Since 1964, when Xerox introduced what is generally considered the first fax machine, the ability to securely transmit information over any distance via a phone line has grown continuously. Today, it’s a staple technology of many businesses and industries. And while other forms of technology have come and gone, the fax hasn’t just remained in use — it’s actually risen in popularity.
In fact, the International Data Group (IDC) recently published a paper — “Fax Market Pulse: Trends, Growth and Opportunities” — that showed commercial fax usage was up by 27 percent. What’s more, over the next two years, fax usage is predicted to grow by another 25 percent.
The Shift to Cloud Faxing
There are several reasons for the popularity of faxing. One of the most important is its ability to hold up under legal scrutiny by providing a verifiable log. Another is its compliance with several important standards, which enables it to provide healthcare facilities and professionals with a HIPPA-compliant form of transferring information.
But what’s most exciting for businesses and their IT departments is that, while faxing is growing in popularity, it’s also undergoing a technological transformation that promises to send business documents faster. And this is where the inherent efficiency of cloud faxing comes into play.
Of all the statistics in the IDC report, none are more telling than the fact that 90 percent of fax users are currently evaluating or already in the process of integrating their method of faxing with newer forms of technology and business applications. And with this fact, the IDC concludes that over the next two years, businesses will overwhelmingly begin shifting their current method of faxing to cloud faxing services.
How to Make Your Business More Productive
Naturally, if you’re still using traditional on-site faxing equipment and services, it’s logical to ask, “Is cloud faxing more efficient?” before making any changes. So to help clarify how cloud faxing can help make your company more productive, let’s take a look at some of the primary areas where you can increase your productivity levels by making use of this new technology:
If you’ve ever had to rely on traditional faxing, you’re well aware of the time and hassle involved if there’s a problem with the paper, ink or actual fax machine. And let’s be honest: does a fax machine ever choose a good time to run out of ink or break down?
Imagine instead, with cloud faxing, that you can enjoy all the benefits of sending and receiving documents securely — but without ever having to refill paper or ink. You can even forget about having to keep a fax machine repair company on speed dial and you can say goodbye to an extra phone line. Along with time saved, therefore, comes cost savings, and when you put those together, your business is able to do more with less effort, making for a more productive and economical workflow.
Once you switch to a cloud-based faxing service, your employees can send and receive faxes anywhere with an internet connection. This mobility results in substantial productivity gains. Now, instead of having to travel to an office with a fax machine to send or receive faxes, anyone from a healthcare professional on rounds to a project manager on the manufacturing floor can quickly and efficiently make use of the virtual fax process, known as FoIP — or Fax over Internet Protocol.
Plus, along with mobility, you enjoy the added efficiency of never again having to wait by a fax machine for a busy signal to end.
As we all know, traditional fax machines and on-site fax servers can break down. Additionally, if your fax equipment is on-site and your business experiences a power outage, you can’t send or receive any faxes until power is restored and your machines are up and running. However, with robust redundancy systems like those built into the ReplixFax cloud fax service from Softlinx, you experience near 100 percent uptime. This means that by choosing an experienced cloud fax service provider like Softlinx, you never have to worry about missing a fax or not being able to send a fax due to equipment malfunctions or power interruptions at your business’s location.
If, in an effort to be more productive, an employee transmits information in an unsecured fashion or mishandles it once it’s in hardcopy, the results could be devastating — especially if your business handles sensitive data or needs to adhere to certain regulations such as HIPAA. Yet, 46% of businesses report that their overall fax usage is on the increase and shows no signs of slowing down. Clearly, discussing business productivity independent of security would be a serious oversight.
If you’re using a cloud faxing service that incorporates encrypted transmissions and secure servers, compliance and security go hand-in-hand with efficiency. With this method, a fax is secure regardless of whether it’s transmitting or waiting to be read. Moreover, since fax usage is likely to continue to rise, having a system in place that supports your compliance regulations means increased productivity can occur without you ever having to worry about data leakage due to improper faxing methods.
As we’ve seen with just about every technological breakthrough, productivity increases when the system in question is simple and easy to use. And nowhere is this more relevant than in faxing and document handling. With online faxing service, creating and sending a fax is as easy as attaching a document to an email — except now you don’t have to worry about exceeding attachment limitations due to large file sizes. And with Softlinx, you have the choice of using a business application, web portal, email, Windows desktop print-to-fax or multi-function printer (MFP) to send faxes securely online. With both choice and simplicity on your side, your business’s productivity never gets put on hold due to documentation lag time.