Should Your Next Phone System Be Cloud Based – Part 3
In our second blog, Is your network ready for Voice over Internet Protocol we looked at what checks you could do to make sure your business could easily and efficiently move to a cloud based communication system. First, a full network assessment was recommended to assure that your current computer network could handle the particular needs of sending voice over a traditional internet system. We also recommended a careful look at any cloud based system provider’s service level agreements before you enter into any contract to guarantee you will receive the service you were promised and your business needs.
Call Quality for Cloud based systems
From the beginning to the end, you need to make sure the system you select is reliable and secure. You have made sure your local network can handle the demands of VoiP, but can your provider do the same? As we discussed in our last blog, there are five major factors that can seriously affect the success of a Cloud based system:
- Carrier (what phone carrier will be providing service and what are their SLAs)
- Data Center (where are they, who runs them, how reliable are they)
- Unified Communications Level (will this be a simple phone system or a fully unified communications system)
- Delivery (what kind of connection will the service be delivered over: guaranteed call quality requires more expensive connections)
- User (who will install the equipment, what kind of training will be provided, who will you call if there is a problem?)
Any trustworthy service provider can clearly and confidently answer these five questions. And don’t just take a salesperson’s word for it, ask for it in writing. Chances are you won’t see him again after the sale and he will be working somewhere else before your contract is over.
Reliability Issues for Cloud based systems
Naturally your phone system must be secure and reliable, cloud based or not. A provider should have multiple, redundant data centers to eliminate points of failure when networks slow or servers fail. One way many do this is with what is called a Five 9s Reliability – SLA Guarantee. Built to five nines reliability is simply a way of saying they guaranteed their service to 99.999% reliability. This is an industry standard and should be part of any SLA from a reputable dealer.
Continuous high availability and disaster recovery is essential to a modern unified communications system where you are using a variety of methods of communication that must be available 24/7 and must keep your documents, emails and records safe and easily accessible. Virtualization, redundancy and data replication using open, standards-based and secure methods that feature the latest encryption and security protocols is critical to accomplishing this at 99.999% reliability.
One way to assess the quality of your provider is to ask if they use FedRamp (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) Certification. This certification meets the stringent security requirements of the US Department of Defense and specific industry compliance requirements.
Before you make an investment in a cloud based communications system, be sure your network is ready to handle the speed and quality required for voice communications. And before you commit to a service provider, be sure you understand their SLA and all that it entails. Always consult with a reliable, trustworthy expert in the communications field. SoundTel will be pleased to answer any questions you may have and can help you decide if moving to the cloud is the right decision for your business. Call 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493 for a free communications analysis.
Our next blog will cover Obsolescence and scalability of a cloud based system