In the Industrial Age, the most successful factories had the largest water wheels to produce the energy needed to drive machines. Now, since the advent of the National Grid, our energy is instantly available at the flick of a switch on a “pay-as-you-go” (do you know anyone who is operating their own water wheel?)
It was the same when Microsoft introduced ‘Office 365’. Instead of purchasing and maintaining expensive servers and software, this “pay-as-you-go” subscription service means you just switch on and use it, and the hassle of keeping the servers and software running smoothly is left to the experts.
‘So what is Cloud Telecoms?’
Cloud telecoms in its simplest form is providing a dial tone using the Internet. Think about how you use Skype, Facebook, Messenger, etc. These are great for avoiding call charges for social conversations, but they aren’t suitable for business operations.
Cloud Telecoms is generally best suited to organisations which:
- would benefit from a subscription model for services as described above
- employ staff who work from numerous locations
- work across multiple sites
- would like to administrate their own system with a web browser
- want to improve their business continuity planning
‘Who provides it?’
A provider of Cloud Telecoms is classed as an ‘Internet Telephony Services Provider’ or ‘ITSP’. There are a few major ITSP’s and hundreds of minor ones. A major ITSP will have ongoing investment in evolving a fully secure and resilient architecture replicated across multiple data centres, whereas a minor ITSP could be operating from a server in their garage.
Most ITSP propose agreements of three years or more, so choose carefully – think about their financial health, trading longevity and systems they are offering, and always ask for and take references. Try to avoid excessively lengthy contracts, because telecoms is the only utility which has experienced a consistent downward trend in costs over the last 10 years.
It is also important to select your provider with expert networking skills to ensure your cabling and wireless infrastructure are suitable for dealing with the impact on your network.
‘I’ll need to upgrade by Internet, won’t I?’
Whilst this is true of most cloud services, a well-designed broadband and router combination can overcome these obstacles. easyNetworks has clients who are happily using a secure and reliable Cloud Telecoms service in offices that have notoriously poor broadband.
‘So is Cloud Telecoms for me?’
In most cases, absolutely yes. Modern Cloud Telecoms solutions have matured and offer reliability, greatly improved call quality, many more useful features and often considerably lower call costs.
With Cloud Telecoms, software is usually provided on a subscription basis, so the developer will only receive their income if it continues to work. This approach offers the best protection for software longevity.
And, finally, if you are currently using traditional telephone lines, an upgrade will be necessary in the near future anyway, as all telecoms are moving to internet based channels (click here to read ‘The Great British Switch Off’), so you may as well prepare in advance.