Why Can’t You Just Email Documents? Because Fax is Better

at_the_fax_machineOur own master of faxes, or technically, our Director of Telecommunications Bill Venezia provides the details on the power of fax in this blog.  Read on to learn more!

Whenever I am working with a client on fax support, it’s often not long after the initial conversation explaining why the system is not working when the customer says something along the lines of, “I don’t know why we can’t just email the documents?” 

If I had a penny for every time I heard this, I would no longer have to do fax support ever again! 

So, I always explain the reasons why fax is used over email and I’ll share them with you now.


Fax is guaranteed to not have a virus.  With the exception of an exploit to a very specific model of MFP, when you send a fax document, it is virus-free.  It cannot have a virus built into it and will not take down the recipient’s environment.  It is going to be an intact document of what you sent. 

Email, on the other hand, is not going to provide the same assurance.  With email, you can have documents that have viruses embedded in the document.  Or, there could be invalid links to secure web portals that cause you to download something that will in turn, encrypt your documents. 


Fax is an approved delivery of documents for PCI and HIPAA regulations. It is a safe method of providing secured end-to-end communication using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN.) Email inherently is not a secured method of communication.  While email can be secured, it would require a portal to log into to do so. This hinders communication and disallows customer’s applications from extracting the email messages unless the application can login to the secure portal. With fax, you can receive the documents from the fax solution without having to go through any extra steps.

Guaranteed Delivery

With fax, when you see that “OK” next to the fax or the fax confirmation letter printed from your fax machine, that ensures that the recipient received the message. With email, you do not have the same assurances.

Why does this matter?  Let’s say you are threatening to sue someone, and you needed to communicate that to them. You have two options. Option one, send the letter using standard mail (email) or two, send the letter using certified mail (fax.) With the certified letter, you know when the user receives the message and can legally provide this as documentation that you properly notified the person of the communication. 

With the standard mail letter, you have no idea if the recipient received the message.  You cannot even prove you sent the message as there is no documented proof that you put postage on the letter or even took it to the post office.  This is the same as email vs fax.  With fax, we have all the same documented proof as a certified letter while with email, you cannot definitely prove that the user ever received it.

Ease of Use

Finally, this one is a little subjective. 

But, it continually comes up whenever I research the subject. Providing a signed document via fax is much easier than with email.  With a fax, you walk up to a fax machine, scan the document, type in the number and hit send. 

With email, you walk up to the computer, scan the document into a network directory, find the network directory on your computer, and email the document to the recipient. This assumes that the device you are scanning does not have email capability which most devices do at this point.  While this argument still stands, I would say that is not as much as a differentiator as it was about five years ago.

To sum up, fax is superior to email due to its ease of use, security, compliance, and guaranteed delivery. Most recipients would rather wait an extra two minutes to receive a fax then have to worry about a virus crippling their environment.

I know I would.

Do you agree?  Let me know.  I'd be happy to talk further about the benefits of fax specifically for you.

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