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The fax is dead! Long live the fax

Fax remains a pervasive technology underpinning vital business processes and productivity

Fax today remains a pervasive technology, powering many of the things we all rely on from finance and insurance, to buying a house, for healthcare and forgetting the food on our plates. This is even though the UK telecommunications watchdog Ofcom, has launched a consultation on its future. This is according to the latest research from eFax, the cloud-based fax solution for businesses.

In a statement the UK watchdog has launched a consultation on changes to the telecoms rules ‘proposing changes to the rules that will mean telecoms providers will no longer be required to provide fax services under the universal service obligation (USO).’

Scott Wilson, Vice President, Sales & Service, eFax, stated: “The chances are that today you are working in an office with people who have no idea what a fax machine is or why faxing was for so long the most efficient and effective way to communicate.

“Ofcom consulted on this subject in 2021 when it considered that fax should be removed from the USO. Now it is inviting comments on how this should be implemented.”

It will come as a surprise to many that the fax is still very much with us, just not how you would imagine. eFax conducted a major research project to gain a greater understanding of the cloud-based electronic faxing market and its dynamics. The survey polled 1001 senior IT and business decision-makers in large enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and public sector organisations.

Key findings included:

  • Just over a third of us send and receive secure documents every day, a further 34% do so 3 or 4 times a week
  • When asked our sample base 22% stated they send and receive secure documents at least weekly
  • The number of fax users in organisations is also far higher than you could ever imagine. Over half of our sample – 54% – had between 6 to 50 users; A full fifth claimed that there were 51 or more users in their organisation.
  • Fax usage is also expected to increase in over 37% of our sample, with 28% stating there would be no change, while only 35% felt they might see a decrease
  • Over the past year, an amazing 64% of our sample stated that the number of secure documents received had seen no change or had in fact increased.
  • 45% of our sample send and receive confidential documents via password protected emails, and 43% said they use email encrypted software
  • When it comes to fax, 35% use cloud-based fax systems, while 31% use a mix of cloud and traditional faxing, while 15% of our sample remained wedded to their traditional fax machine. But these figures hide a wealth of detail when it comes to different markets
  • 68% see it remaining for at least the next five years, while 14% of our users see it remaining for the foreseeable future

What documents do users assume are suitable for faxing?

Contracts                                             56%
Tenancy agreements                          44%

Company accounts                             31%

Commercially sensitive docs              28%

Documents containing bank details   26%

Patient records                                    24%

Documents containing PII                  19%

Wilson continued: “Fax remains central to many businesses and their operations.  It underpins many organisations, powering the effective communication of secure and legally binding documentation today and for years to come.

“It is therefore no surprise that the biggest driver for the ongoing use of fax is security at 41%. But this is rapidly followed by cost efficiency at 36%, compliance to GDPR at 34% and the increasing importance of cloud storage at 23%.”

“Cloud fax providers have had to develop an infrastructure that guarantees business users the most secure, private, and legally compliant way to transmit their confidential data to clients, vendors, partners, and other third parties. This is why the fax will remain at the heart of many business processes. Fax is dead! Long live the fax,” concluded Wilson

About eFax

eFax is the leading HITRUST CSF® certified digital cloud-faxing solution, trusted by five of the top 10 global enterprises and four of the top 10 Fortune 500 healthcare companies. The eFax Corporate product transmits billions of documents annually and is widely used in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Its appeal and success are built around three key features: the widest selection of phone numbers; an easy way to send and receive faxes and voicemail by email; and a fast, reliable and secure communications network. As a core product of Consensus Cloud Solutions’ leading interoperability suite, it creates operational efficiencies and enhances communications for paper-reliant industries e.g healthcare, legal, manufacturing, finance and real-estate.

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