Halloween is a great holiday to celebrate the undead, but that’s no way to run a 21st century business.
Didn’t fax machines go out about the same time as typewriters, rotary dial telephones and the dodo bird? Actually, faxing itself is not dead or even dying. It’s the old school fax modem that needs to remain buried. According to The Houston Chronicle, business still sends 100 billion pages of faxes a year.
What Is a Fax Modem?
Some fax modems are internal (plugged directly into your computer’s motherboard) and some external (connected to your machine through a USB port). It acts as a telephone jack, and connects with an ordinary telephone landline (not Voice Over Internet Protocol).
When you use a fax machine or computer to send a document, it first codes the entire page, creating an image. Using the uniform G3 protocol, the modem sends that code over the phone line with a series of high-pitched tones. The fax modem at the other end receives the information, translates it and replicates the image.
Unlike a decade ago, most computers today no longer come with an internal fax modem. You can buy external ones. You can also buy dedicated fax machines.
If you like, you can still buy stereo turntables, too.
However, starting with the Mac OS X 10.7 update, Apple computers are no longer compatible with fax modems. Windows 2012 doesn’t support fax modems. They are now mainly used with dial-up Internet connections. PC-based faxing via modems has largely been replaced with email.
Old School Faxes Are a Major Security Risk
Fax machines peaked in usefulness and popularity in the 80s and 90s, back when hardly anybody worried about hackers. Hackers existed, but they preyed on bulletin boards, government machines and large businesses. Ordinary businesses were not hooked up to networks, so nobody thought about shielding their faxes.
Fax machines store copies of every fax they send and receive, unencrypted, of course. Nobody can remove them. Eventually they’re overwritten by newer fax images. If you’re still using a fax machine, all a hacker has to do is call up your dedicated fax line and send a signal into your machine. The same goes for copiers, multifunction printers, scanners and all office machines capable of transmitting analog faxes.
Cloud Fax Is Re-Animated, Fully Alive and Well
These days, faxes sent via modems are slow and sluggish, much like movie zombies. However, since they succeed only 85% of the time, they don’t have the virtue of tenacity that movie zombies do.
Fortunately, fax technology itself is still thriving. It’s just found new life in the cloud. Cloud faxing:
- Keeps its contents secure with the latest encryption
- Maintains strong audit trails
- Complies with HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, GLBA and other privacy laws
- Seamlessly integrates with ERP systems and other business applications such as SAP NetWeaver
- Processes fax orders 75% more quickly
- Cuts the cost of fax delivery by 50%
- Enables real-time tracking and status notifications with 24/7 availability
- Has nearly unlimited capacity
- Doesn’t need costly fax machines and servers
- Eliminates staff time spent waiting for, printing and scanning faxes
The day after Halloween, zombies return to the cemetery. Let fax modems follow their example, replaced by cloud fax.