Despite being almost 60 years old and seemingly overrun by newer, more potent telecommunications technologies, the fax machine (opens in new tab) is still very much alive and kicking, new research has found.
A report from eFax surveying 1,001 senior IT and business decision-makers in large enterprises, SMEs, and public sector organizations found that in the majority of firms (54%), there are between 6 and 50 fax users. What’s more, a fifth claimed there were 51 or more fax users within their organizations.
To make things even more bizarre, more than a third (37%) of the survey’s respondents said they expect fax usage to increase in the future, while 28% expect the usage to stay the same. Just 35% expect to see the usage of fax machines decreasing.
Share your thoughts on Cybersecurity and get a free copy of the Hacker's Manual 2022 (opens in new tab). Help us find how businesses are preparing for the post-Covid world and the implications of these activities on their cybersecurity plans. Enter your email at the end of this survey (opens in new tab) to get the bookazine, worth $10.99/£10.99.
Contracts, company accounts, sensitive documents
The results seem to be strongly tied to the fact that everyone’s sending and receiving secure documents remotely, more than ever before. In the past year, roughly two-thirds (64%) said the number of secure documents received either stayed the same - or increased. Overall, a third sends and receives secure documents every day.
Almost half (45%) share such documents via password-protected email, 43% use email encrypted software. Among fax users, 35% use cloud-based fax systems, 31% mix these with traditional faxing, while 15% use just the traditional faxing machine.
Looking at the types of documents being faxed today, contracts make up the majority (56%), followed by tenancy agreements (44%), company accounts (31%), commercially sensitive documents (28%), and documents containing sensitive banking details (26%).
“Fax remains central to many businesses and their operations. Its secret life underpins many organizations, powering the effective communication of secure and legally binding documentation today and for years to come,” commented Scott Wilson, Vice President, Sales & Service, eFax.
> Hackers may be targeting your fax machine (opens in new tab)
> Ultimaker and MakerBot merge into a 3D printing giant (opens in new tab)
> NHS ordered to stop using fax machines (opens in new tab)
“It is, therefore, no surprise that the biggest driver for the ongoing use of fax is security at 41%. But this is rapidly followed by cost efficiency at 36%, compliance to GDPR at 34% and the increasing importance of cloud storage at 23%.”
“Cloud fax providers have had to develop an infrastructure that guarantees business users the most secure, private, and legally compliant way to transmit their confidential data to clients, vendors, partners, and other third parties. This is why the secret life of the fax will remain at the heart of many business processes,” concluded Wilson.
- Did you know you could use online fax services? Here are the best ones (opens in new tab)