Wait, people still use fax machines? This is not an uncommon question, especially given that we exist in a current culture of rapidly expanding technology and lightning-fast communication. You might even get a “hold up, what does faxing even do?” from an unsuspecting, young Gen Zer…oh boy.
While the origin of faxing takes us back to a distant 1842, it might be hard to believe that people currently still use modern-day faxing—even with the advent of email and other cloud-sharing services that are great alternatives for sending and receiving documents. In order to understand how the world still uses faxing (and why), let’s take a look at the roots of fax technology and the direction it’s currently headed.
Take it from the top
Invented back in the mid-1800s by Alexander Bain, the “Electric Printing Telegraph” became the world’s first faxing device by synchronizing the movement of two pendulums through a clock, and with that motion, allowing it to scan a message on a line-by-line basis. While this device was able to transfer an image, it was of quite poor quality.
Through a number of inventions in the late 1800s and early 1900s different methods to faxing soon appeared that offered an improvement upon this initial technology. It was during this time that people were beginning to recognize the usefulness of the technology. By 1888, the range of fax transmissions was increased to allow for long distances, and in 1924, faxes were made wireless by transmitting them over radio waves. Two decades later, the first color fax was transmitted.
By 1964, Xerox Corporation patented and introduced the first commercialized modern fax machine. Not too long after, by the 1980s, the faxing industry went global, with Japanese companies entering the industry. This era was the golden age of fax technology, which some people thought would end once another technology crept onto the market: The Internet.
As the world migrated to the World Wide Web for most of its data needs by the 1990s, including email, cloud storage and document editing, a new evolution in fax began—allowing anyone to send a fax straight from their computer. Today, cloud faxing methods offer several advantages from its predecessor, providing an inherently secure method for sending sensitive information (unlike email).
Benefits of cloud faxing
There are many flaws and limitations of traditional faxing that that cloud fax solutions, like Secure eFax, readily overcome, including faxing secure sensitive information with email. Between more employees working remote or on the go, higher customer expectations for streamlined document processing and faster response times, and the reliance on mobile devices and apps, businesses need an Internet-based alternative to traditional paper-based fax machines.
Cloud faxing is the anytime, anywhere, always-on way to exchange business-critical documents that offers the following features and benefits:
- Drive workplace productivity. Enable employees to send and receive faxes by email, multi-function devices, API, mobile app or web portal—wherever Internet access is available.
- Get flexible storage. Configure your storage and retention policies to meet your needs, including optional lifetime storage and unlimited storage size.
- Ensure secure transmissions. Meet the highest data compliance levels required by heavily regulated industries, including HIPAA, PCI and TruSight.
- Reduce expenses. Eliminate the costs of software, equipment and dedicated IT resources with an eco-friendly, paperless alternative.
Who still relies on faxing? It’s more than you think!
Fax still has a massive user base in the business world. The technology is still used in many organizations that need a fast, easy and secure way to send private documents across the world. If you work in the following industries, switching to a cloud fax solution can offer significant improvements in document security and reliability over traditional faxing:
- Healthcare sector: In healthcare, industry regulations require providers to protect patient medical and financial information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides guidelines for healthcare facilities in order to keep patient information private. This makes healthcare one of the largest users of modern-day fax solutions.
- Legal industry: Lawyers have ethical concerns for their clients’ information. Hence, this industry has long relied on using fax machines for transmitting data. By sending files over phone lines, the information stays protected from cyberhackers who could get data sent over unsecured internet connections.
- Manufacturing services: Manufacturing businesses also continue to use faxing for things like sending invoices, purchase orders, shipping information and quote requests. While this type of information is less sensitive, manufacturers need reliable fax capabilities, especially those that integrate with their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
- Financial industry: The financial industry also is responsible for handling sensitive financial information and must avoid exposing customer data to unauthorized persons. Financial services also require signatures on forms, which has made digital cloud faxing a preferred method of transmission.
The future of cloud faxing, right here
Secure eFax from Windstream Enterprise is the world’s leading enterprise-grade, cloud-fax solution, providing state-of-the-art Digital Cloud Fax Technology (DCFT) through a platform that is convenient, reliable and highly secure. Secure eFax is in line with the highest compliance levels required by heavily regulated industries, as well as eco-friendly and simple to use. With Secure eFax, you’ll gain all the benefits of:
- Cloud storage: Offers flexibility through configurable storage and retention policies, including optional lifetime storage and unlimited size storage.
- Compliance, security and certifications: Ensures and maintains secure data transmissions, including industries with the highest regulatory and compliance regulations.
- Admin capabilities: Provides 24/7 account management, reporting and assistance online or by phone.
- Third-party integration: Allows for direct integration of cloud-fax capabilities within major desktop and enterprise applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft 365 and Gmail.
- Enterprise RESTful API: Designed to integrate Secure eFax within customers’ workflow application software such as CRM, ERP, and healthcare EMRs and EHRs. The API enables high-volume faxing directly from customer applications, as well as provides a unified faxing and billing environment.
Making the move to secure cloud faxing doesn’t require a large investment. Trust Secure eFax for all your critical documents and gain peace of mind with the most innovative and secure faxing solution out there.