Do Modern Startups Need a Fax Number?
When you’re an NCAA football fan, National Signing Day is a reason to mark your calendar. It’s exciting to watch commitments from top high school players roll in for your team. The University of Alabama website features a livestream of incoming athlete commitments on Signing Day. It’s a stream connected directly to the fax machine.
Even though the NCAA’s National Letter of Intent program allows commitment via email, there’s a palpable drama associated with waiting for a faxed letter. When you’re trying to operate a fax machine at work, the only drama involves trying not to hit the fax machine with a hammer. A big, clunky fax machine is obsolete technology — Gartner stopped tracking fax sales nearly a decade ago. When modern startups prioritize their expenses, the fax machine doesn’t make the list.
At the same time, many industries, particularly regulated industries like health care, still rely on fax for sensitive communications. Around the world, especially in countries like Japan and Israel, businesses and even individuals have a culture of using faxes.
Fortunately, the modern startup doesn’t need to buy an analog fax machine. Cloud fax provides an essential way to send secure documents without sacrificing deliverability or volume. For startups working in regulated industries or sharing financial information, cloud fax means staying competitive in countries that still rely heavily on faxing.
Who Are Your Business Partners?
Whether you have a fax number or not depends on the company you keep. If your startup communicates regularly with certain professionals or organizations, a fax number isn’t a nice-to-have — it’s an absolute must.
At clinics and hospitals, faxing is part of the culture and organizational workflow. Employees feel comfortable with faxing as a safe way to send personal health information. Having a fax number respects the way they like to communicate, and it communicates your seriousness about compliance and privacy. For startups in the health care industry, HIPAA-compliant cloud fax is mandatory.
Financial Services and Business
Anytime startups share sensitive information related to financial transactions, such as Social Security and credit card numbers, they have to follow PCI-DSS compliance regulations. The best cloud fax companies encrypt data both in transit and at rest, and they audit themselves for PCI-DSS compliance.
When startups win government contracts, they discover agencies still prefer communication via fax. In fact, when you answered the agency’s RFP, you probably sent your proposal to a fax number. Government contracts can be lucrative for many startups, so having a fax number makes sense if winning government work is part of your expansion strategy. Even if your focus is local or state government contracts, many of these office still rely on fax communications.
Although electronic signatures have been considered valid since the Clinton administration, not every court has the infrastructure to manage electronic documents and authenticate encrypted signatures. Your startup might not need extensive attorney contact in its early stages, but as you start to patent your intellectual property and protect it, you might find yourself more involved with the courts.
Where Do You Do Business?
In Japan, nearly 90 percent of people still say that fax is essential to their businesses. In Israel, because the government requires documents to be faxed, 59 percent of households have a fax machine. These countries and others still rely heavily on fax, and not having a fax number could mean missing out on lucrative business opportunities.
A cloud fax service eliminates the hassle of the office fax machine, but it can transmit your documents directly to the fax machines of important recipients:
With fax to email, your employees can email documents to a secure fax network, and recipients receive the documents at their fax numbers.
When you receive faxes from business partners, they go directly to your email inbox, where you can store them, print them, or send them to a distribution list.
Cloud fax prevents privacy breaches caused by paper document mishandling, and it transmits sensitive information over secure, encrypted networks.
Instead of relying on analog telephone systems in the developing world, your fax network harnesses the Internet for reliable, fast fax delivery.
Power Your Business
As a startup, you can’t limit your growth options by not making every communications channel available for your clients. You don’t have to have a fax machine — leave those for NCAA Signing Day — but at least have an available fax number.
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