The (Ancient) History of the Fax Machine

The modern-day fax machine has roots dating back to 1843. That’s only a decade after the steam locomotive’s maiden voyage over U.S. soil. So, perhaps it’s time to retire your aging fax hardware and upgrade to electronic fax.

The reasons for tossing your old fax machine are many: Expensive toner and paper, the need for a dedicated phone line, pricey to service, the absence of digital storage and traditional fax machines are a one-trick pony…they just fax.

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Want to know the differences between traditional fax and cloud fax and how it can benefit your organization? Speak to a Cloud Fax Specialist.

An Array of Modern Options

Believe it or not, people have been faxing documents, drawings and all sorts of important information without a fax machine since the 1980s. Whether one says electronic faxing, internet faxing, digital fax, web fax or cloud fax, it all boils down to someone faxing via their laptop, tablet, cell phone or something else that is not a fax machine.

And it’s as simple as sending or receiving an ordinary email.


How to Send an Electronic Fax

a.     Instead of an email address, type a Fax number into the to: field

b.     The email’s Subject Line becomes the Fax subject line

c.     Whatever you type in the body of the email turns into the Fax’s Coversheet

d.     Anything attached to the email becomes the actual faxed document or documents

e.     You even get an email notification when the fax is delivered


It’s even easier to digitally receive a fax. It arrives in your email inbox, as either a link or an attachment, the same way an email does.


What Makes Electronic Fax Better

There are untold advantages that come with electronic faxing. You can send and receive faxes from any device linked up with your email account and do it from anywhere in the world (that has an internet connection). Online faxes arrive as digital images, so there’s no need to print out the fax and, of course, you can conveniently save the fax as a digital file.  You can forward or share the fax via email without having to print and scan anything. It’s also much simpler to track how much you’re spending. In short, electronic faxing is far easier, more convenient and far more cost effective than traditional faxing.


Electronic Fax Options

The two most popular choices are:

Fax server – the original electronic fax option for large companies


  • Great for larger organizations who want to manage their own fax infrastructure
  • Many advanced capabilities
  • A lot of IT pros have experience with fax server technology


  • Significant monetary investment (hardware, licenses, deployment costs, staff costs)
  • Yearly support fees can be costly
  • Long-term commitment (difficult to abandon due to level of investment)
  • Requires in-house expertise to support the system
  • Server must go offline regularly for software updates/maintenance
  • Security and compliance risks are entirely owned by customer


Cloud Fax – online electronic faxing


·      Rapid, simple deployment; sometimes as quickly as an afternoon

·      No cost or complications with hardware, software, licensing, installation, etc.

·      Not tied to telephony

·      Better dependability, availability and deliverability than fax servers

·      Capability to scale on-demand, allowing businesses to start small and grow without worrying about traffic spikes impacting reliability/deliverability

·      Security and compliance burden is taken on by the cloud fax provider

·      Frequently managed and supported by dedicated fax experts


·      Outsourced service may not suit organizations that wish to retain in-house control of their IT systems

·      Security and compliance standards may differ from vendor to vendor

·      May lack integrations with older or niche applications

·      Customer 100% reliant on vendor for technical support


At the End of the Day…

Any organization that sends and receives faxes as a central part of its business should employ electronic fax as their mode of communicating via fax. Both types of electronic faxing, whether fax servers or cloud fax, offer vast improvements in speed, efficiency, ease-of-use and cost versus traditional fax machines. For better dependability, deliverability, longevity, ease of use and security without a large investment in hardware and licenses, cloud fax is the superior choice.


To learn more, talk to a Concord Cloud Fax specialist.

Speak to a Specialist

Want to know the differences between traditional fax and cloud fax and how it can benefit your organization? Speak to a Cloud Fax Specialist.

Concord Technologies