It is ironic that the technology that has been responsible for the declining use of fax is also the technology that helps keep fax relevant and useable in the modern work environment.
The development of email has presented businesses and consumers a faster and easier way to transmit documents over vast distances using the internet, which is the same function of fax.
It is easy to see a scenario where fax became an obsolete technology and email has completely replaced faxing as the only accepted document-transmitting technology.
However, with online fax services, the old technology is given a modern twist by leveraging the reach of the internet and removing the need for an actual fax machine.
And instead of competing against email, the modern fax uses email to enhance its usability in modern times.
More than just adapting email to fax technology, there are also scenarios where fax is still the better choice when transmitting documents.
Some businesses have been using fax since they started and do not feel the need to make changes in their process. If the customer base is more than willing to fax their documents to purchase the products or services offered by a firm, who are we to say that it needs to be changed.
At the moment, faxing works for them. Whether email is a better choice or not, businesses tend to stick with what works and will not risk change unless they need to.
Besides, some businesses cater to people who do not want anything to do with technology, which brings us to the next reason.
When customers are resistant to modern technology
Like businesses that do not feel the need to shift from fax to email, some customers do not feel like learning to use the internet and email.
The older generation, in particular, is not very comfortable using modern equipment like computers and still prefer using traditional technology like telephone and fax. And what do you know, these people from the older generation also tend to be the decision makers not only in businesses but in households as well, so you cannot ignore their preferences.
That is why it wouldn’t hurt for businesses to still be open to having fax as a means to send and receive relevant documents so that they will not alienate people who are resistant to modern technology.
There are industries that still rely on faxing for official document transmissions and will not accept documents sent only through email. This is especially true for those industries that highly regard the security of data for their transactions.
Businesses in the healthcare, financial, and legal industries, in particular, are still very much using fax for daily transactions, and the practice is not about to change anytime soon, especially when the government itself is encouraging its use.
A big reason why faxing is still very much in practice is the firm belief by the government that faxing is more secure than email. It may not be explicitly stated in HIPAA, but most companies believe that faxing is more compliant to its standards than email.
Even the FBI CJIS standards do not allow the transmission of criminal justice information via email unless it is encrypted, but they allow it via fax.
For many industries and for a lot of government institutions to accept email as a valid document transmitting tool, it has to be encrypted. Most businesses do not believe it is a worthwhile investment when it is only really needed for specific transactions and because faxing already fulfills the role of a secure document transmitter at a significantly lower cost.
If you're going to transact with companies and government institutions outside the US, do not be surprised to find out that they will require you to send necessary documents via fax instead of email.
Countries like Japan and Germany still rely on faxing a lot. And even though the European Union is now encouraging the use of e-signatures, many still prefer the old-fashioned way of printing the document to apply a physical signature and sending it back via fax.
Fax has evolved into an online faxing service that allows businesses to send and receive faxes over the internet.
RingCentral, an industry leader in business communications, provides internet faxing features in its unified communications solution RingCentral Office® and its stand-alone online faxing service with RingCentral Fax®.
These services allow you to send and receive faxes from your computer using your RingCentral account or through your RingCentral app. The same goes for your mobile device.
Moreover, you can also send a fax via email.
Yes, you can use your email account to send and receive faxes through your RingCentral fax phone number.
However, before you can start, you have to connect a trusted email account like your company email address to your RingCentral account.
To do this, you can follow these instructions:
After that, you can now send faxes using your trusted email account.
To send a digital fax using your email account, you can follow these instructions:
RingCentral will be assigning you your fax phone number. Aside from being stored in your RingCentral account, internet faxes will also be sent to your email inbox as attachments that you can even forward as a fax or email.
One of the questions asked when it comes to email-to-fax service is if it is still as secure as traditional fax. After all, the reason why institutions prefer faxing over email is because of the perceived better security of the former over the latter. Now that you can send a fax via email, will the security level be the same as merely sending a regular email?
The answer is no. Faxes sent via RingCentral—whether from the RingCentral app, the RingCentral online account, or from a trusted email—are protected by high-level encryption. This prevents data breaches and other forms of traffic interception that targets your fax transmission.
Also, since you are no longer printing the documents to be faxed, there is no more chance of it being seen by others because the soft copies are stored in password-protected accounts. In comparison, traditional fax prints everything. Documents printed by a fax machine tends to stay in fax trays for a while, which makes it open to all prying eyes, including people with bad intentions.
You can access your email from anywhere there’s an internet connection. With RingCentral Fax, you are also able to enjoy the same benefits as your online faxing service.
You and your employees are no longer limited to faxing in the office because you can send faxes from anywhere through your email account, without the need for a fax machine.
Same goes for receiving a fax. You can access faxes sent to your fax phone number in your email inbox account as attachments. From there you can simply download the file, print a specific page if needed, and send as a fax or email as needed.
The main limitation of traditional fax machines is that it revolves around a single device. To send a fax, you need to proceed to the fax machine, see if anyone is using it, wait for your turn, then feed each document page into the machine one at a time. That is a lot of time spent for faxing.
Internet fax changed all that. Instead of revolving around a single fax machine, you and your business get multiple ways to send faxes over the internet. You get to send a fax through your RingCentral account, send a fax through the RingCentral app, and of course, fax via email.
Like the fax machine that can only be used in the office, traditional fax phone numbers can only be used in tandem with a fax machine. Once you and your employees leave the office, you no longer have access to the faxing service and your fax phone number.
The opposite can be said for an online fax phone number, which can be accessed from anywhere. Any fax sent to this number will be received in the user’s RingCentral account or their email inbox.
Faxes sent using online fax phone numbers, on the other hand, will be received through the recipient’s online fax account or as a printout in their fax machines.
Traditional fax machines are not the most environment-friendly business equipment. It is made of plastic that will take hundreds of years after its last use to dissolve and will be added to the massive heap of waste in landfills. It is also continually using power and contributing to your business’s carbon emission. Lastly, it wastes a lot of paper because it has to print everything that was sent to it.
Email via fax services, on the other hand, let you fax without a fax machine. This means there’s no deteriorating hardware that will take years to dissolve. Also, there is no printing required, which will severely reduce your company's paper consumption.
RingCentral combines the flexibility and mobility of email with the security of fax. This allows businesses to continue to adapt faxing to their business in a way that is more in line with how other online tools are used in a modern business setting.