As business owners, it is our duty to have clear and secure communication channels to get in touch with clients, providers and other entities. Modern ways of communicating such as direct messages, common email and chat may be instant but they can also be subject to interceptions.
Fax is still to this day, the safest way to send and receive documents. That is why it is preferred by the healthcare industry to deal with sensitive patient information and by the government to send and receive forms and official documents.
Today, we have different alternatives to fax at our disposal. Though it’s true that we can still use a fax machine, there are better methods that only need your computer or your phone and an Internet connection to work. Let’s take a look at them below.
Digital Fax Services
If you want to fax without the hassle of getting a dedicated landline and a traditional fax machine, you should try online fax services.
Back when computer fax first appeared, it was only possible to have access to it by investing on fax servers. Unfortunately, this was a costly solution that could only be used by big companies with the sufficient budget to handle not only the servers but also the IT team in charge of maintaining them. You see, it’s one thing to have the technology, and another one to be able to integrate it for all employees without problems.
Online fax services appeared as a solution for smaller companies, so instead of buying a fax server, they could just pay a subscription fee to access the servers of your online fax provider. This enables you to send and receive fax using your computer without going over your budget. Currently you can find services for as low as $10 a month, and that includes your own digital fax line.
With a service, you can fax through your member’s dashboard, or simply by using your email. Fax providers are compatible with all free email providers so you can fax from Gmail email or use your own email domain, you just need to upload the file you want to be converted into fax. Incoming faxes will arrive automatically thanks to the free fax number given to you at the moment of signing up with a provider.
Smartphone Fax Apps
There are basically two types of apps you can find for your phone: those that come along with online fax services like the ones we talked about above, and stand-alone apps, which let you send faxes on demand.
Sending a fax through a smartphone is pretty easy, as most apps work in a similar fashion: just enter the app, click on SEND and then fill out all the needed information including the recipient’s fax number, the file or photo to be faxed and the cover page.
Receiving a fax on your phone is only possible through a fax service with a corresponding app though. This is because in order to receive faxes we need a virtual fax line, and these lines are only provided by certain services. Your virtual line will remain active 24/7 every day of your subscription and will be in charge of “grabbing” fax transmissions. As we said before, a copy goes to your email, but if you have an app installed, another copy will be sent to your phone instantly.
Can I Keep Using a Fax Machine?
Faxing may be done these days through digital technology, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use old technology. If you have a fax machine lying around in the office and access to a dedicated line you can keep using your fax machine. As a matter of fact, thousands of businesses still do it, be it because they don’t know about a better alternative like a cloud fax service or because they are accustomed to it.
What’s great about modern fax methods is that they are all compatible with any fax machine in the market. Fax transmissions by fax machine use the TIFF format, so online fax services also use this format to ensure your documents are readable on any type of technology.
No matter which method to fax you use, make sure your online fax provider meets all the security standards, and if you work on healthcare check out if they have a HIPAA agreement in place to comply with all regulations. Finally, If you are unsure which service to use, look for free trials, most services let you test the service for 30 days before charging you.