IP Fax Featured Article
How to Select The Right Fax Solution Deployment
By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer
Faxing is still a major part of the business landscape. Some are fond of the security aspects involved, others like the simplicity of it all. Some use faxing out of sheer necessity, discovering that many of their contacts still use faxes. But for those businesses looking to better integrate a fax solution beyond the standard of getting a fax machine and plugging it into a phone jack, there are several different options involved in getting a fax solution up and running.
But which one is the right one? That answer depends on conditions on the ground, and what a business is hoping to get out of the solution. There are essentially four models available to consider when it comes to fax solutions: on premise, hosted, hybrid and fax as a service, and the decision of which to use can mean all the difference in a business' success.
On-premises solutions offer the ability to keep everything in-house. While this requires quite a bit in the way of expense—all the necessary equipment, including fax servers, need to be bought before the solution can be set up—it also offers maximum control and the ability to be specifically tailored for the current software solutions the business is using. Also, high availability features can be added in, like redundant systems and virtualization capability, to provide that necessary level of service. Repairs are also always done in house, and can be started the second anyone notices something is wrong.
The second solution is a hosted solution. That takes a lot of the initial expense off the company and instead converts it to a regular, pre-determined set of expenses. It's almost like a fax service on a subscription basis, like a utility bill or the like, in which the business pays a hosted solution provider for access to its equipment and its capability to send out faxes. That allows a lot of flexibility—many hosted providers offer tiered service that can be changed according to need or the time of year or the like—but at the same time can add delays in repair and reconfiguration.
Third, there is a combination approach known as the hybrid approach. Much as the name implies, a hybrid approach allows for a lighter configuration of hardware on the premises while using a hosted service as a supplementary faxing system. This can take a lot of risk out of the equation, but at the same time can lead to waste if one part of the system is encroaching on the other part.
Finally, there is the fax as a service concept, which basically has its users e-mail the documents they wish to send to a specially formatted e-mail address, which can resend the documents as a fax. Much like with a hosted environment, it requires little in the way of hardware on hand on-premises, but can also pose challenges in terms of bringing in new functions.
The combination of possibilities means that any company looking to bring in a fax solution needs to take a long and careful look at just what it is they need done, and just what they're willing to do in response to that. Companies who want tight control over their faxes and don't mind shelling out big money in the early going will have different interests from companies out to keep their expenses to a minimum. There are plenty of solutions out there, but just which one is right is different for every firm.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey