Enterprises are increasingly stepping away from on-premise solutions and toward cloud-based offerings. Switching from a private branch exchange (PBX) system to unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provides some obvious advantages. Mention cloud to any IT professional and they’ll undoubtedly have a view on the benefits it brings. What once was cutting edge technology is now the new normal. Most businesses today are using some form of cloud. CIO magazine estimated that small-to-medium (SMBs) sized businesses are running nearly 80% of their workloads in the cloud. While that’s a significant percentage, the cloud industry is expected to continue to expand. More applications are moving to the cloud, and organizations are continuing to look at how to maximize this environment for their business.
Two primary reasons behind the move to the cloud are flexibility and scalability. You only pay for the services you need, and you have the ability to expand without the addition of new hardware. That’s ideal for many organizations. But maybe that alone isn’t convincing enough for your business. You aren’t alone in feeling slightly skeptical about the true benefits.
Despite what some vendors like to push, cloud isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Cloud brings a range of options. It can feel like creating a Chipotle burrito with a little of this and a little of that piled together until you have a massive monstrosity that you can’t get your hands around. Just like the Chipotle burrito, the options are important, which is why you need a trusted agnostic partner to help you navigate the possibilities. Different approaches bring different benefits, many of which are often overlooked.
Key benefits of the cloud:
Surprised that security is on the top of the list? Security is often a significant concern for organizations moving to the cloud. It is true that entrusting your data or workloads to a public cloud provider that will co-locate it with other companies can be unsettling. As we discuss in our blog, “Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud: What’s the Right Answer?” there is a solution for this too. The right private cloud provider will bring you the advantage of the latest technology and a robust security architecture to protect your sensitive information. For instance, if your employee loses a laptop, you can remotely wipe any private data.
2. Improved Efficiency and Resource Utilization
Moving workloads to the cloud results in less equipment onsite. Wouldn’t it be nice to reclaim the space from your data center? How about lowering the energy bill? The power and cooling needed to maintain data can be a drain.
3. Automatic Software Updates
IT maintenance not only demands a significant portion of the budget, but it also consumes time. In a cloud environment, updates can happen automatically. Your IT professionals aren’t stuck managing individual user upgrades. The cloud provider also handles all the software maintenance and security patches. There is no need for your team to get into the specifics of server issues.
4. Extended Legacy Hardware
The reality is that you need to maximize the life of your IT hardware. Many businesses find that by virtualizing applications, employees are pleasantly surprised to see an increase in performance.
5. Increased Mobility
Knowledge workers are often frozen without access to their data and applications. A laptop left at home or worse, on an airplane, used to mean hours of lost productivity and IT headaches. A cloud environment can enable employees to access all their information from another device securely.
Important features of the cloud:
1. File-based recovery
One of the most important features of cloud is being able to recover your files in case of any natural, machine, or human errors. Any form of file loss can be a huge blow to a business that makes cloud backups appealing.
2. Technical support
This gives peace of mind to business owners when an issue comes up. Cloud providers delegate customer representatives for technical assistance. It comes in handy for businesses without in-house IT personnel that can handle issues.
Security is one of the major factors for using the cloud. Choosing the right cloud for your business allows you to protect important information. It has the ability to distribute data across multiple servers and safeguard stored data against any type of hardware failure.
4. Ease of access
Files and apps are in a standard platform that enables widespread usage within the organization. You can also access documents with any device at any place.
Businesses can cut down on costs using cloud storage. It spares executives and business owners the pain of keeping data with internal power and multiple resources.
6. Long-term retention and archiving
Archiving files is easy with cloud technology. It retains data in a secure, encrypted way and drastically lowers down your costs.
Why UCaaS or Cloud Hosting?
What is the driving force behind the conversion to UCaaS? Many companies are listing security issues as their top reason to switch. Yet some are still hesitant to make the switch, stating that PBX systems were a costly investment that they don’t want to throw away. And some of these systems haven’t been around that long, leading businesses to feel they’re essentially wasting money by jumping to a different solution.
Despite the reluctance to leave behind expensive systems, those that do, quickly embrace the advantages of UCaaS. These include:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions
- Apps that are cloud-based
- Instant messaging
- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
- Data center and colocation services
- Web conferencing
Select the Right Provider
All providers are different, which means when you switch from a PBX to UCaaS, you need to partner with a vendor that can offer you exactly what you need while not making you pay for what you don’t.
Your vendor will have all the responsibility of installing, maintaining, and upgrading communication systems. That’s part of the beauty of UCaaS – no client administration. Your staff will also appreciate not having a PBX to deal with on a daily or weekly basis. There is no costly hardware or software to purchase or maintain, which amounts to big savings.
If you’re nervous about going to the cloud, keep in mind that many vendors are dedicated to proactive measures that combat security breaches. Take the time to look into what is available to you via cloud communication solutions. Talk to vendors and see what they’re offering. You can even consider repurposing existing equipment to make the transition seamless.
Ready to take the next step and explore cloud strategy right for your business? Take a look at our cloud guide, Unlock the Right Cloud Approach for Your Organization, for a more in-depth look at different approaches to cloud and then request a free assessment. We’ll help you build a cloud environment that delivers the right benefits you can get your hands around.