Fax technology will soon lose support. Here are some alternatives.

Since the Federal Communication Commission’s deregulation of copper lines in 2019, telecom companies are shifting from traditional analog telephone lines to newer technologies such as fiber. This change will put organizations that use fax technology in a tough spot. Verticals such as health care, real estate, government, legal, finance, education and banking still rely on analog fax technology, in some cases because it’s considered a safe way to send protected information. Now these organizations are facing either the total removal and replacement of those lines, or they’ll be charged extremely high rates — two to four times the current amount per month.

“These industries depend on faxing because they believe it is the most secure way of transmitting documents,” says Curtis Verhoff, Advanced Solutions Manager at Blue Technologies, Inc. “They’re dealing with HIPAA, PII, PHI, and PCI information, and are obligated to protect that information when transmitting it. Fortunately, there are secure solutions available they can switch to that will protect that information and save them money.”

Smart Business spoke with Verhoff about the coming changes to analog telephone lines and what it means for organizations that fax.

Why has faxing persisted?

Often entities in certain verticals are mandated to fax forms that contain private, protected information. They’re sending a high number of faxes — sometimes millions of documents per year. While some organizations are under specific mandates to use fax, some haven’t switched because they are not up to speed on some of the newer technologies that offer the same protection.

In addition to telecom companies making changes, end users now need to fax in ways other than hardcopy printing that offer the same security. One prominent alternative is cloud faxing. This technology allows organizations to move past fax machines that rely on the old copper lines and switch to a secure internet network to send a fax. It offers the end user the ability to fax from anywhere rather than specific workstations and it gives organizations a level of security that is compliant with HIPAA, SOX, ISO, and other security mandates these organizations are compelled to follow.

How does cloud faxing work?

Transitioning to the new fax technology means utilizing a different backbone — fiber network, fax machine hardware — for delivering faxes. Organizations can now utilize their internal network technology and internet connection to securely transmit documents to a cloud-based solution that protects the information during transmission and will automatically delete that transmission once it’s been successfully completed. The destination could be to someone utilizing cloud faxing or someone still using an analog device connected to an old copper line. The document being faxed is held in a secure, encrypted cloud solution that requires certain authentications; it is not automatically being delivered to somebody’s email, so it’s more secure than just emailing documents.

Cloud faxing also allows companies to better accommodate their mobile workforce. Most people are not at the office every day, so utilizing this method of faxing gives them the flexibility to fax without traditional fax equipment or needing to be at the office. Cloud faxing also means no more busy signals, regardless of how many people are attempting to fax at the same time.

Who can help organizations make this transition?

The current copper-line analog technology faxes use to transmit information could be gone within the next two to four years. In the meantime, costs to support these lines are expected to rise for end users — between two to four times greater than it is now.

Also, most telecom companies are not going to support these lines because the cost is too high, and not enough customers remain to justify that expense. That’s why organizations should talk with their technology provider and ask them to look at their current fax usage to find an alternative method before the analog lines are no longer supported. There are several faxing alternatives that can be put in place and their technology partner can help them make that transition.

Curtis Verhoff

Advanced Solutions Manager

216.271.4800 ext. 2251

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