As an IT professional, it’s up to you to make sure that your systems are running smoothly. When networks go down, systems load slowly, or users are unable to access the information they need, it’s invariably the IT director to take the blame.
With all of this responsibility, it’s no wonder that you are reluctant to hand things over to a 3rd party team of people that you don’t even know. If the handoff doesn’t go smoothly, or your chosen solution doesn’t work the way you’d hoped and your business is negatively impacted, you’ll be the one held accountable.
While most of your concerns will have a measure of truth behind them, the reality is that Cloud-based Unified Communications (UC) can be a safe, reliable, and extremely effective solution for your business. In fact, it can be argued that the APIs and resources available with UC in the Cloud, along with the ability to scale quickly, actually offer you an even greater level of control than before. Additionally, rather than a fixed set of resources, you can have a vast library of apps and abilities available to be used as much or as little as you need them.
Fear 1: Security Threats
Security is, understandably, probably the biggest concern most IT directors voice when considering a shift into a Cloud-based UC environment. Will security patches be kept up to date? Are their firewalls capable of repelling unauthorized access? Will company data be accessible by other companies contracted with the Cloud UC vendor?
In reality, a Cloud-based UC vendor is actually more likely to have robust and well-designed load balancers, firewalls, and cutting-edge security patches — often vastly outstripping the security of the average enterprise security system. Cloud UC systems are manned by highly-trained teams dealing with security upgrades every day.
Compared to the overworked and under-resourced IT department usually present at a corporate level company, the chance of a security breach with a Cloud-based UC provider is actually less likely. By moving your UC into the Cloud, your IT department can oversee security upgrades and check patch efficacy, instead of spending their days doing the setup and maintenance work themselves.
Fear 2: Performance and Uptime
Performance and system uptime have a direct effect on your business’s bottom line. Each minute your company doesn’t have dial-tone is money out the door.
Understandably, the idea of having someone else responsible for ensuring that your system does NOT go down is unnerving. After all, you and your IT staff are experts at rapidly troubleshoot the causes of communications system issues, and resolving them. But what does it mean when the boxes and cables aren’t on-site? When you have to call someone else when there’s a problem?
We all know those system failures are unavoidable. But even if we can’t totally avoid system failures, how do we minimize the impact on our business? A Cloud-based UC system is designed with redundant processing systems, redundant storage systems, and redundant data paths.
Fear 3. Customer Support
Your IT staff has limited experience in the Cloud. You know that there’s going to be a transition period where they will have many and varied questions, both from their own department and from users as well. How are those questions and concerns going to be fielded? Will the UC Cloud provider be available, helpful, and devoted to educating your team and your users when it comes to these issues?
The burden of support will always rest primarily on your IT admins — but a great UC Cloud provider will be able to field a significant portion of these basic questions and concerns, as well as spend time working with your current IT staff to thoroughly train them. Rather than adding to your customer support burdens, a Cloud-based UC solution can actually offer a big relief for your IT staff.
In the event that the UC Cloud provider you chose doesn’t offer the support, you're hoping for, unlike vendor contracts of years before, there is a lot of flexibility that is possible in switching Cloud-based UC vendors. Most vendors function on short-term contracts and virtualization makes porting applications between providers a simple affair, especially when well-engineered.
Cloud-based vendors know that this flexibility is one of your greatest advantages of a Cloud-based UC model — if they aren’t up to snuff, your business can easily switch to a new provider. This is usually a good guarantee that your vendors will work hard to keep you and your users happy.
Making The Move to Cloud-based UC
Letting go of control is always scary. We won’t lie – these transitions are often difficult for IT directors to experience. But with a great UC Cloud vendor committed to the process and your business, combined with your expertise, you can experience the benefits of increased flexibility, scalability, resources, and cost savings.
If you still have concerns, we’d love to talk to you about them. Contact us to discuss your unique UC problems and questions to see if UC in the Cloud might be a good fit for you.