Business owners, CIOs, CTOs, and VPs of IT make daily technical decisions that strongly affect the bottom line, ROI, efficiency, and the future of the company.
The fast-paced climate of the world of technology demands that such people are in the know and can respond appropriately to specific needs within their company to ensure they are always leading the charge on the strategic edge.
One such major decision that affects all of these and the day-to-day performance of the company is within the realm of technology connectivity. Specifically, phone systems, employee and systems connectivity, UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), and security.
While these upgrades are not comprehensive and this is not an exhaustive list, business technology is in the middle of an evolution from copper to cloud across the board, and it is important to explore the many ways in which cloud-based integrations may benefit your organization.
Phone lines have been traditionally based on copper (analog) and within recent years are more often moving to cloud technologies like VoIP (voice over internet protocol) or UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service). Along with the change come plenty of myths and barriers with thinking about migrating from traditional phone systems to cloud communication systems and from on-site PBX to cloud based alternatives.
Change for many is inherently uncomfortable - we may be so familiar and comfortable with what we’ve always done that we feel discouraged to make large-scale changes within telecommunications. But our industry thrives on forward-motion, innovative discoveries, and strategic problem solving to leverage our organization into a more streamlined, efficient, and better-working machine. A hesitancy to move forward may initially begin with appropriate caution, but if left unchecked, will find us in a much more deeply uncomfortable place scrambling to rectify what we have left to fall by the wayside.
Why Consider Moving From Copper to Cloud and Take a Fresh Look at Your Connectivity Solutions?
First, VoIP is a strong cost-saving choice. One of the most important questions to consider is the total cost of ownership and the return on investment when switching to cloud services. By the end of this year, 90% of IT leaders will cease purchasing on-premise communication tools because of this factor. In fact, savings from switching to VoIP result in a 75% savings on operational costs, 30% savings on phone bills, and a 40% savings on local call bills. Since March 2020, many organizations needed to switch to a higher reliance on video conferencing services in order to allow business to move forward and switching to VoIP reduced teleconferencing expenses by 30%.
Besides significant cost-savings, VoIP also gives back to an organization by saving time - having a VoIP system saves organizations an average of 32 call minutes per day, and because calls can be accommodated anywhere, this allows for companies to increase productivity by up to 20%.
Cloud technology is feature rich. For example, VoIP services often include the following features:
- Auto attendant
- Call center support
- Call conferences
- Ring groups
- Call forwarding
- Call logs
- Call monitoring
- Call recording
- Cell phone integration
- Day/night/holiday mode
- Dial by name and extension
- Follow me
- Number portability
- Simultaneous/multi ring
- Outlook integration
- PC to phone option
- Toll free and virtual numbers
- Voicemail and voicemail to email
Another service to consider is UCaaS. If your organization is still utilizing disparate technologies for audio and video conferencing, messaging, and group and individual chats, you may be missing out not only on a myriad of features, but also on simplicity. UCaaS service providers unify and sync communication tools into one platform. This is such a valuable and sought-after service that analysts are predicting that this market will triple in the next five years.
UCaaS service providers bring a host of benefits of synched communication tools and services that include:
- Voice calling/conferencing
- Business SMS text messaging
- Video calling/conferencing
- Live chat messaging
- Real-time collaboration
Besides the ever-increasing obsolescence of traditional phone systems and disparate collaboration tools, another area to explore for potential upgrades is within MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) connectivity and replacing it with an SD WAN solution (and add in a secondary Internet circuit like LTE, Fixed Wireless, Broadband to further strengthen your connectivity uptime).
SD WAN evolved from MPLS technology and has applications for wider scenarios. SD WAN is secure, private, is cloud-aware, and handles failures in real-time with traffic steering (instead of backup links). SD WAN is comprehensive, unifies the WAN structure, and provides analytics across the network globally - something that isn’t possible with MPLS due to disparities.
MPLS was developed in the early 1990s and has several disadvantages compared to SD WAN. MPLS is only optimized for point-to-point connectivity and has limited features. Traditional WANs that rely on MPLS are complex, time-consuming to manage, and costly to upgrade and scale. MPLS is typically priced at $300 - $600 per Mbps per month for the copper connectivity typically deployed at enterprise locations, while the monthly price of broadband or fiber connectivity is now $1.50 - $15 per Mbps per month.
SD WAN is a modern alternative to MPLS and adding in backup internet circuits to your SD WAN solution provides increased options for connectivity.
- SD WAN can provide more security (integrated threat protection employed at the right place, secure traffic across broadband into the cloud, real-time access control with end-to-end segmentation and application aware policies).
- SD WAN provides a better application experience. Traffic is dynamically routed with application-aware routing, which increases user experience and delivery efficiency.
- Simplified management across all locations (branch, campus, cloud).
While attention to upgrading phone services and connectivity is cost-effective, timesaving, increases user-friendliness, and allows for more features, security needs to be a significant focus when deploying any technology.
Created in the early 1990s, VPN was a groundbreaking technology that provided a level of security and connectivity that was previously unknown. It allowed users to connect to their business network from anywhere they had an internet connection. More than thirty years later, we recognize that we are thankful for the base it provided for us to launch into the next level of technology that supports business of today, particularly Zero Trust, SASE, and VPN replacement.
Having insufficient and/or inappropriate security measures in our organizations may arguably be one the costliest mistakes that can be made today. Neglecting deep consideration and overlooking due diligence in this area costs organizations millions of dollars annually.
Switching to Zero Trust, SASE, or a VPN replacement has significant benefits. Because many users are working remotely, it has become necessary to expand security beyond a physical location, and this is most optimally done via cloud security programs. In fact, the transition to cloud-based security has become so vital since March 2020, that Gartner has predicted “by 2024, at least 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies to adopt SASE, up from less than 1% at year-end 2018.”
With Zero Trust or SASE, threat detection is automated and happens in real time, so that threats are immediately addressed and able to be reconciled. With VPN and more antiquated approaches, breaches are dealt with in a reactionary manner and damage may cascade wildly out of control.
These cloud security programs also seamlessly protect across the security estate, preventing exploitations in gaps in siloed programs that are often sought out for their vulnerabilities. These programs also employ stronger governance models, perpetually validating technical securities (verifying devices are registered, and that confidential data remains confidential). Zero Trust automates routine tasks, allowing for IT professionals to focus on critical issues, saving organizations time, money, and workforce power. These security services also provide a more pleasant user experience.
Cloud-centered security also reduces cost and complexity, provides agility, better performance, ease of use and transparency, enables ZTNA, provides centralized policy with localized enforcement, and provides a more effective network.
Because there are so many factors and individual considerations to examine, it is often overwhelming to exactly determine the best program and strategy for your organization when switching from copper to cloud.
At Renodis, we specialize in helping you to find exactly what you need while leveraging as many benefits as possible. Our expertise is connecting you with the technology that makes the most sense for your unique needs. If you’re ready to connect with professional services that will find the best solution for you, reach out to us, we are ready to serve you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Matt Spivey, CTO, Renodis
With over 20+ years in business/IT consulting, Matt brings strong enterprise technology leadership experience to the table along with his passion for solving complex problems with a strategic business mindset. Prior to joining Renodis, Matt held several Executive IT leadership positions with firms in the upper Midwest including health care, animal healthcare, and IT Managed Services. Most recently, Matt led the IT organization, at a large network of animal hospitals, to where his department boasted a 97% approval rating from the 160 animal hospitals they supported during a period of rapid growth and change. In 2020, Matt was honored to be a finalist for the Michigan Orbie Awards - CIO of the Year, a premiere technology executive recognition program commending excellence in IT