There’s a lot going on with telecom right now. Between working from home and the dramatic shift to online meetings, having enough bandwidth in the right place has never been more important. And, if your phone system won’t accommodate these new needs, it may be time to reevaluate.
Businesses are swiftly moving to the cloud for telecom
To remain competitive and ensure your business can grow, there are several key shifts you can make with your IT. One of them is moving services to the cloud, and Telecom is no exception to this. This means you’ll use the cloud versus landlines for communications, reducing the need for physical cabling. It also means no more physical phone system box (PBX) mounted on the wall in your equipment closet. All the PBX functions are performed in the cloud. There is much greater flexibility provided by cloud telecom services including much easier teleworking.
Many businesses are making the move to the cloud. The telecom cloud market in the United States hit $17.15 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $51 billion by 2025. A recent survey found that 81% of organizations have at least one application in the cloud, and more than half use multiple public clouds. So – how do you plan this transformation?
Tap a telecom expert
There are literally hundreds of choices for cloud telecom services on the market. Some of them will be an excellent fit for your business; others will not. It’s a lot to navigate and a place where it makes sense to bring in an expert. We suggest working with a telecom services consultant to provide you with the best options, designed specifically to meet your company’s demands and budget. Their fees are usually very low or maybe zero because the service providers give them a little margin. BEI is happy to provide a referral to one or more of our partners who specialize in telecom services for a free evaluation – just fill out the form at the bottom of this article.
Conduct an invoice review
Before you make a change, it’s important to understand exactly what your setup is now and what you are paying for. Start with your invoice. Go through all the details and identify where there are opportunities for cost savings. If you don’t totally understand your invoice, you’re not alone! Telecom service providers don’t make it easy to figure out what they’re providing you. This is where telecom consultants can really pay off. Not only do they know how to interpret what’s on bills, they know if your current fees could be lowered. These are funds you can save or reallocate to other parts of your IT budget.
Make smart bandwidth buying decisions
Bandwidth is critical to telecom. You need to find the best carrier and the best access method for your site. There are different advantages and disadvantages (and costs) to each method—cable, fiber, or wireless. Bandwidth is inexpensive these days so you should get the most you can afford. Unless you work alone, 25 Mbps upload/5 Mbps download should be the minimum.
Also, consider whether you want your telecom services to share bandwidth with your data services. This decision hinges on how you use the Internet for your business operations and how many voice calls you might have at any point in time. One option we’re seeing frequently now is to get service from two ISPs – one for voice and one for data – and then use software-defined networking to configure bandwidth sharing and auto-failover (for when one circuit fails). This has become very affordable while providing solid redundancy. Let your telecom consultant provide this information to you so you can buy intelligently.
Think about how expanded telework will impact your telecom needs
If your organization has moved to more or expanded telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is very likely that your telecom needs are going to be very different than before. This is where a cloud voice service can more easily provide your teleworking employees with an office-like phone experience.
Determine how providers will integrate with your existing apps and infrastructure
Don’t end up with something that doesn’t work with your current systems. There is nothing more frustrating than selecting a new system only to have interoperability challenges. Work with experts to ensure that your new telecom system works harmoniously with your existing infrastructure and apps. This will allow you to implement without delays.
Cybersecurity in the Cloud
Last but certainly not least, be sure that whatever solutions you choose have solid security plans. Generally, the cloud is safer than the server in your office. Let’s face it, Microsoft/Google/Salesforce, etc. have far better security than even a well-designed private business network with local servers. But this is the time to ask the questions and be sure you know what you’re buying!