Ask anyone on the street what the acronym “LAN” stands for and you’ll get blank stares in return. (Trust me: I just tried this on my lunch break recently. It wasn’t pretty.) Ask them to give you details about the local area network in their office and their response will be equally, well . . . lackluster.
Most people apparently give as much thought to the configuration of their office technology as they do to the junk NASA left on the moon nearly fifty years ago. In other words — not at all. As one of my responders bluntly stated: “Our company pays people to think about those things so I don’t have to.”
So for those who don’t think about LANs, here is a definition: local area networks are private communication
systems used to connect computers and peripherals in a geographically limited area (typically in a single building or within a small campus). LANs enable entire offices to share databases, documents, file structures, and other work-related resources quickly and efficiently. LANs are so common that the average office worker probably doesn’t even realize they are using one each time they print, fax, or access a document.
This is a good thing; when technology runs so smoothly that it fades into the background then the full focus is on production and meeting the company’s bottom line.
Yet there is a downside to keeping employees on their A-game. LANs require a lot of infrastructure and capital to properly implement. Consider the hardware needed to keep an office running. Copper wiring and fiber optics for phone, fax, and data lines; physical space for servers and the HVAC equipment to keep them cool; monitoring equipment; PCs, laptops, and peripherals such as phones, copiers, printers, and fax machines.
Everything costs money to obtain, implement, and use. Add in the cost of the software run on these devices and the IT resources needed to keep everything running smoothly — and then factor in relative intangibles such as equipment obsolesce, performance requirements, scalability, and security — and the total cost of even a modest LAN becomes a substantial burden on small and medium sized businesses.
Planning, building, and using LANs become a matter of effectively estimating the operational cost of doing
business. Which means asking tough questions:
- How big of an office do we need?
- How do we ensure that this office can connect and work with our other locations?
- How can we maximize our productivity without building in too much overhead and redundant bandwidth?
- How can we avoid cutting corners or taking risks?
It also means figuring out what is essential and what isn’t, and what you can outsource because someone else does it better (or faster, or cheaper, or “fill in the blank _____”).
In the context of LANs, fax is often the weakest and most inefficient link in any office configuration. Moving
expensive in-house fax systems to a cloud-based, hosted solution such as eFax provides a number of immediate and tangible benefits to your organization, including:
Elimination of overhead. eFax eliminates large capital investment costs related to faxing, including recurring costs for T1 and TELCO lines, data storage, energy consumption, license renewal, and IT resources. eFax also eliminates soft costs such as paper, toner, and dedicated analog telecom lines. Your IT department will thank you when you let eFax worry about technology upgrades, network monitoring, and security administration.
- “Pay for what you use” service. Traditional fax systems are frequently idle. eFax scales your fax capability to fit the needs of your organization, whether you have ten employees or 10,000, or send one fax per day or 1000.
- Flexibility and mobility. eFax is a flexible, digital solution that allows you to send and receive faxes by email or the web using your PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. eFax works the way you work, anytime, anywhere.
- Improved performance and productivity. eFax saves time handling paper or searching for lost faxes, and enables instantaneous fax sharing among employees and clients.
- Scalability. Transfer your existing fax numbers over to the eFax platform; as your company grows, add local, toll-free, or international eFax numbers whenever you need them.
- Compliance. eFax enhanced security options help you meet Federal privacy regulations, including Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH).
- Premium features. eFax is loaded with great features that make it a valuable addition to any office:
- Fax by email. Send/receive faxes as email attachments.
- Fax preview. View faxes before you send.
- Local, toll-free, and international numbers. More numbers in more cities.
- My Account. An easy-to-use web interface!
- Digitized signatures. Drag and place your signature stamp onto your documents.
- Large file sharing. eFax supports files up to 1GB in size. No more bounced or blocked messages.
- Enhanced security. A secure, encrypted faxing option.
- Address book. Easily search your contacts.
- Multiple email addresses. Fax from up to five email addresses.
- Lifetime storage. Access sent/received faxes forever.
- Searchable faxes. Quickly find faxes using a keyword.
For large enterprises, eFax Corporate® offers hosted fax solutions for multiple users deployed across organizations and regions, as well as customized application faxing. Dedicated fax numbers can be allocated to every employee. eFax Corporate delivers a strong return on investment by helping automate customer processes and workflow between offices.