Yes, in 2017, people still fax. What’s more shocking is that it still plays an important role in the day-to-day operations of many businesses. Legal documents, medical documents, and anything that needs a signature should be faxed. However, technology has come a long way, providing businesses with a new way to fax that saves time and money.

Your business no longer needs a regular fax machine to send and receive important documents requiring signatures, and faxing no longer requires dialing numbers, with or without area codes, to work. That’s right! Now you can send faxes like you’d send an email: through the internet.

What is Online Faxing?

Online faxing is the modernized version of regular faxing. Online faxing sends faxes in a digital format through your internet connection from your computer or mobile device, while regular faxing requires a phone line and someone standing over their own fax machine waiting for your message to — perhaps — be printed out.

Simply put: it’s much more convenient to use, making it a necessary fixture for businesses of all types. Plus, there are a number of providers to choose from.

Benefits of Online Faxing

There are tons of benefits to using online faxing over regular faxing, so we’re going to break down the ones that may seem obvious, but need to be mentioned.

No Standalone Hardware or Software:
Online faxing removes the need to have a fax machine with its own dedicated phone line. Less hardware means less problems; less problems means less time and money spent on fixing them.

Reduced Phone Costs:
Phone costs will inevitably go down thanks to no longer relying on a fax machine with a dedicated phone line. The only cost aside from your monthly subscription would be for your internet service, which you should already have. In fact, many Business VoIP providers offer virtual faxing as an add-on or part of their service. See the top ten hosted PBX providers here.

Added Confidentiality:
Online faxes can be sent directly to your email instead of the office fax machine that everyone has access to. Many faxes contain legal documents with sensitive details that need to remain confidential. Having faxes sent directly to your email eliminates this potential risk. For more on protecting your VoIP network, click here.

Email Focused:
Online faxing keeps things private, organized, and cuts down on paper costs. Faxes can be done through an email. All you have to do is just send an email with the recipient’s phone number and supplied domain name in the address line. Here’s our quick guide on how to fax directly through Gmail.

International Faxing:
Because online faxing doesn’t require a dedicated phone line, your data does not transfer through the PSTN, so there are no extra costs or headaches. Like email, online faxes can be sent anywhere at any time. Be sure to check out the best online faxing services of 2017 for more info.

Feature Breakdown

Depending on the provider, online faxing comes with tons of useful features businesses can take advantage of.  Here are some of the important features you really don’t want to miss out on:

Group Delivery:
Group delivery will lead to a significant boost in office productivity by allowing businesses to send faxes to twenty different addresses simultaneously. Recipients will receive a message in their inbox.

Mobility:
The ability to schedule, send, and receive faxes out of the office allows for intense mobility. As long as you have an internet connection, you can send and receive faxes. If employees are traveling or on the go, time will no longer need to be spent finding a fax machine just to send or receive one single document.

Electronic Signatures:
With fax still being used as a principal method of exchanging legal and binding documents or contracts, it’s imperative to have the function to digitally sign any form you may have to send out or receive. With online faxing, users can sign digitally, or import their hand written signature with ease.

Junk Fax Screening:
No matter what your business uses primarily, whether it’s the phone, email, or fax, spam will always make its presence known. Online faxing helps to eliminate the problem by allowing your business to filter good addresses from bad by utilizing either white or blacklisting functionality.

Large File Sharing:
When your business strictly uses email to send files, you might find that it is impossible to send files over a certain size limit. With online faxing, it’s now possible to send files over 100 pages long, as well as videos, high-resolution pictures, audio files, and spreadsheets. Combined with group delivery, they can be sent to multiple people with little difficulty.

For a more in-depth analysis of online faxing features, check out this article listing ten powerful online faxing features.

List of Providers

In order to see what your business’ options are, we’re going to break down what each provider offers so you can determine what best fits your company’s needs.

Provider

Monthly Cost of Cheapest Plan $4.95 $7.99 $6.63 $9.17 $14.13
Setup Costs None None None None None
Send & Receive Faxes Limit 500 Pages Shared 500 Pages Shared 500 Pages Shared 200 Received – 100 Sent 150 Received – 150 Sent
Over Limit Fee per Fax 0.03/Cents/Page 0.06/Cents/Page 0.03/Cents/Page 0.10/Cents/Page 0.10/Cents/Page
Storage Length Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Free Trial 30 Days 30 Days 30 Days 30 Days 30 Days
Month to Month Option Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Annual Prepay Discount No Yes Yes, Save $15 Yes, 1 Month Free Yes, 2 Months Free
Mobile App Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Desktop App Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Web Browser Access Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Toll-Free Fax Number Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Schedule Delivery Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Electronic Signature No Yes Yes No Yes
Email Integration Yes Yes No Yes Yes
More Info Nextiva VFax RingCentral Fax MetroFax MyFax eFax

As you can see, most of these providers offer many of the same features; however, not one of these providers offers everything you might be looking for. There’s always a trade off. Again, it’s up to you, the business owner, to decide what’s best for your company.

Our Take

At this point, there is no reason to continue using a regular fax machine. The cost to set up online faxing is nonexistent with the previously mentioned providers, and their cheapest plans are no more than $15 a month — some providers even allow clients to add online faxing to their existing UC services.

If your business has a secure internet connection, then you might as well switch to online faxing. New technology opens the door for new kinds of threats, but VoIP providers are staying on top of it. If this is a concern regarding your important documents, read this article for more on Cisco’s 2017 Midyear Report regarding cybersecurity.

All Benefits, No Downsides

You’re saving yourself time, your privacy remains intact, you’re paying less, and you can share large files with multiple people simultaneously that emails might not be able to handle.

Fax machines take up space, they cost money to repair, they don’t filter spam, someone has to be standing over it to ensure the recipient receives the fax, and you can only fax one document at a time — all of which is eliminated if your business is willing to go online.

It seems like the only reason people still use regular fax is that they’re unaware online faxing is a thing. I see no actual benefits to having a dedicated fax machine in the office. Find a provider that best fits your company’s needs and take advantage of what online faxing has to offer, and you’ll never have to look back.

When you’re done reading this article, read our five-step guide for sending a fax from Gmail. You’ll see how easy online faxing is, and you’ll be kicking yourself for not switching sooner.