With all that in mind, many people are left wondering why faxing still exists. Amid all those advancements in communication, how is faxing still relevant? As it turns out, not all advancements are truly a step forward once all is said and done. Because of that, cloud fax services and similar solutions are actually gaining ground rather than losing steam. Let’s take a look at why that’s the case here in the ever-growing digital age.
First off, it’s important to explore just how relevant faxing still is in the worlds of business and communication. Not very long ago, experts predicted fax machines would fade from existence following the advent of email and additional digital alternatives for sending documents. In contrast, the majority of companies say their faxing efforts have increased by approximately 25 percent each year. Most insist they’ll continue along those lines during the years to come.
Some businesses are falling back on traditional fax machines. Of course, even in the arena of faxing, advancements have been made. That means new solutions are available to those who hold fast to this method of communication. As such, quite a few businesses are forging into the future without having to let go of their tried-and-true document-sending strategy.
That brings us to the reasons so many businesses and individuals continue to fax despite the continually growing range of communication options. These arguments in favor of both traditional and digital faxing are more plentiful than many people may think. They’re also incredibly valid testimonies to why the old ways and their modern-day evolutions are sometimes the best solutions.
One of the main reasons people continue to fax is really quite simple. When you send a fax, you receive a confirmation page in return. This document proves the faxed document was sent and received. It also provides the date, time, and numbers of both the senders and the recipients.
There’s no waiting, wondering, and worrying about whether the documents made their way to the proper recipients. It’s impossible for the recipients to deny that they received the documents. Recipients don’t have to sit at their computers, constantly refreshing their emails until crucial paperwork comes through, and there’s no chance of those documents somehow landing in their spam folders where they could go unnoticed. A lot can be said for the value of instant, irrefutable confirmation.
Any number of things could go wrong when sending documents the conventional ways. Physical letters could easily get lost in the mail. They could even be stolen out of an unlocked mailbox or accidentally shredded by the post office’s sorting equipment.
Human couriers take time and can be expensive. Unfortunately, they can also be prone to error. They may even be involved in accidents on their way to their delivery points. If so, sensitive documents could be left behind in the chaos, never to be seen again.
As touched upon earlier, email isn’t a surefire delivery method, either. People overlook emails or outright ignore them. Senders often inadvertently direct emails to the wrong addresses. Emails can be thwarted by spam filters and other security measures. Sometimes, they apparently get lost in cyberspace and never reach their intended destinations.
Faxes are direct. They go from senders to recipients’ fax numbers with no stops or diversions in between. They don’t get destroyed, filtered out, lost, redirected, or overlooked.
Analog fax machines of the past weren’t always the most secure document-sending pathways. Wrongdoers figured out how to intercept messages being sent over phone lines, and they took advantage of that knowledge. That’s still the case today with the right software and other equipment though quite a few hackers ignore the analog world altogether at this point.
When it comes to digital faxing, security isn’t an issue. Faxes are heavily encrypted before being sent, and they’re not decrypted until they reach their recipients. Should hackers manage to intercept a digitally faxed message, they’ll receive nothing more than senseless jumbles of characters with no way to sort them out.
At the same time, electronic faxing isn’t vulnerable to malware, ransomware, and other threats that could make sending documents via other methods risky. Recipients can also choose whether to have electronic faxes sent to their emails, fax machines, or other platforms. That means they can essentially choose their levels of security based on the nature of the incoming documents. From a non-digital perspective, wrongdoers can’t simply swipe documents from digital fax machines the way they can from mailboxes or analog machines.
Another reason faxing is still relevant and widely used is its universality. Users don’t have to be equipped with identical networks or faxing platforms to be able to take advantage of this technology. Those who still use analog fax machines can send paperwork to digital ones and vice versa. Cloud-based fax systems work with on-premise versions. Businesses can use their preferred faxing method without sacrificing their reach.
Versatility also expands well beyond those basic concepts. Faxes can be sent from analog machines to smartphones. Smartphones can send them to computers. Faxes can be sent and received through email, physical servers, and other means. Fax machines are even available with both analog and digital capabilities. With all those choices on the table, why eliminate the option of communicating via fax?
In some industries, faxing has long been the norm. In fact, it’s still required in many cases. That’s certainly true in healthcare. Electronic health records have replaced physical ones these days, and they have the capacity to revolutionize the medical sector. Having said that, an ever-growing range of EHR platforms is on the market, and many of them simply don’t dovetail with others. That makes sharing patients’ information among HIPAA-covered organizations a bit difficult.
Email can, technically, be considered HIPAA compliant, but extensive security measures must be put into place to meet the requirements. It’s not always a practical or cost-effective solution. While sending sensitive paperwork among members of the medical field is allowed via snail mail, simply stamping those documents and sending them on their way is prohibited. This must be done using certified or first-class mail. Again, it’s not the most suitable option. Faxing medical documents with compliant fax services is faster, simpler, and more secure.
Healthcare isn’t the only sector that routinely continues to rely on faxing. It’s prevalent in government, the legal field, and the financial sector as well. Manufacturing companies and other types of businesses adhere to this solution, too. It’s safer, less expensive, and more convenient than the other options.
We’ve referred to speed, convenience, simplicity, and security multiple times. It’s only logical that businesses continue to fax because of those factors. It’s an instant way to communicate, forward documents, make changes to paperwork, gather signatures, and carry out other tasks. It’s also a surefire method of delivery that isn’t likely to be compromised.
Matters are becoming ever more complicated in the business world no matter which industry you’re operating in. As technology grows and security threats follow suit, that’s not going to change. Why wouldn’t companies take advantage of a tried-and-true solution that helps eliminate some of the burdens? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?
While computer-based communications like email are extremely versatile, they’re not all-inclusive. That leaves numerous gaps to be filled. If you need to send a hand-drawn schematic or a personalized, hand-written note to a recipient, doing so via email is a drawn-out process. It requires scanning, file attachment, and possibly additional measures.
Acquiring authenticated signatures through conventional means could entail numerous time-consuming exchanges. That’s also the case with fine-tuning contracts and making other official changes to documents. One person handles the documents, has them delivered to another, and the process continues until all the details are ironed out. This could take days or even weeks.
Being able to communicate with the right recipients and ensuring documents reach their intended targets should be considered as well. When sending paperwork via snail mail, what happens if you don’t know the recipient’s address? How do you send an email to the appropriate recipients if you don’t have their email addresses? What if you don’t know the name of the person to whom the documents should be sent?
Faxing can eliminate all those problems. Hand-written pieces can simply be fed into fax machines. Changes can be made to paperwork and instantly forwarded as needed. Documents with legally binding signatures can be sent and received in the blink of an eye. Faxes can be addressed to businesses, unnamed department heads, and other more general recipients, and they’ll still reach their desired destinations. All you need to make it happen is a valid fax number.
All those points bring us back around to another simple but perfectly valid reason faxing hasn’t faded from existence. As long as people continue to accept this technology, it will remain relevant. It’s comfortable, universal, and widespread. Since it’s growing rather than waning, that’ll continue to be the case well into the future no matter what types of technological advancements come along.
Quite a few experts were certain faxing would be obsolete by now. They’ve obviously been proven wrong. From securely forwarding sensitive documents to instantly sharing paperwork with colleagues and clients, faxing serves numerous purposes in the world of communication. At mFax, we’ve been on the leading edge of the modern-day faxing phenomenon from the beginning. We’re here to fulfill businesses’ diverse faxing needs with a range of solutions to help them take advantage of all the benefits at their disposal.