Why Your Office Fax Refuses to Die

Here's why businesses still love fax machines - and why they really shouldn't love this outdated piece of 1960's tech as much as they should.

You know that feeling; a user has strolled confidently up to you, and demanded you fix some gadget around the office. It doesn’t matter if you actually know anything about that device. That’s entirely beside the point.

“You’re the tech person. The printer is technology. Fix it!” they exclaim.  You can see it in their eyes. They fully believe you have memorized all 200+ pages of that printer model’s user guide, all ready to jump into action for a “three flashes, two beeps” scenario.

Instead, you suppress the urge to send them a sarcastic e-mail with a LMGTFY link.

This is why you want to get rid of a lot of the tech around your workplace. Of course, you can’t get rid of the printer. While you hate dealing with it, you understand it serves a purpose. But there’s one device that does boggle you.

The fax machine.

WHY on earth do they need it? Surely this 1960’s relic has had it’s day? In the age of e-mails, cloud technology, and smartphones, that antiquated plastic brick seems completely out of place.

If you’re wondering this, you’re not alone. Approximately 89% of organizations still use fax, and 62% of IT pros have to offer support for them. So why are fax devices still a thing?

Why People Refuse To Give Up Fax Machines

1. Customers and users are behind the times


Older employees and customers still use fax, and don’t want to or can’t learn to use new mediums. That means your business has to have a fax machine to do business with them.

It could be worse. There are still customers who only want to use postal mail, or come in to the business in person for everything.

2. People Feel Fax is More Secure.

Many people say a fax cannot be intercepted in the same way as an e-mail packet – that they would need to get physical access to either endpoint.

There are also a number of compliance standards that consider faxing a secure method, but not e-mail (E.g HIPAA). This means it’s a choice between setting up end-to-end e-mail encryption… or using a fax machine.

Guess which one businesses usually choose.

3. A Literal Paper Trail


Quite a few people feel secure in that fax benefits from existing laws against wiretapping, and the fact you can prove faxes were sent by subpoena each party involved for fax logs.

4. Easier than Manual Faxing

Without a dedicated fax machine, it’s very hard to send an outgoing fax. You’ve got to scan the document on a copier, go back to the desk and find the scan, attach the scan image to an e-mail, and then send it.

With a physical fax, you just slap it into the scanner and pick a number from the address book. You don’t have to know much to send a fax.

Why People SHOULD Give Up Fax Machines

… If your sanity isn’t enough of a reason, here’s 20 reasons your business should toss fax machines.

  • It’s a massive security risk. Fax machines are in a public space, and unless you fork out for multiple fax machines, anyone can pick up those confidential documents.
  • Employees are likely to read documents walking by, even inadvertently, and potentially see stuff they shouldn’t (E.g. financials). Who hasn’t heard a loud printing noise while walking past, and turned their head to look at the source?
  • You might dial the wrong number and send your document to someone else.
  • If the fax machine is busy, documents can be lost in a load of other piled up faxes.
  • You literally create a ton of paperwork with every 40 page document you scan and send.
  • You’ve then got to either store those documents in a physically safe location (and properly archive it), or go right to the shredder. Then you’ve got to go through all these physical documents whenever you want to see them again.
  • Contrary to popular belief, faxes don’t leave a perfect paper trail for audits… because paper can be shredded or ‘lost’.
  • Fax machines are computers in their own right, and store everything they ever sent, received or scanned – but they don’t have the same security and anti-malware software that protects PCs.
  • The security and anti-malware software for fax machines is less developed, and therefore less advanced.
  • E-signatures offer security that fax just can’t – date/time/location stamping, password authentication to view, encryption, bio metric signature capture, etc.
  • It takes a long time to transmit things if there’s lots of sheets of paper.
  • If the fax is using the same number as the telephone, then it can prevent callers from getting through or calls being made.
  • If the receiving machine is busy, your fax will not be delivered.
  • The quality of the document when received is often poor, and might have lost some of the fine detail.
  • If the fax is using the same number as the telephone, it can prevent calls from coming in or being made.
  • The fax machine can run out of paper without people noticing it.
  • If you keep using fax machines because of your customers, your customers are never motivated to switch mediums… and then fax never dies.
  • It wastes paper, which isn’t very environmentally friendly.
  • That paper costs the company money. Not tons, but it’s still an expense.

Do you have a machine in your office that you hate? Tell us about it!
Leave your comment below, tweet @BackupAssist or post to facebook.

Share on email
Share on print
Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin



Start your free 30-day trial today