Here’s something you need to put in the diary if you send faxes internationally – Great British telecom provider BT are ceasing their analog phone line service in 2025.
What does that mean for US businesses and companies that rely on analog fax to contact partners in the UK?
It means you’ve got under 5 years to make the switch from analog fax to digital fax too. Otherwise you might lose some business.
And it’s not just in the UK that businesses are starting to get their digital fax affairs in order. Telecom networks across the world are beginning to remove their analog lines.
There is a process in place in Europe to set this cessation in motion by firstly not supplying any new analog lines to new businesses and secondly by beginning the process of removing existing analog lines.
What does this mean for you and your business?
It means that if you rely on analog fax to share information with overseas partners, you’ll need to make the switch to online fax.
Outdated fax technology
Since their inception, fax machines have operated using analog transmissions to send and receive their faxes. In order to operate your fax machine, up until now, you’ve simply had to purchase your fax machine, sign up for a landline to enable your fax transmission, plug the fax machine into your telecom provider network and off you fax.
But with analog fast reaching the end of its life across Europe, anyone with a fax machine that still relies on analog networks will need to find an alternative solution.
But it isn’t just that the telecoms providers are withdrawing their analog services that should encourage fax users to rethink their fax solution – technology has moved on so much since the inception of fax, that old, analog machines simply aren’t up to the task of handling the rigors of the modern office – they aren’t capable of withstanding a cybersecurity attack, for example.
Analog fax machines aren’t secure
One major reason for the analog switch off across Europe is quite simply, analog fax machines just aren’t equipped to support the security requirements of a modern business.
Old fax machines have certain weaknesses that hackers can exploit, namely, they allow access and attacks on your entire computer network to occur, by giving unauthorized personnel access to your IT network through unprotected entry points on your fax machine.
And with such a focus on GDPR in Europe, many businesses there have been left concerned that they aren’t handling customers’ data correctly. Because fax machines weren’t built with security breaches in mind, therefore they weren’t built with data protection in mind, rendering them non-GDPR compliant.
How is this relevant to US businesses?
Any business involved in the healthcare industry here, has to comply with HIPAA privacy mandates that they maintain any protected health information that they have about their patients safely and securely, limiting access to it and providing an audit trail should anyone require access to it.
And here’s the thing – if Europe considers analog fax insecure, it won’t be long until the US follows suit. If you take handling your customers’ sensitive data seriously, you shouldn’t rely on the old fax machine anymore either.
Analog fax machines are inflexible
With the current requirement to work from home (WFH), and the steady increase in flexible working and remote working around the world – to be fair this was happening way before COVID hit – WFH has highlighted how redundant analog fax machines are in the modern workplace.
Analog fax machines are simply too cumbersome and inflexible because they don’t support remote working, they can’t.
If you want to still use an analog fax machine with everyone WFH, you’d need to equip every employee with a physical fax machine to make it work, and that just doesn’t make financial sense.
Analog vs digital fax
But here’s the thing – when you switch your fax solution from analog to digital, you don’t need to worry about any of these issues any more.
1. Cloud-based fax providers such as iFax app don’t require you to have access to a clunky fax machine to send and receive important documents. With an online fax provider you can literally send and receive faxes to and from anywhere in the world – you don’t need to be in the office to take advantage of online faxing. All you need is an internet connection and your mobile device and off you fax.
2. Need a signature on a document? No worries. The majority of online fax services have an electronic signature feature so you don’t have to get a wet ink signature – especially handy when all parties are spread to the four winds, or isolating.
3. Online fax service providers use end to end encryption systems, meaning the data is secure from the moment you hit send to the moment it is received. It’s transferred safely and securely and no one, bar the sender and the receiver, have access to the content of your faxes. It also means no more leaving highly confidential faxes in the paper tray for anyone to glimpse at as they wander past the fax machine.
4. Worried about losing your existing fax number? Most online fax providers will allow you to port your number when you switch from analog to digital. And if being local to your customers is important to you, you can always sign up for a local fax number to reassure clients that you’re nearby, even if you’re not.