Despite having made its debut in the workplace more than 40 years ago, in the late 1970s, the fax continues to be a critical communications device today. Nearly 17 billion faxes are sent around the world each year, while in the UK more than 125,000 faxes were sent and received by the public sector in 2019.
Fax retains its value in sectors in which secure document transmission is essential but physical records are also necessary as well, such as in law and healthcare. Simply doing away with fax is not an option for many businesses and services, that rely on the fax daily.
“Organisations must be careful not to dismiss fax as a relic that needs replacing, without first considering what to replace it with.The idea that email is a like-for-like replacement is undermined by the fact that if that were the case, those industries that still use and rely on fax for certain communications – including healthcare and the legal sector – would have migrated over to it a long time ago.”, said Scott Wilson, Vice President of Sales and Service at eFax, the global provider of digital fax services
At the same time, in today’s digitalised workplace, traditional analogue faxing is simply no longer a secure option. Digitalisation drives efficiency, cost savings, operational optimisation, and innovation. Keeping in place an analogue technology will diminish these benefits.
“From a security perspective as well, while the traditional telephone line is not digital, and therefore not hackable, faxes themselves are not encrypted in transit,” continued Wilson. “Anyone with access to the line can in theory gain access to the information sent via a traditional fax machine. The fact that this information is unencrypted runs counter to many governance, compliance, and industry-specific regulations, including GDPR. It’s another strike against analogue faxing.”
The solution for organisations who rely on fax but who need a secure alternative is digital cloud faxing. As the name suggests, cloud fax involves the entire fax process being handled digitally via the cloud – either through a company’s email application, a workflow application, mobile app or secure web portal.
“With no upfront costs and no physical hardware, digital faxing means users no longer have to rely on a physical fax machine at either end but instead use a cloud-hosted app to upload and share the required information,” explained Wilson.
“Digital cloud faxing does more than improve flexibility – it dramatically increases security as well. It provides high-level encryption, both in transit and when faxes are stored, as well as audit trails of everything sent and received, improving governance and compliance where required.
“On top of this, administrators can implement access restrictions just as they would with any other data,” he added. “Digital cloud faxing lets IT managers put in place the same security measures to faxing that they apply across the organisation – from access management to implementing passwords and password behaviour, plus the ability to update the software automatically as and when it’s needed.
“By integrating cloud fax into their digital transformation initiatives, organisations can ensure that they have in place the all-important levels of security across all their communications channels,” concluded Wilson.