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Why Do People Still Use Fax Machines?

Posted: October 16, 2020 at 1:25 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

If there is no fax in your workplace, you might be under the impression that faxes are a thing that belongs to the past. We have foldable phones now, Zoom video conferences, and OKRs – the ancient machines making scary noises don’t fit into this picture of the modern workplace, do they? 

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

According to a study from 2017, it is expected that the usage of the fax will actually increase in the near future. It is probably not what you’ve expected, and admittedly, those findings are surprising. Why would someone still use fax when sending files via the internet seems to be an easier option? Let’s find out!

Resistance to Changes?

The primary reason why companies use fax, instead of switching to alternative methods, such as email, is that they’ve been using this system for a long time, and it sort of works. Large companies are often resistant to change, and adjustments are made slowly. We are used to buying new smartphones or laptops every few years, as new models have slightly better specs, but the corporate world is governed by a different set of rules. 

It is hard to argue that finding a file on a computer is much easier than trying to find a paper document that could be anywhere in the office. However, it doesn’t mean that just because fax is an older method, it doesn’t have any advantages over the internet. Sure, some businesses still send documents via fax just because they’ve been doing it for years, but there are actual benefits of doing so. Additionally, it’s 2020 already, and you don’t actually need a fax machine – you could use an online faxing service instead.

The Security

Even though we are used to using the internet on a daily basis, unless we take matters of security seriously, we are at risk of being attacked by hackers. It means that if we are particularly unlucky, our private data, e.g., credit card number, could get stolen by a third party. 

It is certainly a scary scenario, but individuals are by no means the only ones who often become targeted by hackers. Gaining access to data that belongs to a prosperous company can be more profitable for hackers; that’s why businesses have strong security systems in place so that the possibility of a data leak is minimal. 

However, there is another way of improving the security: instead of sending confidential documents via an email, you could, alternatively, rely on fax as a go-to method. Most types of fax machines aren’t in any way connected to the internet, thus eliminating the possibility of a third-party attack. 

Of course, it doesn’t mean that sending data via the internet is inherently dangerous, as data can be encrypted, making it impossible for hackers to read the message, even if they manage to intercept it. 

However, remember our previous point: in large organizations, change doesn’t happen overnight.  It means that even if the encryption is currently at such a level that the likelihood of data leaks is extremely low, it might take long decades before most businesses adopt those modern methods.

What About the Internet?

On the other hand, if you don’t want to be limited to using a fax machine only in the office, but would like to send faxes, e.g., from your home using your smartphone, you could use an online faxing service. Faxes are often more convenient than email, but the problem is that fax machines are relatively prone to malfunctioning. 

Apart from that, if you are running a start-up company, you might not have enough funds to buy a fax machine, in which case the online fax services might seem like a better idea. This way, you could send and receive faxes on your smartphone or email, making faxing possible even if you work remotely

Another reason why people often prefer to send important documents using fax machines, rather than via email, is that once the other side receives the fax, you’ll get a confirmation page. If you choose to send the files via email, you won’t be 100% sure whether they haven’t been moved to the “spam” folder, or if, due to the issues with the internet connection, your message hasn’t been sent at all.  With fax machines, you won’t be left wondering whether your addressee has received the files or not. 

Conclusion

If you think that a fax machine belongs to the museum, you might be surprised by the fact that many large organizations still prefer to send and receive confidential documents via fax. To a certain degree, it results from resistance to change, but it doesn’t mean that fax machines don’t have any advantages over other communication methods. 

The most important one is the security that they offer, making it less likely that any private information will leak out. Though many people may be surprised by this fact, fax machines are still used in many offices, and this state of affairs is unlikely to change in the near future.

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