Does your business fax internationally? It’s not alone. Many businesses rely on the dependability and predictability of faxes to reach their international partners.
Despite common perception, the global use of fax machines and faxing technologies (including cloud-based services like VirtualPBX Email-to-Fax) has risen in recent years and is expected to continue to rise. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), fax use grew by 27 percent in 2017 and was predicted that year to grow an additional 25 percent through 2019.
The market is booming, yet many businesses are uninformed about why international faxing persists. They may also feel stuck in their current situations where the fees to fax internationally are sky high.
This article will address the nature of faxing and the reasons for its international connective power. It will then offer an argument for the use of email-based faxing in connection with a hosted phone system.
IDC’s Findings and Faxing Proliferation
The IDC study points to three primary factors that drive the use of faxing in workplaces:
- It fits within business workflows
- Fax provides an trail of sending, receipt, and transmission that can be audited for enterprise security compliance
- Fax technology is evolving (such as cloud and email integration)
For its study, IDC surveyed 200 organizations that have at least 500 employees. The statistics echoed in this article are generated from the responses of those organizations.
Fax Fits Within Business Workflows
In large part, faxing comes across as too big to fail. It is so ingrained within business practices that it perpetuates further use.
Businesses know that their customers and suppliers use fax machines, so they err on the side of convenience when they send invoices or accept purchase orders. When those customers and suppliers are overseas, businesses fax internationally to reach them.
This type of back-and-forth certainly includes much modern digital communication like emailing and mobile phone calls. Those modern standards, however, aren’t always auditable in a way that security professionals prefer.
When asked, 28 percent of IDC study respondents said they continued to fax because it fit into their current business processes.
You Can Track and Audit a Fax
For enterprise security purposes, it’s important that transfers of information can be tracked.
Traditional faxing leaves a physical paper trail that can make its way into a future security audit with the names and phone numbers of contacts. This same type of trail is created when digital faxing takes place; the papers, in that case, are just digitized.
Businesses that need to meet those strict regulations would have a hard time eliminating faxing from their daily operations because both faxing and HIPAA prop up each other. HIPAA accepts faxing as a secure method of information transfer, and faxing has remained relatively unchanged at its core, holding its place in the HIPAA list of acceptable communication forms.
The self-perpetuating relationship between those standards gives businesses incentive to continue to fax internationally and domestically.
28 percent of respondents in the IDC study indicated that they continue to fax because it is easily traceable and auditable.
Faxing Has Evolved
Even though faxing is often seen as antiquated, it has experienced much development in recent years.
Business phone system vendors like VirtualPBX offer Electronic Faxing so organizations can go paperless with all their fax communications.
These types of phone systems often run in the cloud. When digital faxing is attached, the faxing becomes a cloud service in its own right.
Desktop fax machines once transitioned from analog to digital signals. By moving fax processes to the cloud, the entire user process is digital because the desktop fax machine is no longer necessary. Faxes can be sent from an email address before reaching a partner’s traditional machine.
This evolution has made it easier for many businesses to keep faxing simple and keep it within their modern workflows. 25 percent of respondents to IDC said they continued to fax because of its developments.
Fax Internationally From Email
Of course, here at VirtualPBX, we have a slight bias for our own Email-to-Fax service. Our bias, however, shouldn’t be enough to convince you that emailing your faxes from here forward is right and proper.
What should be enough is a combination of the IDC’s findings and the capabilities of an email-based faxing setup. Let’s dig deeper.
You Already Have Momentum
Consider your current workplace situation.
Individuals in your workplace may fax internationally and domestically multiple times per week. They do it because your clients overseas accept faxed documents as legally-binding transmissions. Or they do it because, like discussed previously, the business is comfortable with faxing as part of its overall workflow.
Change can be difficult, and it can upset other important business processes. There’s no shame in recognizing the momentum you already have; just don’t be afraid to make small alterations in pursuit of something better.
Make the Process Easy
No amount of momentum or comfort with traditional faxing will make the task less cumbersome.
Leaving your desk to reach the fax machine is both time-consuming and distracting. It’s not an errand that most people look forward to completing.
Email-based faxing changes the situation entirely. With Email-to-Fax, you can stay at your desk, maintain your focus, sign your documents digitally, and never disrupt your workflow.
You make the process easier on yourself by faxing your emails. And if you save your sent and received documents, you maintain the auditable paper trail that’s so important to enterprise security.
The best for last. With the right business phone service, your business can save a lot of money.
It’s no surprise to any global outfit that they spend a lot when they fax internationally. Desktop fax machines tend to work through landlines, which can present outrageous rates for long-distance calls.
On the other hand, a hosted phone system can offer more reasonable rates. Faxing with VirtualPBX uses only the minutes associated with the plan you choose. Then when you fax internationally, it charges only a small per-minute fee based on the length of the fax transmission.
Continue to Fax Internationally, Domestically
If your business uses a fax machine, don’t fight the process. Only change the method in which you do it.
By adopting email-based faxing into your organization, you can continue with the business processes you know. You can keep your customers happy and ease the strain on your employees’ time and attention. Best of all, you can save money with each page you send.
We’re in this together – all global enterprises still faxing and VirtualPBX with its email service.