The unprecedented events of 2020 have shown many organizations the cracks in their infrastructure. Faced with the sudden reality of remote work environments, organizations that have traditionally relied upon fax machines to securely exchange documents are now faced with a serious problem: fax machines are in offices where employees aren’t. That means no access to send or receive faxes from the machines.
Issues with fax machines are not new. Fax machines are prone to breaking, expensive – often requiring dedicated copper telephony in the age of the internet – and consuming massive amounts of toner and paper. Yet fax continues to exist across industries and workflows because, if the machines work and you can access them, it does its job well. Fax remains the easiest, most accessible way to securely get documents from one place to another quickly and in a form that other businesses can easily receive.
While day to day communications have largely transitioned to email and attachments, these are notoriously insecure and not compliant with privacy regulations. Even when employees are remote, lines of communication need to stay open and need to stay secure and compliant. So, how can you extend fax to remote employees who can no longer access machines in an office?
Digitizing to survive the now
Digital fax (a.k.a. Fax over IP, FoIP, cloud fax and fax servers) is the perfect marriage of fax’s classic strengths with modern solutions to its problems. These innovations directly address many of the issues facing organizations whose employees have been forced to telework by world events.
Digital fax solutions send and receive faxes over the internet via software or the cloud, not specialized hardware. That not only means that you can get rid of the old machines, but also that employees can access the fax solution from anywhere with an internet connection. This is perfect for the new teleworking normal – no need to reach a device in the office, and secure communications out to employees’ individual devices, regardless of where they are.
Because faxes are delivered electronically to secured applications rather than deposited in open trays, the risk of other people, even people sharing the same living space, seeing information they’re not supposed to (a violation of all the above-mentioned regulations where applicable) is significantly lower. Because modern digital fax solutions include centralized recordkeeping, your organization will have visibility into (and an audit trail for) all incoming and outgoing faxes, regardless of where the solution is used.
Adapting to remote work
Ultimately, it’s hard to predict just what the world is going to look like in a few months, let alone next year. There are too many moving targets involved, and as has been said, “the only constant is change.” The safest strategy is to equip your organization for maximum agility.
Digital fax solutions can be accessed via email integrations, web clients, mobile apps, and EMR/EHR connectors. This allows staff to communicate in the manner that best suits workflows, rather than forcing workflows to fit faxing.
Opting for a cloud-hosted deployment makes physical storage, maintenance, security, and administration of fax servers someone else’s problem. It frees up IT resources to focus on other tasks more important to your organization’s mission. Cloud fax services include disaster recovery/high availability to ensure the tool is always there when you need it.
Entire industries are moving their infrastructure into the cloud to save time, frustration, and money. Even if yours hasn’t begun, fax is the perfect place to start.
Modernizing to thrive into the future
Building a more agile communications infrastructure doesn’t only pay dividends when there are sudden unexpected shifts (temporary or permanent) in the way your staff works. It also puts your organization in a stronger position for expanding, acquiring, and diversifying. It’s easy to add capacity, add sites, and even add new divisions, especially if you opt for deployment via the cloud.
Capturing modern fax’s full potential
Digital fax just isn’t about replacing fax machines, it’s about breaking the tool free of its limitations and bringing in new capabilities. Linking your digital fax solution to a digital capture solution realizes its true potential.
Part of fax’s security lies in its immutability – you receive an image that’s an exact copy of the sent document, nothing more, nothing less. That’s just fine for printing, reading, or archiving, but we now need to do more with our information – the content of the fax needs to be converted into database-readable data, and that’s where a capture solution comes in.
With capture, a fax comes in as an immutable image, and then software reads it, extracting critical information like account numbers, balance sheets, test results, identity information, etc. It then passes that information to the location of your choice so it can be integrated into all sorts of databases, management software, etc.
Find your footing now and leap forward with OpenText
OpenText is the industry-leading provider of digital fax services, with solutions available in on-premises, hybrid, cloud, and managed services deployments to suit your organization’s needs. We specialize in helping organizations harness and realize the full potential of the massive amounts of data, including offering the leading digital capture solution, which integrates easily into a digital fax deployment.
Explore how OpenText™ RightFax™, OpenText™ Fax2Mail™ and OpenText™ XM Fax can help your organization weather the current storm and evolve communications into something more powerful to build your future. It’s time to build foundations that help you survive the now and thrive in the future.