3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Cloud Communications Provider 

Aug 4, 2016

Smart businesses everywhere have embraced the cloud as a cost-effective alternative to capex spending with on-premises hardware and software. For SMBs in particular, the cloud enables enterprise-level functionality without the associated price tag.

As with all technology, however, not all cloud offerings are the same. There are literally hundreds of cloud providers, all with varying levels of abilities. Choosing the right cloud services provider for your business can be an arduous, time-consuming task—if you don’t know how to simplify the search.

Reliability, security and usability all are important considerations in determining which cloud provider to use. With that in mind, here are three key questions to ask when choosing a cloud communications provider:

1. What features does your cloud communications service offer? At a minimum, a cloud communications service will include voice services—calling, voice mail and possibly auto attendant. But to get the most out of what the cloud has to offer, look for a communications system that offers additional robust functionality, such as voice mail to email capabilities, for example.
A feature-rich cloud communications system, such as ShoreTel Connect CLOUD, also includes features such as:

  • VoIP call control
  • Mobility apps
  • Instant messaging
  • Audio and web conferencing
  • Video calling
  • Online meeting collaboration with web share capabilities
  • A feature-rich client interface

Such additional functionality can help your employees achieve higher productivity while being able to work wherever they are, and help your company establish a deeper connection with its customers.

2. What security controls does your cloud communications service have in place? Cloud communications, like any other cloud service, is only as secure as the security measures that surround it. At a minimum, a cloud communications service should have protection against malware, data breaches and service hijacking—all of which are very real threats.

ShoreTel Connect CLOUD combats cloud security issues in the following ways:

  • Session border controllers, which enforce security, quality of service and admission control mechanisms over the VoIP service and include firewall protection
  • End-to-end encryption protects IP voice against unauthorized recording, playback and other forms of electronic snooping.
  • Full API catalog, so users don’t have to rely on third-party APIs that might contain malicious code
  • Strong password policies to help prevent unauthorized access to the system
  • Fraud monitoring to detect and shut down potential fraud early
  • State-of-the-art data center to ensure the highest level of security

3. What type of infrastructure is supporting the cloud communications service? Most cloud service providers have carrier-grade infrastructure that ensures minimal downtime even in the face of disaster. Be sure to ask the cloud service provider about its service level agreements and policies for ensuring uptime, as well as its backup services to protect against data loss.

Choosing the right cloud communications service for your company is easy when you know what to ask. Keep security, reliability and usability in mind when vetting cloud services providers and you’ll make short work of an otherwise arduous task.