Network integration critical to ensuring reliability of service for hosted voice solutions and safeguarding corporate reputation
The critical nature of voice to business communication dictates that businesses cannot afford to take any risks with the performance of their cloud-based telephony systems. According to Claranet, cloud services are only as reliable and secure as the network down which they are delivered, and by throwing their VoIP services out to the public internet, many businesses are unnecessarily risking their ability to communicate effectively.
The benefits that hosted VoIP solutions can offer businesses has seen this sort of telephony take off in recent years. Today, around 1.4 million people actively use hosted voice services in the UK and 100,000 more are joining them each month. However, according to James Mitchell, Senior Product Manager for Unified Communications, the move to hosted voice for early adopters of the technology has not been as seamless as many would have liked.
Hosted voice solutions have been around for quite some time and are quickly growing in momentum. Given the benefits that these technologies can offer, in terms of cost, agility and flexibility that should come as little surprise, but the migration away from traditional PBX systems has not been without its challenges, particularly when it comes to connectivity. Many of the early hosted voice solutions relied either on the public internet or a private network run by a third party separate to the application host, and while these delivery methods can be effective, they simply can’t guarantee the quality of service that businesses need for something as critical as voice communications.
All businesses that have outsourced, or intend to outsource, parts of their IT infrastructure should consider the vital importance of the network to the successful operation of their cloud service. Leaving your telephony at the mercy of the public internet renders the service vulnerable to fluctuations in bandwidth, while if multiple providers are involved in an overall service – e.g. a carrier, hosting company and application provider – there may be problems when it comes to identifying the root cause of service disruptions and fixing the problem. The consequences of this include having to pay over the odds for networking technology that is often unsuitable for taking full advantage of the cloud-based telephony, with businesses suffering from poor application performance as a result.”
Mitchell went on to say that whether a business is moving to a hosted voice solution, or just thinking about it, they must consider who is accountable for the performance and availability of the network upon which these services rely:
If you are going to outsource business-critical IT functions to the cloud, such as voice, then you need a connection with strict performance and availability guarantees. Downtime could have a significant reputational and operational impact and the best way to guarantee the performance and reliability of hosted voice is to opt for a provider that offers integrated cloud hosting, application management and network services. Accountability is clear and the provider is able to monitor and respond to downtime in a holistic way, reducing the length of time that an issue exists. Mindful of these issues, Claranet recently launched a Hosted Voice service, which we deliver via our private MPLS network, which allows us to supply our customers with all of the benefits of cloud telephony services but with less potential for service disruption.”