Faxing remains in wide use, even as other forms of communication have been gaining momentum. Small and large companies worldwide still use fax machines to communicate, notably in the public sector and the healthcare sector.
However, we’re living in the digital era. As a result, digital options such as online fax services, which enable you to send and receive faxes through your email account, have mostly replaced traditional fax machines. In place of printing and filing faxes, you may save your fax documents in the cloud and access them whenever you need them. If you use a service that lets you amend and sign papers online, you may save money on printing costs, as well as ink and paper.
The following are some considerations to bear in mind when you choose an online business faxing service for your office’s workflow if you or your company intends to use one.
How Do Online Fax Services Work?
To use online fax services, you’d ideally have to sign up with a company that offers these services, like eFax. Once done, you’ll be provided with a fax number, using which people can send fax online to you via email or a mobile application without needing a fax machine. But, how does online fax work? Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you send and receive faxes:
Sending An Online Fax
- A document is attached to an email message by the sender. Microsoft Word or other word processing programs can be used to generate the file.
- The sender adds the recipient’s fax number, followed by the name of the faxing service—for example, [email protected].
- The service’s platform will then convert the attachment into a format accessible by a fax machine, which is then sent across the phone line.
- The data is decoded and printed by the recipient’s fax machine.
Receiving An Online Fax
- The recipient’s allocated fax number is dialed by the sender.
- The fax machine interprets the data and sends it across the phone line.
- An image file is sent to the recipient’s email address when the service gets the data, translates it and transmits it.
- After receiving the email, the receiver clicks on the attachment to see the file.
Why You Should Choose Online Fax Services
After all these years, faxing is still one of the safest and most dependable methods for transmitting vital papers between organizations. However, old fax systems have grown increasingly inefficient as infrastructures move to the cloud and traditional fax systems have become too expensive to maintain. This is where online faxing becomes crucial. We’ve listed some of the benefits of online fax services below:
1. A Cost-Effective Solution
Maintaining a traditional fax machine can be extremely high. In fact, a study suggests that the average cost of a fax machine averages between $150 to $250 per day. Moreover, maintenance, repair, phone line services and even long-distance charges are additional fees that must be factored into the total cost of ownership of a fax machine. Hence, unlike traditional faxing, which can be expensive, using online faxing services like eFax is incredibly cost-effective.
2. Ample Storage For Recordkeeping
Online fax services make document storing and archiving simple since they allow you to categorize documents immediately from your fax portal or email. This removes the need to scan and store paper faxes, which are prone to be misplaced or destroyed at any point. It also reduces the need to handle mounds of paper.
3. Security & Compliance
There are various reasons why online faxing has replaced traditional faxing as the primary method of transmitting documents.
Moreover, to stay compliant with multiple laws and regulations, many organizations are now required to adhere to stricter standards of conduct. To keep up with the continuously changing directives, onsite infrastructures must be regularly updated, which is expensive, difficult and time-consuming. This results in many firms not wanting to invest the money. Hence, they continue to employ out-of-date software, leading to massive security breaches. However, online faxing is the perfect and compliant alternative option in this case.
In addition to the use of old technology that can’t keep up with the most recent security upgrades, online faxing provides improved security in the management of information. When using a standard fax machine, papers holding sensitive information are left out in the open for an extended period, increasing the likelihood that an unauthorized individual may view them or hamper them.
Sensitive data is secured during transmission and only available through the recipient’s personal account in online faxing.
As reported in Inc., the average office worker in the US uses an estimated 10,000 sheets of paper per year. If a small percentage of fax users switched to online faxing, it could save paper and trees each year.
Best Features That Online Fax Services Must Have
With the capacity to send and receive faxes, online fax services frequently include additional features to increase their usefulness and security, but some functions cost extra. If you’re on the hunt to find the best online fax service available on the market, we’ve shortlisted some of the must-have features that should be available.
Ample Storage and Option To Archive
Some providers limit the number of faxes you may save, while others limit the duration faxes can be stored or archived. Don’t sign up for a service without checking the specifics beforehand.
Availability of A Local or Toll-Free Fax Number
You may often find toll-free or local fax numbers when using an online fax service. In most cases, long-distance and international faxing are also available. However, there may be an extra charge depending on the country to which the document is being sent.
High Security For Sensitive Data
Several industries, including healthcare and government, view faxes as safer than email, so they choose this mode of communication for sensitive information. The majority of service providers provide some type of data protection, such as SSL or PGP encryption and password security, in order to protect customers’ communications. Some are also HIPAA-compliant. Since some vendors charge extra for these options, it’s critical to double-check before completing a purchase.
Faxing may be made easier and integrated with your existing business tools with the aid of some providers. Some common examples of these are alerts or notifications on your mobile, the ability to send faxes from mobile apps, the ability to add e-signatures, sending a fax to multiple people at the same time, and sometimes even forwarding faxes to multiple people at the same time.
How to Choose the Best Online Fax Service for Small Businesses?
Now that you know how online fax services work, their importance and some must-have features, the question is, how to choose the right one for your business? We’ve listed some things to consider while choosing the best online fax service for small businesses.
Determine Your Monthly Requirements
Using basic math, make a rough estimate of the number of faxes you will send and receive in a given month. The majority of online faxing programs offer a limited number of pages for free, after which more pages must be purchased and paid for. Read the internet fax plans very carefully and then make your selection based on which one is the most cost-effective while matching your monthly fax requirements.
Make a Note of Any Special Requirements
All internet faxing services have the same nature and basic functions. Still, there are certain fascinating online fax features and options that are either exclusive to one provider or available only to a select handful of these online faxing services. Sending faxes online to human-operated telefax machines or faxes to numbers needing dialing extensions, for example, leaves you with very few options to choose from. So, develop a list of the fax services your small business needs and then select a provider that can check a majority of your boxes.
Understand Geographical Restrictions
Consider which nations you might want a fax number from before choosing a faxing service. It’s now much easier to find internet faxing services that supply fax numbers in the areas you want to target.
The Availability of a Strong Search Functionality
The best online fax services are designed to cut down on the number of printed faxes in order to save money and become more efficient. You may effortlessly browse through your notes and discover faxed documents with the help of a robust search engine. So, make sure that the provider you choose offers strong search functionality.
Don’t Forget to Use the Free Trial
Faxing services online that are well-known in the industry typically provide a free trial of their services or a premium plan with a similar free trial. Once your selection is ready and you’re struggling to choose the final vendor, test out these selected providers and pay attention to the interface and style of the service you choose.
Choose the Right Online Fax Service for Your Small Business
When looking for the top online fax services, it’s essential to weigh your requirements against the options provided by the vendor, while also checking online fax service reviews from other customers. Make sure you understand the vendor’s fee structure before signing a contract. Request a free demonstration of the service if you still have questions.
At eFax, we understand that your files are both time-sensitive and confidential. Our solutions are designed to provide top-tier security along with a plethora of various features, without the inconvenience of traditional faxing.