Fax machines, despite their longevity and undeniable usefulness in the past, are far from perfect. They suffer from a number of problems, many of which are attributed to the technology itself.
We shall explore these issues and the best alternatives to fax machines.
The Problem With Fax Machines
Fax machines come with a myriad of hidden costs. To begin with, the machine itself is a sizable upfront investment.
However, the financial burden doesn’t stop there. You need to account for the recurring costs of paper, ink, toner, and, most importantly, dedicated landline charges.
These costs can balloon quickly, especially in larger offices that have a high volume of communication.
Just like any other physical device, fax machines can break down. Mechanical issues or plain wear and tear can impair the device’s functionality, leading to downtime and maintenance charges.
Plus, the machine’s operation often relies on old analog phone lines, adding another potential failure point.
As companies become more conscious of their environmental impact, the fax machine stands out as a notably environmentally unfriendly option.
High paper usage contributes to deforestation, and old, discarded fax machines contribute to electronic waste.
With many alternatives offering digital solutions that negate these issues, using a fax machine seems unnecessary and wasteful.
Difficulty in Sharing and Storing
Today, thanks to the internet, sharing and storing documents have become easy and efficient. However, fax machines fall significantly short in this area.
Faxed documents have to be physically filed, are hard to share with more than one individual without multiple transmissions, and can get lost or torn.
Digital documents, on the other hand, can be conveniently stored, indexed for easy searchability, and shared with the click of a button.
Inconvenience and Inefficiency
Fax machines are simply not convenient. You require a physical document that needs to be fed into the machine and then dial the correct fax number. Any mistyping could result in the fax being sent to the wrong person, which poses a potential information breach.
If the recipient’s fax machine is engaged or out of paper, your document doesn’t get delivered, leading to needless delays. Considering this, sending a fax becomes an inefficient task, taking up more time than necessary.
Fax Machine Alternatives
Some popular ways to send and receive documents without the need for a fax machine include:
Online Fax Services
Online fax services like Faxburner eliminate the need for a dedicated fax line, and you can send or receive faxes from any location with an internet connection.
You may use the Faxburner app to transform your smartphone or tablet into a mini fax machine. Alternatively, you can send and receive faxes on your computer or laptop via an online platform without the need for any special software.
The benefit of using encrypted email to send documents and faxes is that it’s more secure and easier to use than traditional fax machines.
Most of the popular email providers, such as Outlook and Gmail, offer encryption capabilities, and you can also set up your own encrypted email server with tools like Mailfence or ProtonMail.
Cloud Storage and File Sharing
Platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive provide not only secure storage but also an avenue for real-time collaboration on files.
The worry of lost faxes or transmission errors becomes a thing of the past. Instead, your files are automatically saved and updated, ready to be accessed at any time from any device.
Additionally, these platforms serve as an offsite backup, ensuring that your data remains intact and secure even in the event of physical damage at your premises.
Document Management Software
Document management software organizes your documents in a central location, making them easily accessible. You can view, edit, share, and track document changes on a single, user-friendly platform.
These systems tout impressive features like OCR (optical character recognition), version control, audit trails, and automated workflows.
Encrypted Messaging Apps
For smaller files and quick exchanges, encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal are emerging as a go-to option.
These apps use encryption technology, which means that only you and the recipient can see what is being sent. This prevents anyone else from reading your messages or accessing them while they are in transit.
Fax Server Software
If you still heavily rely on faxing, you can part ways with your traditional machine and opt for fax server software.
This software, installed on a local server or hosted in the cloud, lets you send and receive faxes over the internet and integrates seamlessly with email clients, reducing the time spent on faxing.
Fax Through VoIP
You can fax through VoIP, or voice over internet protocol. By placing a call to the recipient’s fax number via your computer or mobile phone with software like FaxxBochs or SnappyFax, you can send documents as attachments in real time.
A virtual private network (VPN) is a good solution if you want to protect your documents from hackers and snoopers.
A VPN securely connects your computer to a remote network over the internet, allowing you to send and receive files as if you were physically located on that network.
The rise of digital solutions has introduced numerous efficient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly alternatives to traditional fax machines. By adopting these solutions, you can enhance the flow of your document management processes while reducing overall operating costs.
However, for those moments when you need to send or receive a fax, Faxburner provides a super-convenient and modern solution.
With our user-friendly app, available for iOS, you can effortlessly manage your faxing needs on the go.