The missing link in cloud adoption
Adoption of cloud-based infrastructure is accelerating. Companies are increasingly using the cloud to enable successful digital transformations of their operating models and business processes, spurred on by rising competition and market disruption.
McKinsey predicts that through 2020, cloud-specific spending will grow at more than six times the rate of general IT spending, while 40% of companies will use two or more infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers by 2021.
And with good reason—the benefits are huge. Substantial cost savings, greater flexibility, faster time to market, and enhanced performance are just a few of the rewards of getting it right. Though as organisations continue to build sophisticated cloud strategies, many are missing a significant opportunity hiding in their communications infrastructure—their fax systems.
The fax conundrum
At a time when IT leaders were already under pressure to transition away from legacy infrastructure, reduce IT footprints, and cut overheads, the effects of COVID-19 have only compounded the urgency for digital transformation. Constrained resources, teams operating on a skeleton staff, and the demands of supporting remote working have heightened the need to use resources more efficiently. But traditional fax systems remain a key hurdle to successfully achieving this.
IT teams are forced to spend capital, time, and resources maintaining physical fax infrastructures, ensuring data security and compliance, and keeping pace with future-proofing connectivity against a backdrop of rapidly changing and developing telecom technologies.
While the use of faxing might have been expected to die out as technology advanced, research by Gartner shows that enterprise use of fax for high-volume, production fax processes has remained steady, or in some cases has increased. For many organisations, the reliability, auditability, and security of faxing make it a critical form of communication.
This presents a dilemma—how do IT leaders maintain an essential business service at the same time as rapidly cutting costs, future-proofing connectivity, and managing the raft of other challenges associated with traditional fax systems?
The answer is bringing faxing into the digital ecosystem by partnering with a cloud fax provider.
Doing more with less
Adopting cloud faxing enables IT leaders to immediately reduce costs. Since all that’s needed to send and receive faxes via the cloud is an email address and internet connection, onsite fax hardware such as servers, fax machines, and fax boards can be retired—effectively making it a zero CAPEX solution. Similarly, the licensing, maintenance, and other overhead costs associated with running a traditional fax system are also eliminated, often resulting in substantial cost savings.
At the same time, leaders are able to optimise the use of IT assets and simplify the management of the organisation’s fax infrastructure.
In a typical organisation, only a small proportion of the IT team has the capacity to focus on advancing innovative projects that bring value to the business; the rest are working simply to keep the lights on. This is particularly true where traditional fax systems exist.
IT teams spend capital, time, and resources maintaining physical fax servers, multi-function printers, and infrastructure as well as handling employees’ fax complaints, performing fax-server maintenance, upgrades, and other infrastructure work. Migrating to a cloud fax provider frees up valuable IT resources to focus on higher-ROI projects while providing centralised control over the fax infrastructure.
Strengthening security and compliance
As the responsibility for staying one step ahead of data security and compliance pitfalls often falls on IT, outsourcing to a cloud fax provider significantly eases this burden.
Leading cloud fax providers offer failsafe security with best-in-class protection using the most sophisticated methodologies. These include TLS encryption for transmitting faxes over the Internet, and ‘Heavy’ Tier III and IV secure data centres—the best of which maintain SOC 2 or SSAE 16 Certifications to ensure customer data is protected at rest 24/7, 365 days a year. Good providers also ensure robust compliance with regulatory mandates like HIPAA, GLBA, and SOX.
Traditional faxing is an uncontrollable risk; documents can be lost, viewed, or picked up by employees not authorised to read them, and there is often no mechanism to track transmissions. Cloud faxing instantly eliminates this risk as faxes are sent straight to users’ inbox, and are securely stored should they be needed for audit or legal purposes.
Future-proofing connectivity and improving reliability
As organisations have progressively moved their communications to an IP infrastructure, traditional faxing—which requires an analog line—has become a sticking point. Workaround technologies like Fax over IP (FoIP) have attempted to overcome the issues but have been prone to failure and unacceptable performance levels. Some organisations have even opted to revert back to analog lines to guarantee reliability.
With the impending rollout of the nbn in Australia, IT leaders are facing a pressing challenge to ensure connectivity and reliability for their organisations plus the associated workload of managing the change. Migrating to a cloud faxing solution allows leaders to avoid the issue altogether while achieving unparalleled network redundancy and reliability. In addition, at a time of rapidly changing and developing telecom technologies, outsourcing effectively offloads the burden of future-proofing the organisation’s connectivity to the cloud fax provider, further freeing up IT resources.
At the current time where remote working is a priority, moving faxing to the cloud not only solves the problem of business continuity by enabling remote working, but also gives IT teams centralised control over the whole system, wherever they are located.
In addition, providers typically operate a model that equates to ‘pay-as-you-go’ compared with a server-based system, making it exceptionally easy to scale. This gives organisations the flexibility to increase or decrease fax capacity quickly and cost-effectively, enabling teams to tie capacity directly to business needs.
Taking the steps to transition
Making changes to IT systems can be complex and time-consuming, sometimes taking months to complete. Migrating to a cloud fax solution, however, should be achievable in a matter of days.
The first step in making a smooth transition is choosing the right provider. Leading cloud fax providers should be able to provide examples of similar companies that they work with, and provide information on data security protocols in use, audit and compliance capabilities, scalability, and how their solution integrates with existing systems.
Leading providers should be able to provide a solution that seamlessly integrates with any organisation’s existing tech stack, including multi-function printers and other devices. Look for flexible APIs that make integration seamless and provide functions like the ability to fax by email with CRM or ERP systems.
As a cloud fax solution is fully hosted offsite, it should be possible to deploy it remotely. To ensure that the migration process is quick and seamless, a good provider should handle everything—making the service available immediately and offering technical and logistical support and training at every step.
So, while the pressure on IT teams may not be letting up any time soon, it’s reassuring to know that cloud faxing offers a simple, cost-effective and efficient way to unlock the benefits of cloud adoption.
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