Fax remains a widely used technology in certain industries and geographies, and yet many companies have not taken advantage of new technology approaches to reduce costs and improve performance, says Rudy Sutton, solutions architect at ContinuitySA.

The facts speak for themselves. More than 16 billion faxes are sent each year, accounting for 10.3 square miles of forest and adding unnecessary expense to the office budget.

“Government, banking, finance and insurance are just three industries that continue to rely heavily on faxing, and yet somehow the technology they use remains rooted in the past,” Sutton says. “Traditional faxing is far from secure as fax machines are generally shared, and the paper and ink costs can be horrendous. Even those companies that are using fax-to-e-mail solutions are spending more than they need to.”

One reason for this overspending, Sutton explains, is that companies are paying for premium fax numbers without even being aware of it. Another issue is the constant need to upgrade the technology, implement patches and so on.

ContinuitySA has partnered with the Virtual Group to create a virtual, hosted fax solution that brings this still-useful technology into the 21st Century.

“Because it uses the cloud computing model, the virtual fax solution is billed per use using true per-second billing, and we offer our clients up to 10 years archiving at no cost. We also provide them with high security via an access-controlled fax vault, which can be managed remotely,” Sutton says. “It’s also very quick—around one minute to transmit one fax page. And because it is hosted by ContinuitySA, the leading African business continuity provider, the entire fax environment has full disaster recovery in place, so data is always safe.”

Sutton says that the solution typically shaves off 20-30 percent of the cost of a traditional fax-to-e-mail solution.

When used from a PC, the user simply sends an e-mail using the e-mail programme to the fax number@faxsend.co.za. Incoming faxes are received the same way. No fax machine, no paper, no ink. The system automatically generates delivery notifications and has an automatic retry capability. It takes, says Sutton, a very short amount of time to get a user with an existing e-mail address and Internet protocol address up and running.

“ContinuitySA is using the solution and we found it was extremely easy to get all our offices connected,” Sutton observes. “We are starting to take the solution to our clients and they are very interested in the cost savings, the security and archiving, and the ease of use. Faxing really has entered the Cloud Age.”

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