The eFax Blog

Is It Time to Retire Your Fax Server? 

Apr 27, 2017 - by eFax Corporate Team

For many years, IT departments around the world used in-house fax servers to help centralise their respective companies’ day-to-day faxing schedules in terms of both management and general monitoring, as well as data security. At the time, this type of system was considered to be high-end in terms of technology. However, as time moves on and technology becomes increasingly advanced, there are signs that this type of fax server architecture is becoming increasingly outdated and less efficient when compared to more modern systems.

Should Fax Servers Be Scrapped By Businesses?

It has been noted in recent times that there are numerous disadvantages related to the traditional fax server architecture which has formed a central part of many a business’ day-to-day operations.

business server hardware maintenance

The following are four compelling reasons which may make you reconsider your company’s approach to fax servers.

1. The Cost of Using Fax Servers

As with anything related to the running of a successful business enterprise, one of the first things you need to look at is how much something costs; and fax server systems are no different in this regard.  

Unfortunately, your typical fax server system isn’t the most versatile or agile form of IT infrastructure, and can be challenging to scale should you need to upgrade or downsize your company’s capacity to send faxes. As your company grows you will inevitably need to send and receive more and more faxes. 

When such time comes around, your company will find itself having to make a big decision; persist with your existing fax server architecture or invest in upgrading to an entirely new one. Obviously, both options come with their own unique disadvantages.

The latter option, on the other hand, represents a substantial financial outlay. Purchasing an entirely new fax server system can cost thousands in terms of hardware. That’s not even taking the costs of associated software into account. Such additions can see the price of installation suddenly double. Then you have to take maintenance costs into account as well. Such large monetary outlays are not business decisions which can be made on a whim.

2. The Disadvantages of Using Telecom Lines

The financial costs associated with transmitting over digital ‘phone lines’ and analogue systems can easily be overlooked as they lack a physical, visible presence. The costs of such services vary. A single analogue line can be run fairly cheaply, with only a small monthly fee to pay. However, the main disadvantage associated with this option is that you can’t send multiple faxes at once, which is far from ideal in a busy working office environment which may require a great many faxes to be sent out at any given time. A significantly more efficient option is to opt for a multi-channel digital service, which would allow for the sending of multiple faxes at once. Unfortunately though, this system comes at a price, with costs which will easily run into the range of hundreds per month.
Analog and telecom costs are fast becoming a thing of the past as far as modern business IT is concerned. Such expenses can be removed from a company’s outlay fairly easily. All that needs to be done is to commit to converging all of your business’ fax traffic into your internet access network. From an IT perspective, this is a sensible move toward working efficiency.

3. Fax Sever Maintenance Wastes Valuable IT Resources 

Another often overlooked indirect outlay associated with running traditional fax servers from your office space is what it costs in terms of ‘man hours’. No doubt, your company’s IT team will have to maintain the associated fax machines, resolve ongoing operational issues as they arise and provide training to other members of staff so that they can use the fax system properly. This is valuable time which the IT team could be putting into other, more lucrative, business endeavours.

In addition to the above, the IT team will need to carefully monitor the output and usage of any internal fax servers, with a view to judging when said systems are approaching their maximum usage capacity, and in turn making recommendations as to when the system needs to be upgraded. This is not as clear cut a task as one might think initially, as sever workload and demand can change quite quickly, especially if your business experiences an unexpected (if not exactly unwelcome) spike in client leads, leading to a higher volume of important faxes needing to be sent and received on an ongoing basis.

While the costs associated with IT ‘man hours’ are considerably more difficult to pin down and quantify than the aforementioned ‘hard’ costs which have been covered earlier in this article, they should not be overlooked as they are still costing your company money, whether you can physically see where the money is going or not. Remember as well, that time spent here is time which could have been put to better use for more important IT concerns.

4. How Secure Are Fax Servers? 

Another extremely important consideration to take into account when considering the viability of using a fax server system in your day-to-day business is that of security.  Many traditional fax servers do not properly encrypt their hard drive’s data in an effective manner, which creates an obvious ‘soft spot’ point for the company which can be exploited by opportunistic hackers. This can be of particular concern if the fax server is connected to your company’s main network.

Such vulnerabilities in terms of security become all the more problematic when we take into account that your company may be handling data which could potentially lead to a client or customer’s personal information falling into the wrong hands. Such information falls under the remit of very strict privacy and data protection laws. The loss of such data could have serious legal repercussions for your company, as well as the loss of reputation.

It should also be noted that it is still a standard form of procedure in many businesses for a company administrator to perform what is known as a ‘content purge’ of fax records. This typically involves said administrator physically printing out faxed documents for filing purposes. The dangers of these practices are fairly apparent; important physical documents could easily be misplaced temporarily or lost entirely, leading to a loss in record-keeping and internal accountability. Similarly, having physical documents on site leaves a company open to the possibility of non-authorised staff viewing documentation which they should not be privy to.

cloud based technology infrastructure

Can Cloud-Based Systems Replace Traditional Fax Servers?

When we take the aforementioned reasons into account, a clear case emerges that it is high time that modern businesses put an end to their use of traditional fax server systems. Ideally, they should be replaced with more secure, efficient and cost-effective solutions. While there are several different options available on the market, here at eFax UK we firmly believe that the ideal course of action to take is to replace your company’s existing fax server with a cloud-based faxing system.  

The key advantages of moving faxing operations over to a cloud-based system are many. For example, this fully online service allows your business to send, receive, view, edit and even sign your fax documents securely through email. Your business practices will benefit greatly from sending faxes by email as technical delays will

become a thing of the past, allowing you to quickly and efficiently respond to clients and customers without having to worry about time-consuming printing and the dreaded paper jam.

Cloud-based faxing services are also a lot more cost-effective than your standard wired fax server system. Instead of having to pay up front for the use of your server and specific telephone lines, you can simply ‘pay as you go’, meaning you won’t end up overspending during times when you aren’t sending or receiving as many faxes. Essentially, the cloud ensures that you are getting exactly what you are paying for, a much fairer system than the old method of paying for your potential faxing ability, only to have to pay yet again once the pre-conceived capacity is reached.

To recap, here is what you are saving on when you move faxing services to a cloud-based system:

  • Fax Hardware Installations
  • Server Software Upgrades
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Telecommunication Line Rental
  • IT ‘Man Hours’

The many advantages associated with upgrading your fax server to a cloud-based system are clear. This is why eFax Corporate has become a trusted business solution for upward of 11 million customers worldwide, and is even used by almost half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies.

Read our whitepaper, The IT Manager’s Survival Guide to find out more about moving from fax servers to cloud faxing.

Or if you’d like to learn more about eFax Corporate, read our brochure to find out about the features and benefits.

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