The cloud is becoming pervasive, but in a good way. Many office functions that were largely inefficient or had unsolvable bottlenecks have been made more viable and usable. One function that has largely been left behind by both businesses and technology though is the fax machine. Sure, you can get machines that send to email, but they are largely out of the budget of most small businesses. There is a better option however.
If your company has a fax machine, and still uses it on a fairly regular basis, there is a way for you to cut costs, while still being able to send and receive faxes. The solution is found in the cloud.
Currently, many modern fax machines use a dedicated server to send and receive faxes. This server is usually located in the business, and connected to traditional fax machines. The server, along with the required transmission lines and cables, can be very expensive. With a cloud fax solution, lines and servers are moved outside the organization to a third-party provider.
Cloud fax solutions usually work by replacing the traditional fax machine with your computer. The solution acts as a virtual fax machine that can translate an email with an attachment into a fax, then send it over traditional phone lines to other fax machines. Incoming faxes are sent to a traditional phone/fax number, where the cloud picks this up and translates the fax by submitting this to your email. Essentially, your faxes become emails.
This has a number of benefits, including:
- Drastically lower cost: As you can get rid of bulky machines and the related infrastructure, you will see lower monthly costs. Beyond that, many cloud fax providers charge per page, so if you only send a few faxes each week, you only pay for what you use; ideal for businesses operating on tight margins.
- Easier management: As with most cloud solutions, there is only one point of contact for the service. The provider takes care of technical problems, administrative support and function management, freeing you up to focus on other business functions. Cloud fax services also afford more time to IT employees to work on other tasks, something most IT staff would be more than happy about.
- Increased efficiency: Employees who send/receive faxes are more efficient, as they don’t have to get up to check for received or sent faxes. Most cloud fax solutions also allow you to send more kinds of documents than traditional fax machines, so there’s no need to convert most documents into a format that can be sent by fax. This means more time to spend on other tasks.
- Better than email: Most email servers have a limit on the size of the document you can send. This means that with bigger documents, you need to either break them up or find another way to send them. Cloud faxes work like normal fax machines in that they send as many documents as is in the ‘feeder’, or in this case, documents on the computer. This makes it easier to send larger files.