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Four things to consider before moving UC into the cloud

Kevin Riley, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Chief Technology Officer, Sonus | March 23, 2016
Kevin Riley, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Chief Technology Officer, Sonus, discusses the four key points of impact that enterprises need to look out for to ensure a seamless transition from on-premises to cloud-based UC solutions.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

These days, CIOs aren't talking about the cloud in the future tense. Instead, they talk about what they're doing in the cloud today: virtualising data centers, deploying new applications and extending network capacity. Increasingly, enterprises are adding a new topic into the conversation: moving Unified Communications (UC) into the cloud.

UC in a cloud environment makes sense for several reasons. It is more cost-efficient from a capex (capital expenditure) and opex (operational expenditure) perspective, it delivers a better scaling model, and it allows enterprises to deploy new communications features to users across more locations faster than ever before. As communications equipment nears end of life, a cloud solution can look especially attractive to an enterprise.

In a recent report, Frost & Sullivan has predicted that enterprises in Asia Pacific will be shifting from on-premises solutions to UC as a Service (UCaaS) at an accelerated rate. This is primarily driven by the flexibility that UCaaS or cloud-based UC solutions provide enterprises. This trend is also in parallel with a recent report by IDC, forecasting that the UCaaS market in Asia Pacific excluding Japan is set to reach US$659 million in 2018, at a five-year CAGR of 89 per cent.

This increasing adoption of UCaaS among Asia Pacific enterprises highlights the need for organisations to realise that moving UC from on-premise to a cloud-hosted platform is not as simple as turning off one switch and turning on another.  There are four potential points of impact where the move to a cloud-hosted platform can cause disruption in enterprise communications: the security level, network level, application level and user experience level.

Security

While the cloud enjoys a better reputation these days among security hawks, the fact remains that public cloud solutions present an additional security risk to businesses. The cloud's multi-tenant model means that data, voice and video from multiple clients are passing back and forth over the same channels at a given moment; something that enterprises do not need to worry about with a corporate virtual private network (VPN). To mitigate this potential problem, there should be additional protection between the cloud and the enterprise network as well as around the UC application itself. A Session Border Controller (SBC) can provide that protection effectively, especially one that is cost-efficient and simple to manage across multiple sites.

 

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