Faxing is outdated, right? In reality, faxing is just as important to businesses as it ever was. A new generation of fax technology is on the rise.
In a digital world where smartwatches, 4K live streaming and virtual reality meetings are becoming commonplace, the idea of faxing your business's documents seems more than dated – it seems like ancient history. Indeed, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC – home to an array of historical artifacts – made a point of including fax machines.
While fax machines have certainly earned their place in technological history, faxing as a file-sharing process should not be confined to the past just yet. In fact, for many businesses, faxing is more important than ever. How can this possibly be the case? Why, in 2018, would your business still need to send faxes?
Japan and Israel are two very different cultures. Just as Tel Aviv is not famous for its sushi, neither is Tokyo renowned for its hummus. Yet, these two distinct cultures share one common practice: the need to fax. In both countries, faxing is still considered utterly essential. The vast majority of businesses still use faxes, and anyone wishing to communicate with them effectively would be wise to adopt their document-sharing strategies. These are just two examples, but many nations use faxing for important file-sharing.
File-sharing isn't the only reason why many businesses send faxes. Here are four other reasons why many businesses transmit documents via fax.
1. Faxing is essential for regulated industries.
Partly out of fear of cybercrime and partly just because it's the way things are done, many highly regulated industries, such as legal firms, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, government bodies, etc., only accept hard copies of legal documents. An e-signature might be enough for some people, but the legality of an e-signature is not universally recognized, and there are many people who don't want to take the risk.
For a signed document to hold up in court, it must contain a genuine signature. As a result, any business documents that are involved in a legal dispute – contracts, deeds, sales and agreements – should be faxed. In terms of legal disputes, timestamps and dates can also be important, as they may provide evidence in cases or disagreements as to when documentation was sent and acquired. Email or mailed documentation doesn't offer the same level of confirmation. Cloud-faxing software, however, offers an accurate method of supplying the date and time of document transmission, thus ensuring authenticity. [Read related article: Best Online Fax Services for Small Business]
Cloud faxing is much quicker than emailing as well, which is important if there is urgency around the sharing of crucial legal documents. Need something signed immediately? Send the online fax, have it signed and have it returned. Send a file via email as an attachment, and your client must download it, print it, sign it, scan it, uploaded it and resend it. In situations where you need to get important documents signed and sent off quickly, streamlining this process can make all the difference.
2. Faxing helps protect your business against cybercrime.
For businesses sharing sensitive files and documentation, emails are notoriously unsafe. Passwords are easily bypassed, and data encryption is a small comfort when hackers have their sight set on your business. Research suggests nearly half of all email accounts have been compromised at some point. Would-be data thieves are very familiar with platforms such as Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.
However, business faxes offer a way around such vulnerability.
To compromise a file sent by fax, hackers must attack at the point of transmission, meaning they must be aware of the exact time a file is sent. If the file is sent using modern fax technology, they also have to contend with data encryption protocols and unique security measures specific to the cloud-faxing software – a system most hackers will be unfamiliar with.
After internal emails from Sony Pictures were leaked by North Korean cyberterrorists in 2014, one of the company's top executives revealed that he now uses fax instead of email to ensure he isn't hacked again. This may seem overcautious, but given the vulnerability of email and the relative security of fax, it's not an unreasonable response.
3. Faxing doesn't always involve fax machines.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that in order to send a fax, you need a fax machine. But faxing has evolved since its inception in the mid-1800s. Technology has introduced cloud faxing, a fresh take on the old formula and a new-age solution to faxing limitations.
Cloud faxing meshes digital technology and faxing. It is made possible by software on a computer or smart device. It allows you to edit digital documents to include genuine signatures required for many businesses processes through the use of touchscreens or e-signature technology. You can also use cameras or scanners to create a digital version of a document that needs to be transmitted. This file can then be sent to other cloud fax technology services or old-style fax machines.
Businesses who use such technology have the versatility of both sending and receiving faxes from any business, regardless of whether they use the digital format or a traditional machine. Cloud faxing reduces resource wastage (no need for multiple machines, excess paper or toner) yet maintains maximum business connectivity.
Online faxing is the 21st-century answer to the demands of old technology. You don't need a fax machine to send faxes anymore, but faxing can be a critical part of your business strategy.
4. You operate an international brand.
Given the popularity of faxing within global business cultures, those businesses that seek to operate on the world stage must be prepared to accommodate the practices and cultures of other countries. Failure to do so impedes your ability to succeed on an international level. Business faxing might just be the key to unlocking your overseas potential.