What is Cloud Faxing?
Fax machines have been around for a long time, and feature prominently in pretty much any film or TV show set in offices during the 70s and 80s. The fax machine actually first landed on the scene around 1964 when the Xerox Corporation came up with the Long Distance Xerography machine. From that point onward, the company went about upgrading and improving on that initial product with iterative designs.
At the time, this was a revolution. No longer did a company need to rely on snail mail for written communication – now it could send a contract, a plan, notes, minutes, or any other kind of written information across any distance, in mere seconds.
While that technology is now around 50 years old, it has nevertheless stood the test of time. It might feel somewhat outdated today, but there is still a place for fax. It has the benefits of email and post combined and remains highly secure in an era when hacks and data breaches are commonplace and high profile.
But like every other technology in business, the fax machine has had to adapt and change with time. Many people don’t realize that there is a more modern alternative to regular fax: cloud faxing.
How it Works
Cloud fax is essentially a system that allows you to send an email to the cloud, which will then be effectively ‘turned’ into a fax. So as a user, you find your document and you then email it to either an address or a web portal. From there, the email is then passed on to the cloud fax company, which will send the fax on your behalf to the recipient.
Other terms for this concept include internet fax, fax via email, online faxing, and email fax. Whatever the case though, from your perspective this works just the same as email – you just type out your message and then send. The only difference is that the recipient will receive this as a fax message that they will print out.
How to Get Started
To get started, you’ll first want to find a reliable cloud faxing service that is trustworthy and that offers a good rate. You’ll need to find the best company that can handle what you need and then sign up to create an account. Usually, you will then receive a ‘virtual fax number’ which is assigned uniquely to your account.
In some cases it will often be possible to receive multiple fax numbers. However, for the vast majority of companies, just a single eFax number will suffice.
If you have a larger organization, then you might want different fax numbers for each employee (especially if they send a lot of internal faxes), or they might want to get different fax numbers for different imprints/subsidiaries of their business. The best cloud faxing companies will allow you to set up as many numbers as you need.
These numbers can often be standard local telephone numbers, toll free numbers, or other more custom types of numbers. You might also be able to transfer your existing number.
Once you have been assigned your fax number, you can then use it to send and receive faxes as you normally would.
When you decide you want to send a fax, you will do so by sending an email to a specific address that will include the address of the intended recipient (or this might be included in the subject line). Either way, the email will then be received by the cloud fax service, which will send the fax from your number.
When you receive a fax meanwhile, this will be first received by the cloud fax company, and then sent directly to your email account in a digital format. Of course if you wish, then you can choose to use cloud faxing only to send faxes – while still receiving them as normal in your office from a machine.
These emails will need to be a certain length of course, and only certain types of attachment will work. If you send an animated gif, then of course it’s important to keep in mind that your recipient is not going to see that as intended! That said, it is possible to send a lot of other types of attachment. In particular, PDFs will typically lend themselves very well to sending as faxes.
It’s common for a lot of cloud faxing companies to provide email receipts to let you know that your message has successfully been delivered.
Benefits of Cloud Faxing
So, what are the benefits of all this? Why send an email to send a fax when you could just… you know… send a fax?
Actually, there are a large number of benefits to cloud faxing and a lot of good reasons for businesses to look into it.
The first and most obvious benefit is that cloud faxing is more secure. When you send an email, your message will be sitting in the recipients inbox. Your address is there for all to see, and that means that it can be taken advantage of by malware, or an unscrupulous employee. It also means you’re almost always going to be inadvertently signed up to their mailing list for life.
Likewise with post, you are sharing personal details such as your physical address, which can be used in a number of hacking attempts.
But by sending a fax, you are sending something that naturally obfuscates your actual details. The only detail the recipient has from you is the number that belongs to the faxing company.
There are many more benefits too. Being able to send physical copies of things is still a huge benefit in this day and age. And not only that, but this also has a lot of practical benefits – being a faster and more convenient option as compared with conventional faxing.
With all that in mind then, cloud faxing is something that every business should consider. It’s time to bring fax into the digital age!