As a cost-effective alternative to CapEx spending for on-site hardware, many businesses have been moving to the Cloud for their technology use. Especially for SMBs, the Cloud enables enterprise-level functionality without the associated price tag.
However, are all Cloud offerings the same? No, and with hundreds of Cloud providers out there, their ability levels vary tremendously. Choosing the right Cloud services provider can be a burdensome task, but the search can be simplified.
Reliability, security, and usability all are important considerations. With these in mind, here are 3 questions to ask in the selection process:
What features does the provider offer?
Standard, basic features are of course voice calls, voice mail, and often include an automated attendant menu. To get the most out of what the Cloud has to offer though, many services include features such as:
- Voicemail to email
- Mobility apps
- Instant messaging
- Audio and web conferencing
- Video calling
- Find me/follow me
- Online meeting collaboration with desktop sharing
What security controls does the provider implement?
Your communications will only be as secure as the measures your provider takes around it. Basic security requirements are protection agains malware, data breaches, and service hijacking. Additional methods to increase security are:
- Session border controllers, which enforce quality of service and admission control over the VoIP service, including firewall protection
- End-to-end encryption protects VoIP from unauthorized recording, playback, and other forms of digital snooping
- Full API catalog, so users don’t have to rely on 3rd-party APIs that risk containing malicious code
- Strong password policies
- Fraud monitoring to detect and shut down potential fraud early
- State-of-the-art data center at the hosting core
- What type of infrastructure supports the provider’s Cloud service? Most Cloud service providers have carrier-strength infrastructure which ensures minimal downtime even in the face of disaster. Ask your service provider about its SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and policies to ensure uptime and backups to prevent data loss.
Choosing the right Cloud services provider is easier when you know what to ask. Keep security, reliability, and usability in mind and make an otherwise arduous journey much shorter.