Cloud VoIP Stigmas Must Be Ignored, Part 1
If there is one communications technology that has come into its own over the last few years, it's VoIP. VoIP is a natural fit for the modern enterprise. The evolution and consumerization of IT assets has increased the need for mobility, which is resulting in a greater push for cloud-based phone service. Regardless of if this is obtained through the adaptation of legacy systems or by signing up with a hosted provider, having cloud VoIP is something that more organizations are realizing they need.
At one point in time, these were assets that only large corporations were able to pursue. But as the technology has grown, so have the opportunities for up-and-coming organizations.
"Small businesses are increasingly turning to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as their primary means of communicating with their clients," stated Marlin Finance on its website. "The developing technology is enhancing the ability of a company to reach consumers in far-flung parts of the world without paying additional charges for international calling. All things considered, VoIP is becoming a must-have for any business."
But while cloud VoIP systems are rapidly establishing their necessity, there are still those who believe that the cloud is not something to be trusted. Worse yet, some people are unsure of what the cloud is, and therefore choose to ignore it altogether. The truth is that there are always going to be security and reliability concerns with any revolutionary technology, and the cloud is a prime example of this. By fighting back against unfair cloud portrayals, VoIP systems can achieve a new level of innovation and functionality.
In the first part of this series, we'll discuss how consumer devices and services have helped to redefine the expectations employees hold of the communications systems at their jobs. Then we'll move on to how counterproductive negative cloud opinions can be to enterprise operations.
VoIP Adoptions On The Rise Thanks To Mobile
Success these days is not just defined by what can be accomplished, but also when and where goals can be met. This is where some legacy channels are starting to show their age. If the connection can't be converted into a software platform and leveraged on a smartphone, then it's not going to be of much use to the modern workforce.
Especially among millennials, mobility is an utmost concern for today's professionals. Consumer-grade cloud services have shown workers that there is very little standing in the way of productivity when armed with a laptop, a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection. From communications to data manipulation, it's possible to meet expectations from anywhere with Internet service.
This is helping to drive VoIP deployments in a number of different industries. According to TMCnet contributor David Delony, recent studies have shown that mobile VoIP applications have been an agent for growth among providers of these services. But the true potential of this software cannot be achieved without the cloud in place, and yet not every enterprise is aware of what VoIP can do when used alongside it. They may not understand exactly what it does or have been scared away by countless cloud horror stories. Those pushing for cloud VoIP in their organization may need to dispel some of the myths in order to get key decision-makers on board.
Cloud Stigmatization Prevents Progress
There has been a significant amount of fear-mongering when it comes to cloud technology. Much of this is most likely related to the lack of a coherent cloud definition in the public eye.
"Cloud computing, by its very nature, is uniquely vulnerable to the risks of myths," said Gartner vice president David Mitchell Smith in a release. "It is all about capabilities delivered as a service, with a clear boundary between the provider of the service and the consumer. From a consumer perspective, 'in the cloud' means where the magic happens, where the implementation details are supposed to be hidden. So it should be no surprise that such an environment is rife with myths and misunderstandings."
One of the biggest misgivings about the cloud is that it is inherently weak against cyberthreats like hacking. In terms of communications, this can mean things like stolen email and VoIP toll fraud. But the fact of the matter is that the cloud is as secure as you make it. This is one of the reasons that so many organizations are opting for hosted services. With a trained, dedicated staff managing aspects of telecom like security and maintenance, there is less concern that these responsibilities will get shafted on-site. IT departments have a lot on their plates these days, and sometimes skipping an anti-virus update doesn't seem like the end of the world. But all it takes is one slip for a business to be at risk, and having the most hands on deck possible to prevent this kind of thing is definitely desirable.
But what also needs to be understood is that the cloud is a flexible thing. Not every company is going to leverage it in the same way, even when the endgame is identical. One misconception is that the cloud has to be brought in all at once and be a significant disruption. This is far from the case. Some businesses choose to introduce the cloud in small increments, or even just as a backup for existing systems. This is a great way to introduce cloud VoIP into the mix without jarring some employees too much.
"Cloud computing is not all or nothing," stated Gartner. "It is being adopted in steps and in specific cases. Therefore, it is not surprising that early use cases are mainly not for mission-critical systems. However, many organizations have progressed beyond early use cases and experimentation and are utilizing the cloud for mission-critical workloads. There are also many enterprises (not just small startups any more) that are 'born in the cloud' and run their business (clearly mission-critical) completely in the cloud."
The moral of the story is that all cloud communications deployments are going to be different. Stressing this when working to get mobile-friendly VoIP into the hands of staffers can be a great way to break down barriers to company adoption. In the next segment of this series, we'll drive home just how important these systems are.