With all the industry talk about moving to cloud, the decision to move to a hosted VoIP provider should be easier. Selecting a VoIP or cloud communications provider is not as simple as the marketing material would suggest. You need to assess your existing capabilities, the company’s expectations of new capabilities, balancing the urgent requests with the needs and the future of the company. While there are still many challenges when considering a cloud communications provider, with some simple research and being armed with the right questions to ask, the experience can be simplified and become an extremely positive one.
The 3 Key things you want to know
Every Hosted VoIP provider is going to have a list of key issues for you to consider. One interesting aspect of a move to the cloud is balancing the need for features with the need for speed of deployment and long term reliability.
The issues impacting the reliability of a hosted VoIP solution are many. From network provision, redundancy to equipment reliability, there are a many issues they deal with by the minute to maintain a service for you. To provide a service, some form of call control is hosted in the cloud, over which a variety of services are provided to the market. How hosted VoIP vendors provide this varies considerably. We’ll take a look at what is considered the premier approach: active/active.
There are a couple of different approaches to active/active. These are normally described as an active/active data center and an active/active application. All storage is synced, the databases are synced and the security policies are synced. This provides a high degree of confidence that the underlying infrastructure used to deliver your hosted communications service will survive knowable situations. But, if the provider you are considering cannot claim continuous availability built upon active/active, give serious consideration to what that may mean when the inevitable service disruption happens.
- Global Approach
If you require hosted VoIP communications in more than one country, separating the ability to provide local numbers, points of presence and actually having globally distributed data centers becomes important. The easy approach is to bring all the call handling to one central location, typically in the US. Simpler and cheaper for the cloud communications provider to develop and deploy, but comes with all the issues previously discussed about reliability and recovering in the event of a service disruption. Having globally distributed datacenters is more difficult and costly, but provides the highest level of service
The next area of consideration is your workflow. We are long past the scenario where a communications solutions starts and ends with the phone. While it’s indisputable that the primary requirement for any cloud communications solution is being able to pick up a handset and call someone, it’s increasingly important to have key integrations for various workflows the company has developed.
Selecting a hosted VoIP provider that can customize and integrate into your environment makes the solution highly leverageable and simpler to adopt.