Many times when businesses consider making changes to its phone system or carriers, little thought is given to the legacy fax systems. While some argue that faxing is a dying technology, some surveys estimate that as of 2013, as many as 17 billion faxes are still sent each year.
Many carriers that provide Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP, connections to provide Voice over IP will recommend not trying to send faxes over SIP and recommend installing legacy POTS or analog lines to fax machines. The T.37 and T.38 protocols recommended for faxing aren’t optimal for these carriers’ SIP connections. However, there are carriers that have designed networks specifically useful for these connections at comparable costs or even cost savings over dedicated POTS lines and many can port over your existing fax numbers with ease.
The carrier connection is just the first step in the fax evolution. Many companies are now using document management systems such as Microsoft SharePoint. How many of those 17 billion faxes originated as a digital document, were printed out, faxed, and then destroyed? How many of the received faxes were later scanned into a file share? In many organizations, up to 80%.
Products such as GFI Faxmaker accept the Fax over IP connection and route incoming faxes to a recipient, usually through email to a shared mailbox or distribution group. For custom forms or other physical copies, plug-ins for your existing MFP devices allows users to directly send a fax from the paper copy through the Faxmaker system.
With connecting phone systems into a data network, organizations must consider potential security risks and mitigate those risks accordingly. SIP-aware firewalls should be used and standard infrastructure security best practices followed.
If you’re interested in learning more or need assistance with your carrier assessment, please contact RSM’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us. Lastly, to learn more about RSM’s service offerings check out our website.