Technology seems to be advancing at lightning-like speed. Few people continue to use typewriters anymore. The purchase of postage stamps has slowed down, and one report of a U.S. Government study indicated that cell phone-only homes exceeded those with landlines as of the second half of 2016. While you might think that fax transmissions would also be going the way of the dinosaur, this is not the case.
1 Faxing Continues for Many Reasons
The availability of email, file-sharing, and other digital options provide obvious alternatives to fax transmissions. Yet, faxing remains popular because it is an excellent way to accomplish many tasks, such as the following:
- Conducting Business Effectively: Faxing continues to offer a speedy and secure alternative to U.S. postal mail. If you conduct business outside of the U.S., it remains the preferred method in many countries. These are the reasons why one study indicated that fax usage continued to grow between 2016 and 2017, and it’s expected to grow by as much as 29 percent between 2018 and the end of this year.
- Getting Your Sales Message Out: Many businesses have decided to escape the labor and expense of direct-mail advertising that required printing and envelope-stuffing and stamping before sending it out via traditional postal mail. Still, they have to get their message out. Advertising by fax offers certain advantages. It’s more efficient, and it’s also ideal when you want to send time-sensitive material, like new real estate offerings or short-term price reductions.
- Meeting Regulatory Requirements: Even the government has progressed toward digital technology somewhat. While you can file taxes electronically, however, many regulatory requirements continue to dictate that most documents must be sent with fax or snail mail.
- Social Activism: It’s becoming almost a necessity for businesses to take a stand on the critical issues of the day. Your company has many options for activism, but there are certain potential advantages to sending faxes, mainly when contacting government officials.
- Sharing Incompatible Data: Recent changes in health care laws require that health care providers maintain digital records of patient information. However, the laws do not necessarily require the use of a specific system to get this done. When medical providers need to share patient information, fax is still the preferred method to ensure that the data is readable on both ends of the transmission.
2 No Fax Machines are Required
Probably the main reason why regulatory agencies require fax transmission involves the theory that standard phone lines are less hackable than routes through the Internet. This may be true to some degree, but more and more businesses now use Voice Over IP (VOIP) systems, which connect calls through Internet connections. Also,-If you have ever passed by a fax machine in an office, you know that security risks from even the most traditional fax machines abound. Pages full of sensitive data often sit in open areas before anyone picks them up. You may even have seen the pages overflow onto the floor, where they can get lost. Interestingly, regulations do not specifically require the use of old-style fax machines. Even if recipients maintain a traditional machine to send and receive faxes, government offices probably expend little effort to learn about the transmission method used on the other end.
There are many reliable online fax services to choose from. In addition to saving you from spending money on machine supplies and maintenance, these services make it easier to keep your faxed documents organized. As an added benefit, it’s possible to send and receive faxes on virtually any device — even a smartphone. Bulk transmissions are also much more efficient when sent online. Even though some fax machines allow you to send one document to multiple fax numbers, performing this process from a device with a keyboard virtually eliminates wait times, which can significantly streamline the process. The use of these services may seem counterintuitive since it relies on the same Internet that government regulations undoubtedly want to avoid, but reputable fax services are typically very secure. If you choose this option, you want to start by carefully checking out the security practices of the online fax provider, including data encryption — and learning how they protect documents during transmission. Then, make sure that your device and Internet provider are secure as well. Public WIFI is not recommended.
3 Face Lifts Work on Technology, Too
When you think about it, the need to securely transmit signatures and personal data are increasing. If anything, you need it more than ever now that it involves your growing customer base as well. Your trusty old fax machine is not enough to get the information you need from your customers — and keep it organized and safe. It’s time to consider giving your business a facelift by replacing those antiquated machines with the latest and greatest online faxing services. Good news: as long as you have Internet access, then no surgery, creams, or lotions are required!