Credit: Fax machine image via Shutterstock
Faxing, a 20th-century office technology that helped speed up the pace of doing business, is alive and thriving with small- and medium-size businesses in the 21st century. In fact, most SMBs (85 percent) say they use faxing and more than half (54 percent) say it is a central part of their daily workflow, a new survey shows. But the technology has undergone a facelift.
Part of the impetus for change in faxing technologyare concerns about the privacy of data, according to a survey of more than 1,000 office workers sponsored by GFI Software, which provides network faxing solutions for SMBs.
Although 72 percent of businesses still make use of traditional paper fax technology, paper cannot preserve privacy. Half of office workers have at one time or another been concerned about security and privacy when sending a traditional paper fax, the survey found. Those fears are not ungrounded; 49 percent of respondents admitted to reading a paper faxsitting in a fax machine that was intended for someone else.
This represents an enormous risk, particularly in the financial services, health care and legal industries, where data privacy is paramount.
Electronic faxing, where an encrypted fax is transmitted directly from one point to an another and provides proof of delivery, is an increasingly popular alternative and is now used by 27 percent of SMBs, the survey found.
It provides greater security than transmission via email and eliminates the potential risks of harboring viruses or deceptive Trojan horse infections. Email faxes can also be blocked by spam filters, often with no notification to either sender or recipient.
"Faxing is a required form of transactional communication in a number of key industries for compliance reasons, but while paper faxing can be risky from a privacy perspective, many people aren’t aware that electronic faxing is actually superior to even email in terms of security," said Phil Bousfield, general manager of the infrastructure business unit at GFI Software. "This is a technology that has quietly evolved to change with the times and serve the needs of various vertical markets, leapfrogging email in the process to become the most secure form of digital communication available. Whether most people realize it or not, faxing is here to stay — it's just had a facelift."
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