Benefits of Fax over IP for Businesses

By CIOReview | Monday, August 8, 2016
648
1070
205

Fax machines ruled the business world with its innovative technology for many years. But developments in the telecommunication technologies such as e-mail, e-signature, and digital signature have taken down the prominence of fax machine. However, even today, experts say that fax has its own standards and policies which signifies its role in the businesses. Similar to how voice calls transformed into VoIP, the traditional fax has also foot-printed itself by leveraging IP to form Fax over IP (FoIP).

What is Fax over IP?

Sending document messages via fax over an IP network—either through a local or wide area network—is referred to as Fax over IP, which is different from the way faxes have been handled traditionally. Fax over IP has completely by-passed the Publicly Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN) by leveraging IP to survive in the digital world.

How FoIP works?

FoIP and VoIP are inter-related; T.38-enabled VoIP is considered most reliable protocol to realize FoIP. If your broadband doesn’t support T.38 protocol, a T.38-supportive media gateway can be used in-place to convert analog signals into data packets for transmission. The actual procedure in simple words: the fax document is first compacted, then encapsulated in a transmission protocol and sent from one fax machine to other which interfaces with a Fax over IP gateway such as FaxxBochs.

Another possibility is to connect the machines directly to the Internet through a hosted SIP trunk provider. In this case, hosted provider converts the packets instead of the gateway.

Analog Vs Digital Faxing

Since, analog fax was fixed-format, low-resolution, unsecure, error-prone, time-consuming and used expensive consumables, the need for a transformation in this sector was indispensable.

Though, Fax over IP seems to be mimicking the capabilities of traditional faxing, it has its own unique benefits such as unified network connectivity by utilizing existing WAN and LAN IP networks, advanced management by bringing fax documents into IP realm, lower cost compared to faxing over PSTN, and remote usage via satellite connections, like satellite internet.

The digital fax leverages ‘Open’ technologies such as OpenText Fax Gateways, and OpenText RightFax.

OpenText Fax Gateways: Simplifies Fax over IP implementations and provides a cost effective alternative to the traditional fax boards and remote fax servers. Deploying an OpenText Fax Gateway together with OpenText Fax Server will maximize the IP infrastructure, simplify fax management, and facilitate network consolidation.

Realizing the need of modern day Fax in businesses, many organizations have come forward to adopt FoIP. A single fax server in the network is just enough to facelift the environment in a virtual one, which saves cost and operation time.

OpenText RightFax: This server redefines employee and process productivity of an organization by automating and integrating fax and other document distribution in sync with the existing business applications. It also reduces the risks associated with a standalone fax machine or email communications. The latest iteration RightFax 10.6 packs many new features and functionalities such as enhanced User Experience, better Compatibility with other software, Compliance and Security, and more.

Privacy and Security Measures

An important aspect to remember while considering security is that there is still the need for a centralized solution which is capable to manage large volumes of documents in terms of—content sharing, archiving, and searching based on various criteria, regulatory compliance and others. Protecting personal or confidential data can be considered the prime factor among all others in the list.

To keep your data and privacy protected,

• All fax machines are to be placed in a secure area and not generally accessible; only authorized force are to have access. Security measures should be provided to ensure that the machine has restricted access
• Destination numbers should be verified before transmission
• Include a cover-sheet clearly stating that the fax contains confidential information is being sent with the owner’s authorization, should not be passed on to other parties without express consent; and should be destroyed if not received by the intended recipient
• Maintain a copy of the proof sheet of the fax transmission, including the necessary data such as recipient’s number and time
• Received faxes are to be stored in a secure location, and
• Maintain transmission and transaction log summaries.

Advantages of FoIP

FoIP allows data to be transmitted via the IP network. This removes the need for hardware such as fax boards which, in turn allows you to virtualize your fax server with other IT systems. In addition, FoIP enables you to integrate your fax server with an IP phone system (or IP-PBX) which removes the need for independent fax lines altogether.

FoIP can therefore lower operating costs now and hardware costs in the future. It can also improve disaster recovery processes, improve fax server reliability and, as there's no need for the server to connect to a physical phone line, you can locate your fax server almost anywhere you like.

Conclusion

Fax is much more than sending out documents back and forth where signatures are required. Sales of stand-alone fax machines have declined sharply in recent years but this is primarily the result of a shift from stand-alone fax machines to Multi-Function Peripherals (MFPs), fax servers, and outsourced fax services. With the potential to take shape according to new technological advancements, fax will survive longer in the digital world by continuing to provide value to businesses and keep them up-to-date, fast and secure.