems with fax machines are that they are all-too-easily hacked, they cost your business excessive resources and they greatly reduce efficiency. In short, the technology is just not suited for modern business. It was built to support practices that are now long-gone.
Consider the fax machine the steam train of the communication world. While the infrastructure is still there to support it, it’s had its day and as an entity, it was long overdue a change. If we simply got rid of the steam train without replacing it, the transport network would have crumbled. Trains are necessary, but the steam train had to go.
How does this relate to fax and fax machines? Because fax must remain, but like the steam train, the vehicle must be replaced.
Online faxing is the evolution of the fax machine. It allows businesses to send and receive fax documents — even from fax machines — without the need for the outdated hardware. All transmissions are handled digitally and submitted through the internet. Fax is sent using the eFax online portal or fax app.
What this means for your business is that you can introduce or maintain fax communication. You can take advantage of all the benefits of fax, from international data sharing to enhanced legal document authenticity, without any of the associated disadvantages that come with ownership of outdated fax machines.
While many call for industries to “axe the fax” — this process is entirely unnecessary and even harmful. Just as with the steam train and rail network, it’s time to upgrade the current fax system without totally removing a powerful piece of infrastructure that is actually highly beneficial.
Axe the fax machine, but not the fax.