Every business has unique needs. As every experienced Managed Service Provider (MSP) knows all too well, identifying and addressing those individual pain points can consume a lot of time and energy, so their technology solution set must be adaptable to handle various objectives, some potentially critical. That’s one of the many reasons providers are adopting more configurable and customizable platforms to support virtually any client.
Communications systems are a great example. Requirements may vary widely between organizations, with many businesses leveraging a dissimilar collection of tools to support a diverse workforce and customer base. Compliance obligations and work settings (i.e., remote, hybrid, office) create additional complexities. As technology architects and IT support teams for small businesses, MSPs must consider each factor when developing their portfolios.
Solutions strategies must include legacy applications, including those that IT experts can easily overlook, like fax solutions. While many believe fax is a technology of the past, there are plenty of current use cases for this underappreciated yet highly valued technology.
A Robust and Growing Technology Opportunity
Demand for these technologies is strong and growing. According to Kings Research, global online fax solution sales reached $4.7 billion in 2022, and they predict that the market will reach $12.32 billion by 2030 – a CAGR of 12.75%.
The reasons behind the escalating market demand are plentiful, from the convenience and familiarity of the technology and process to increasing regulatory oversight. Global organizations (including an estimated 90% of healthcare providers) depend on faxes to transmit mission-critical documents, with approximately 9 billion faxes sent every year, according to Gitnux Software.
Businesses could be mandated to meet specific compliance requirements or may simply need a method for quickly and securely sending documents with legally binding signatures. Fax messaging addresses both of those objectives. One significant advantage of this time-tested technology is its ability to send and receive authorization papers faster than other services.
In other words, many organizations have not found a better solution and may not be ready or able to move to new methodologies. However, MSPs should not simply “go along to get along.” Fax solutions still have a strong foothold in the business community due to several key advantages they have over more modern technologies, including:
1Privacy, Security and Compliance
The risk of privacy breaches is a primary concern for banks, attorneys, law enforcement agencies, medical facilities and other organizations that store and process sensitive information. Needless to say, safeguarding that information when transmitting or receiving it is of great importance. Fax provides these organizations with a secure way to transmit social security and driver’s license numbers, credit and bank account details, and other sensitive information without fear of interception. In their efforts to adhere to government mandates or industry regulators, these organizations look to encrypted fax technology to help them comply with such regulations as HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, PCI-DSS, PIPEDA, FERPA and other stringent privacy and security mandates. Fax communications are cost-effective for addressing security and privacy concerns related to an extensive list of state and local regulations.
Unlike other forms of communication, fax messages are easy to track and harder to lose. People send millions of letters and an even greater number of emails daily, and few request confirmations. Without proof of receipt, the sender assumes the message reached the intended recipient and that lack of verification can become a legal or compliance liability. One primary reason behind the continued popularity of fax solutions is the audit trail. Upon completion of the transmission, the sender receives a confirmation message documenting the date and time the file was sent, the number of pages, the recipient’s fax number and whether it went through successfully (or if it failed).
Many people believe that the market peak for fax machines passed decades ago. While that is true, innovation has transformed fax technology and created a market shift from fax machines to fax servers, fax services and cloud faxing. The fax market is at its peak today and continues to grow. The basic premise and advantages of fax have remained the same for decades. Thanks to the internet, fax communications are now faster and more flexible than ever for small and midsize businesses and for the MSPs that support their technology needs. Modern solutions allow users to send multiple faxes simultaneously using computer applications, email services, mobile phones and other systems. While some office workers still rely on dedicated fax machines or Multi-Function Printing (MFP) devices that provide the same capabilities, they too have benefitted from the innovations of migrating fax to the cloud by replacing their expensive legacy copper phone lines with cost-effective and more secure encrypted Fax over IP (FoIP) lines. Fax technology is as robust as ever and remains a vital tool in the communications portfolio of many organizations.
MSPs targeting the SMB market cannot afford to be overly selective with the solutions and services they wish to provide. While MSPs may not have the expertise and desire to support every potential solution for every possible client, delivering a robust portfolio of offerings helps ensure a stronger pipeline of new customer opportunities. Providing the solutions and support SMBs want and need to communicate securely and effectively in today’s high-risk environment is a must, and many of those companies look to MSPs for this expertise. It’s important to note that MSPs should partner with a Service Provider with fundamental knowledge of their solutions to provide the MSP and their clients with the necessary support.
Look for Channel-Friendly Fax Options
As any experienced MSP knows, the possible technology solution mixes are virtually endless, but not all are equal. Providers benefit greatly from working with vendors offering partner enablement and management portals and delivering flexible support plans that make developing comprehensive IT practices more straightforward and cost-effective. The same philosophy applies to communications systems.
MSPs must support a variety of technologies in today’s work environment, especially with the shift to remote and hybrid workplaces. Building strategic alliances with channel vendors offering cost-effective platforms, high-level expertise and flexible support capabilities – especially those managing complicated billing processes- can lighten that workload considerably.
A comprehensive communications practice helps MSPs stand apart in a crowded field. Working with a UCaaS provider that offers fax solutions and flexible support options lowers the learning curve and creates a clearer path to success.