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Have you tried virtual faxing yet? Stop hesitating. Handling your faxing needs online can dramatically improve the way your organization gets the job done.

A Quick History of Fax Technology

When faxing first became popular in the late '70s and early '80s, it was a game-changer for businesses. Thanks to this technology, businesspeople could send documents to clients and associates immediately. The same action would have taken several days through direct mail.

Over the next few decades, email emerged as an even quicker option for sending documents. However, many businesses still rely on faxes—especially for documents requiring signatures. For many prominent industries such as healthcare, government, and legal entities, faxing remains a central function.

Faxing is a convenient way to send physical documents and records quickly. But for all their benefits, paper fax machines have always presented a few significant challenges. The process can be cumbersome, expensive, and slow. The volume of paper generated from faxing can become overwhelming to store and manage.

Often, using a fax machine feels as though you're sending documents off into the void — where your sent materials may or may not be received, and you may or may not be able to tell. In short, traditional faxing can be a real pain.

A New Era for Business Faxes

The good news is that virtual faxing can mitigate the challenges of using paper fax machines. With online fax capabilities, users stand to benefit from the unparalleled convenience and portability of email while retaining traditional faxing's core functions.

Here's how sending an online fax works:

  • Generate documents to be faxed.
  • Digitally sign documents, if necessary.
  • Select a file from the virtual fax program.
  • Send the file to the recipient.

The process is straightforward and quick. One can complete it from the same computer used for other business functions.

5 Benefits of Online Fax

Let's dive into five of the top ways online fax is better than traditional paper faxing.

1. Convenient and Portable

    With virtual faxing, users can launch fax services from anywhere. This is incredibly convenient for companies and organizations that have a remote workforce.

    For example, a company with an external sales force can benefit from faxing online by sending signed applications and contracts from a smartphone or mobile device. In doing so, the company would have a digital record of the transaction from the start and could start working with new clients immediately.

    Before, external sales associates may have had to go into the office or wait until they could make it to a fax machine to process these documents. Mobile devices marry the power of fax with pocket-sized convenience.

    2. Good for the Environment

      According to a study conducted by the University of Colorado, more than 210 billion sheets of paper are used by fax machines each year in the United States.

      On top of the negative environmental impact of deforestation, fax machines are energy hogs. In addition to the power required to send and receive faxes actively, fax machines are usually left on continuously to receive incoming faxes that come in outside regular hours.

      Because virtual faxes work within online networks, the energy impact is virtually nonexistent.

      3. Secure and Paperless Storage

        Some companies don't want to update their fax processes because of document security issues. Because traditional faxes are sent over phone lines, they are seen as safer than email attachments that can be vulnerable to hacking.

        This is a valid point. Hackers and other bad actors frequently target vulnerabilities related to email and network security. By using a legacy fax machine, companies can reduce the likelihood of a security breach.

        However, a reputable virtual fax provider will protect your documents through SSL encryption and email confirmation. It will use secure, monitored communication channels. Ultimately, your documents are likely safer sent through fax online. When printed by a paper fax machine, the physical copies are left potentially vulnerable to anyone passing by.

        Virtual faxing allows faxed documents to be stored in encrypted, secure, and cloud-accessible databases. Many offices are more than happy to do away with the work involved in maintaining and securing paper files.

        4. Affordable

          You can expect to spend several hundred to a few thousand dollars on a high-capacity fax machine. Also, you'll need to contract a third-party vendor to handle service calls and maintenance. The downtime created when a device goes on the fritz can become quite costly, as well.

          You'll also need to invest in a dedicated phone line for each fax machine. You can technically receive both fax calls and regular phone calls on a single line. However, you'll be much happier separating these functions if you expect to receive faxes with any frequency.

          Here are a few other "buried" costs involved in traditional faxing:

          • Electricity
          • Employee time spent troubleshooting and running the machine
          • Paper

          Virtual faxing eliminates these costs. Partner with a virtual fax provider by paying a fee to use the services online, and you won't need paper, additional phone lines, or extra power. When your employees need to send and receive faxes, they can remain at their desks and take care of these tasks much more efficiently. Online faxing is a clear winner when it comes to affordability.

          5. Easy to Use

            Fax machines may seem simple to use if you've been accustomed to them over the years. But they are not intuitive for many new employees. In a world where most business functions happen online through virtual platforms, touchscreen devices, and cloud technology, using a legacy fax machine can feel daunting.

            New fax users are confronted with a sometimes baffling process that can lead to a host of questions, like:

            • Where does the paper go?
            • Do I need to use an area code?
            • Do I dial "1" first?
            • How do I get a confirmation page to print?
            • What if the fax doesn't go through?

            These days, traditional phone lines barely get any use—let alone dated, manual fax machines. Virtual faxing eliminates the hurdle of training employees to operate, troubleshoot, and maintain fax machines. The process is as intuitive as your employees' digital functions every day, like email and digital file retrieval and storage.

            Ready to Fax Online?

            Find out why so many organizations are turning to virtual fax. Here's a hint: It's as easy as sending an email and much more affordable than running and maintaining a fax machine.

            Learn more about Dialpad Virtual Fax and how you can send and receive faxes online from our intuitive desktop app.