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Cloud Unified Communications is Still Adapting
By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor
I’ve said a lot about the benefits of cloud-based unified communications, and I stand by every word. In spite of its potential, however, it has occasionally been mistaken for the cure to all that ails UC, when the truth is, it’s a technology like any other, and is just as prone to error (human or otherwise) as anything else. While cloud UC is a great tool, it shouldn’t be overestimated.
Now is a time of innovation and creation, and that’s excellent. That does, however, mean that it’s difficult to predict what will take off flying and what won’t get off the ground, turning market predictions into educated guesses. Of course, cloud-based UC is one that took off quite nicely, converging tools for communicating and collaborating into a single source. Now, we have a wide selection of UC services, with cloud computing and mobility playing a huge role in its spread and usage.
With cloud UC, we have access to virtualized data services such as document management and video web conferencing, as well as a way to test and use these services without massive hardware investments. That doesn’t, however, mean we can just snap our fingers and the cloud will present us with whatever we need. (If it did, we’d probably call it a Genie.)
Unified communications can provide an excellent boost to a company’s collaboration and efficiency, as long as it’s put to use. It’s not enough to simply have the services at your disposal, they have to be put to use as well. Furthermore, there is a risk presented from cloud security and using multiple devices (which adds BYOD to the list of “things that are great but have issues that should be taken into consideration”).
There are security issues with cloud UC. There’s always a chance of hacking, phishing, or intercepting endpoints. Cloud-based UC takes some work and effort, but to many companies, it’s worth it.
This, however, provides the need for Enterprise Session Border Controllers (E-SBCs). As they provide control over signals and media streams and are essential for ensuring that media streams go to and from the proper channels, without any outside individuals sneaking into your cloud. Not only do E-SBCs provide security from threats such as DoS attacks, but they also help improve connectivity and quality of service through traffic policing, resource allocation, and so on.
So by all means, enjoy everything that the cloud has to offer. It’s a great tool for accessing data, programs, tools, and so on, and can be an excellent boost for unified communications and collaboration. But like all things, it is imperfect, and we must always strive to improve it. Despite what some data plan commercials may say, there is no “Almighty cloud,” just the cloud we have. Everything from there depends on how we use it.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi