In the modern business world, everyone is always looking for the next big thing to help them get a leg up on the competition. Similar to the world of consumer electronics, many business owners want the newest, shiniest toy in terms of technology. Often this new piece of software, high-tech productivity tool or latest advancement could give us just the edge we need.
But even in the modern world, there are still some older methods that stand the test of time and continue to be just as integral to business as they were decades ago. While fax machines are slowly becoming less common, you will still find one in almost every office across the country. Faxing continues to be a preferred method for sending and receiving documents, particularly in business settings and even more particularly when the documents contain sensitive information.
There are a number of reasons for this, but there are also a number of reasons why they are declining in popularity. Faxing comes with lots of advantages, but there are also downsides when compared to more high-tech transmission methods of the digital world. This article will examine both sides of the coin, looking at the pros and cons of fax machines in the modern business environment.
Of all the advantages fax machines provide when compared to email, file-sharing and other digital options, none is more critical than security. In a dangerous world, where cybercriminals are growing in number and their techniques are growing in sophistication, the importance of keeping your documents safe cannot be overstated. With this being the case, faxing is still the preferred method when transmitting sensitive documents.
A fax machine essentially takes an image, encodes that image and then transmits it via telephone lines. This means the document never enters the Internet and never becomes vulnerable to hackers. Even online fax providers such as eFax, which allow users to upload documents to their secure servers and have them faxed, offer more security than email.
With the growth of internet-based fax services, the convenience of faxing has also increased. Previously one of the cons to faxing was the fact that it required a fax machine and landline to operate, but this is no longer the case.
Additionally, faxes require almost no technical know-how and no computer usage, making them more attractive to old-fashioned clients and businesses. The fax machine has been a staple of business offices for several decades, and likely everyone in the office already knows how to use it.
On the other hand, faxes are not a perfect option. While low-tech businesses may prefer the method, techier small businesses may not even have a fax machine, meaning fax is not even an option.
Another downside to fax machines is the continuous upkeep required. To regularly use faxes, you have to spend money on ink, paper, and toner. The need for additional paper especially can be a drawback for more environmentally conscious users.
Also, fax machines come with the same risk as any other piece of equipment in that it may – and eventually will – fail.
The advantages of faxing will likely keep them as a major communication method in the business world for years to come. While it is not without its flaws, the security and ease of use for sending and receiving faxes still make it valuable for most modern business owners.