Believe it or not, the need for faxing still exists, especially for businesses that handle private customer information such as healthcare providers, insurance companies, or financial service providers. In addition, many businesses continue to use old fax machines supported by expensive dedicated analog telephone lines. While some businesses may still need fax, they don’t necessarily need those legacy phone lines.
Why fax at all?
So why do businesses migrating to cloud-based or IP telephony continue to keep a dedicated analog telephone line for fax?
- Some industries require faxing and traditional analog lines are reliable.
- IP faxing may not be regulatory compliant.
- Faxing over IP (FoIP) has had issues in the past with latency and jitter causing fax transmissions to fail.
- Many companies have made investments in expensive multi-functional printer/copier/fax machines.
With fax, timing is everything. A successful fax session requires real-time, uninterrupted communication between both the sending and receiving ends. That said, it makes sense that a dedicated circuit-switched connection is ideal for faxing. IP, or internet protocol, faxing includes signal conversions, protocol translations and inevitable network congestion, all of which can affect timing and cause problems. So why bother?
Cost reduction is most popular among the many reasons business choose FoIP over the status quo. Faxing over the internet is not only much cheaper, but the demand for secure, reliable FoIP has also resulted in service that delivers the quality businesses have come to expect from traditional telephone lines. IP faxing is now an HTTPS secure, web-based cloud service that avoids the voice network entirely. Fax functionality integrates with email clients, desktop and mobile applications for a fraction of the cost while fitting seamlessly into unified messaging and communications strategies.
Faxes can be sent, received, archived and searched like email. They can be accessed and managed from any device by multiple users. Not only is this convenient, but it also eliminates the expense of supporting and maintaining those legacy analog fax machines.
If a complete migration to cloud-based IP faxing evokes fear and loathing, or is simply not possible, the benefits of IP faxing can still be enjoyed with existing fax machines. Fax ATA converters enable the machine to connect directly to the data network. This hybrid solution leverages the fax hardware and offers the rich feature set of FoIP. Many of these devices even create an HTTPS connection to the cloud; checking the security box for those businesses that must comply with various privacy regulations.
The benefits of making the switch to fax over IP start with cost savings and extend into convenience and reliability. The challenges and misconceptions long associated with IP faxing have been addressed by advancements in technology. Increased available bandwidth, more reliable/secure protocols, unified messaging integration, and even mobility make it nearly impossible to devise a reason to continue paying for that old analog fax line.