At a time when team messages and emails proliferate, faxing might seem like a relic of the past. After all, why send a fax when an email attachment will do the trick?
The truth is, the lack of security in emails means faxes are still mission-critical across many business sectors today. Highly-regulated industries such as financial services, healthcare, and government agencies all depend on faxing for their document communication.
And faxes aren’t limited to fax machines anymore. Faxes can be sent digitally over the Internet with the same level of regulatory compliance, security, and confidentiality. The best part? No need for any expensive equipment.
Let’s learn about eFax and how your business can use it.
Traditional faxes are delivered from fax machine to fax machine via telephone lines. Originally, companies or small business owners that wanted to send and receive faxes needed a phone line and a fax machine to do so.
That all changed with eFax, which requires no hardware—instead using the internet for fax delivery.
You can attach Word docs, PDF files, or other documents to an app or regular email and send it to another party via the recipient’s fax number—using just your desktop, smartphone, or tablet. The recipient is able to retrieve the fax from a fax machine or their email inbox.
There are a number of advantages to sending an eFax compared to fax machines. Here are a few:
1. Mass distribution
Traditional faxes only allow you to send a document to one user through a dedicated phone line.
eFax allows for mass distribution to multiple recipients with different email addresses and fax numbers. The specific number of recipients allowed varies depending on the service provider.
2. No busy signals
Traditional faxes are frustrating when you have to wait at a machine for a long time due to a constant busy signal on the other end. To reduce problems, some businesses pay extra money for a phone line dedicated to faxes.
With eFax, you never have to worry about busy signals or extra phone lines.
3. Greater customization
Cover pages in physical faxes are very standard, basic, and boring.
With eFax, you have the ability to customize the cover page to add to the presentation appeal. You can choose from prebuilt templates or unique designs to call attention to your brand and make a good first impression.
4. Flexible scheduling
Schedule faxes in advance to speed up productivity and manage your time if you have high volumes of faxes to send.
5. Secure document sharing
Security and confidentiality are challenging with physical faxes sent to an office where someone who isn’t the intended recipient could intentionally or accidentally retrieve the document.
A top eFax service provider offers an encrypted connection (TLS) and document storage in a password-protected account.
6. Anytime, anywhere delivery
The hardware requirements for sending and receiving traditional faxes limit mobility. With digital eFax systems, you can send and receive faxes wherever you have internet access.
In some countries where other modern communication systems aren’t as widespread, eFaxes fill an important void.
7. Documented “paper” trail
In some cases, you need a paper trail to record when documents are sent and received. With eFax, document logs automatically keep track of the times that your documents are sent and received.
8. Integration with cloud communications systems
To optimize the value of eFax services, they should integrate with your comprehensive communications system. A top provider integrates their eFax solution with other apps used to manage workflows.
There are a few steps involved in setting up and using eFax services. The good news is, getting set up and running is quick and simple.
The first step is to subscribe to one of the third-party online fax services available in the market and get assigned a fax number.
There are two ways to send an eFax:
- Use your service provider’s dedicated software or mobile app to eFax any document anywhere in the world.
- Attach any document to an email and send it to the recipient’s fax number. The recipient can access it via a fax machine or email inbox.
To receive eFaxes, you share your dedicated fax number with the person who’s going to send you documents.
Security is a top concern when sending documents—and one of the biggest reasons regulated industries still send and receive faxes.
With a top eFax provider, your faxes are sent over encrypted connections (TLS), as well as password-protected access to ensure only authorized users have access to documents transmitted via online faxing.
You control who has access to your dedicated eFax number. Strong providers allow you to block specific numbers and area codes (or vice versa) from faxing you and customize your advanced blocking options. Block senders you don’t know to safeguard against unwanted faxes.
You can use efax to optimize communication across a number of industries. The following are just some examples of ways to use efax:
1. Healthcare: Medical providers can easily send prescriptions to pharmacies in a secure system that protects patient information.
2. Financial Services: Applications include sending and receiving important loan documents as well as transaction records and other key statements.
3. Legal: Lawyers can submit and respond to legal declarations related to court proceedings with a high degree of confidentiality.
4. Real Estate: In an industry where agents are often on the move, you can quickly send and receive contracts and other documents required to make offers, list properties, and close deals.
With RingCentral, you can scale efax services to fit your user requirements as a standalone solution or integrate it with a more comprehensive cross-channel communications system.
Integrate eFax services with other popular applications such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft Outlook.
The RingCentral app makes it easy for your users to leverage the benefits of eFax from anywhere, using computer, tablet, or smartphone–no hardware required. You also get dedicated web and phone support to ensure your team can maximize their eFax capabilities.
Originally published Nov 07, 2022, updated Jan 18, 2023