In recent years, there has been a shift from traditional modes of communication to cloud-based solutions. This trend will likely continue as businesses increasingly recognize the financial and technical advantages of cloud-based systems. Flexera’s State of the Cloud reports that 45% of small and medium-sized businesses spend up to $1.2 million annually on public cloud connectivity.
Businesses migrating to the cloud gain access to several applications that improve efficiency and provided them with important, necessary features such as more robust security, easy scalability, and the unified collaboration tools that have become essential to today’s businessess.
It’s easy to recognize the benefits of modernizing communications; however, given the number of established global cloud communications companies in the market, selecting a suitable company based on its capabilities can take time and effort. This blog will cover what capabilities put cloud communications companies ahead of the competition and how their powerful features can benefit your company.
What Do Highly-Rated Cloud Communications Providers Have in Common?
Today’s businesses have a plethora of choices when it comes to selecting their voice and data cloud providers. Here are some capabilities to look for when deciding on the best one for your business.
Managed Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) are becoming an increasingly popular choice for businesses that manage large amounts of data traffic. A significant benefit to SD-WAN services is that they are customizable to suit a company’s bandwidth needs. With SD-WAN, businesses can prioritize specific applications and types of traffic with the goal of improving network performance and reliability. Managed SD-WAN also makes adding new locations or changing network configurations easier.
An efficient cloud communications provider can customize SD-WAN solutions to suit the business’s network requirements. This capability results in a flexible, easily managed, cost-efficient network.
Robust Security and Protection
When choosing a provider for cloud-based communication services, it’s crucial to consider several factors. First and foremost is ensuring that the provider offers robust privacy and security features, especially in the present era of increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks. It’s strongly recommended to verify that the provider has a certificate of compliance to confirm the quality of their security management processes.
DevOps must carefully monitor protocol protection, private and public network configuration, and VPN for remote access to sensitive and critical areas. Implementing SSL to protect communications on the public network is strongly advised. Both teams also work together to guard against DDoS attacks.
Additional security capabilities essential to the protection of cloud communications are the use of firewalls and antivirus software. The firewall protects the network and connected devices from malicious connections. The provider should utilize antivirus software on all connected devices to mitigate the risk of executed phishing links.
Another security concern is that, according to the Forbe’s article mentioned earlier, 86% of mobile work communication is on consumer-grade messaging apps, presenting a security risk. Cloud providers must take preventative measures, such as secure messaging solutions, to mitigate this risk.
Managed Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), which provides a security layer on top of SD-WAN in combination with a cloud-based collaboration suite, can ensure remote users access the network securely and efficiently while being able to communicate the way they want. Additionally, device-to-device encryption is employed in most cloud-based collaboration systems to ensure enterprise messaging remains secure.
Unified Voice and Data Networks
Connectivity across multiple platforms that provide support for voice, video, messaging, and team and personal conferencing is essential to many businesses. The Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform provides these functions and can be deployed as a public, private, or hybrid configuration, depending on the company’s communication needs.
A leading cloud communications provider migrates the existing phone system to UCaaS as seamlessly as possible with little to no service interruptions. The provider should also offer training to employees who will utilize and maintain the new UCaaS system. The best UCaaS providers provide 24/7 customer service and excellent technical assistance.
Efficient Collaboration and Communication Tools
Along with implementing an effective UCaaS platform, businesses may desire a unified communication and collaboration tool such as Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 allows users to create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other files. These files are stored in the cloud and are accessible from any device.
One of the key features of Office 365 is its compatibility with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. With the profound increase in remote collaboration and communications trends, BYOD capabilities are a must-have capability in a cloud communications company.
With this capability, users can access their Office 365 account from any device, making it easy for employees to stay connected and productive. With a projection that 22 percent of Americans will be working remotely by 2025, reliable and efficient collaboration and communication tools are necessary.
Scalability and Flexibility
Choosing a provider that offers scalability and flexibility will ensure that your communications system can keep pace with your business, no matter how quickly it grows or changes. Additionally, these capabilities allow you to tailor your system to meet the company’s unique needs. The combination of both makes the cloud provider an attractive consideration for businesses looking to outsource their data and voice networks.
A well-managed cloud communications company can rapidly scale its infrastructure and operations to meet the changing needs of its customers. Without scalability, a company will quickly become bogged down by customer requests, leading to frustrated customers and lost revenue.
In addition, a well-managed cloud communications provider has a flexible infrastructure that allows the rapid deployment of new features and functionality and efficient use of resources. As the market for cloud communications continues to evolve, those companies that maintain a high degree of flexibility are in the best position for continued success.
For cloud communications providers, managed connectivity is a priority. Efficient connectivity management demonstrates a solid commitment to providing customers with the best possible service. This critical service ensures sufficient capacity to handle peak traffic levels, close monitoring for signs of network congestion, and proactive routing around potential problem areas. By closely managing connectivity, providers ensure that the network is continually available and can withstand unexpected outages.
Proactive monitoring and restoration for network issues 24 hours a day across all services and devices is a vital responsibility of cloud communications providers. Efficient notification processes to alert customers of problems and resolutions are also critical.
Network Management Portal
Many cloud-based communications providers also offer an interactive monitor at the client site to provide a real-time view of the network, including the amount of bandwidth in use and traffic flow status. The portal enables clients to monitor servers, devices, apps, websites, users, and custom data and protocols. An efficient viewing system can display all data components on one screen without the need to log into multiple sessions to retrieve reports in other areas of the network.
Voice and data network disruptions can occur for several reasons such as power outages, system failures, cyber-attacks, and software upgrade issues.
Network failures have significant negative financial impacts on a business when they occur. For this reason, selecting a cloud communication provider with an efficient disaster recovery plan that quickly restores both voice and data services is essential. The provider should also regularly test the plan to ensure that it works as intended in the event of an actual disaster. By having an efficient disaster recovery plan in place, the provider can minimize the impact of any disruptions to their client’s operations.
A communications provider with multiple data centers is in the best position to provide disaster recovery. This is because the provider can quickly and easily switch operations to a redundant center in a significant outage.
Get Started with a Provider That Offers Everything You Need
When you’re ready to migrate your business communications to the cloud, it’s essential to research and select a provider that offers your business the features and capabilities it needs to be successful, with room for growth. The best cloud communications providers have the capabilities discussed above and will ideally integrate with the tools and applications you already use.
BCM One offers managed technology solutions customized to your company’s specific needs. We provide communications, collaboration, and connectivity solutions that enable you to work smarter and more efficiently. Contact us today to learn more about how we can take your business to the next level with our communications and network infrastructure support.