Can your server do this? – Faxing

I’ve noticed that many of my customers throughout Naples are not utilizing their equipment to the fullest capacity.  By this I mean that they’ve spent the money on a great network infrastructure, and are only utilizing 10% of the capabilities of their equipment!  I have Fax Serverdecided to write a series of articles entitled “Can your server do this?” which touches on many of the capabilities of a Windows server that I sometimes see overlooked.  The first of these deals with a rather mundane issue, faxing.  (But I promise a more rousing topic next time)

I realize that faxing is archaic and deplorable; most people think of it as the digital communication equivalent of a hammer and chisel.  However, it is not showing any signs of disappearing, mostly because legal documents which contain signatures are still faxed around with regularity.  If you have a fax machine in your office, think of replacing it with a digital fax solution.

If you’re running Windows Small Business Server 2003 or greater, the windows fax server functionality is already built in to your operating system software! (If you are unsure of your server software version, check with your computer network technician)  Enabling and configuring this feature will allow your server to manage incoming faxes instead of using your stone-age fax machine to do the same.

What is the benefit of this exactly?  Well, incoming faxes are answered by the server and can then be emailed to the recipient of your choice in digital form, thus saving paper.  You can also choose to save the fax image to a network drive, print the fax to a printer, or any combination of the three!  Most customers opt for the purely digital option of having faxes go to email, as they can then easily be distributed to the appropriate staff with the click of a “send” button.

Sending faxes through the server is also a snap.  With a small piece of software installed on your workstation, you can convert anything (Word, Excel, email, etc.) to a fax and instantly send it out through the server to whatever phone number you wish.

All you need for this setup is a dedicated phone line for your fax (which you probably already have if you are using a fax machine), a modem installed in the server (which your computer technician can provide at minimal cost, usually around 30 dollars) and the software configured to your specifications, which usually needs to be done by an experienced network technician.

There are a few limitations to the software, the biggest being that you can only specify ONE email recipient for all of your faxes.  (This recipient then needs to forward faxes to the appropriate staff members based on who they are meant for)  Also, it only supports a single phone number, not multiple phone lines.  Still, for free you cannot ask for a better solution, and I’m surprised at how often I see people overlook this useful feature.

In this economy, you need to make sure every piece of equipment you own functions at maximum efficiency.  Look for more articles in this series to find new ways to unlock useful features you never knew you had, using the equipment you probably already own!

Paul Nicodemi

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Naples Computer Service

300 5th Avenue South
Suite 101-192
Naples, FL 34102
239-777-1382

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