A great deal has been said about cloud computing – although companies still have a limited understanding of what it is and how it impacts their business. Simply put, the cloud is a set of services and technologies that enable the delivery of computing services over the internet in real-time, allowing end-users instant access to data and applications from any device with internet access.
It is generally accepted that there are three different types of cloud: public, hybrid and private. This has several implications, particularly when it comes to implementing PBX systems in your organisation where the need for security and cost-effectiveness is crucial.
As you move towards a cloud-based PBX system, a question you will need to consider is which option would work best for you:
Public cloud applications exist in off-site data centres owned by a service provider. In our experience, a large number of smaller customers, representing a comparatively small number of extensions, favour public solutions. The benefits to your business are that it is easy and economical to set up; it is flexible and scalable and you only pay for what you use. The main pitfall being that you are completely reliant on your service provider.
Private cloud solutions remain in customer-owned data centres, hosted by the customer or the service provider, on- or off-site. Large companies prefer a private cloud because it allows them to leverage their considerable investments in high-end network and data resources and equipment, thus retaining control over the running and support of their deployments. The private cloud option takes costly and time-consuming installations, but it provides a sense of security and control.
Hybrid implementations reside in customer-owned data centres, and calls are carried out over a virtual private network via a public switch. Hybrid installations are used by a small but growing base of large customers, whether measured in customer numbers, sites (which may involve multiple branches or chain stores) or extensions. Hybrid cloud architecture requires both on-premises resources and off-site (remote) server-based cloud infrastructure. It allows a higher degree of fault tolerance, as should the internet fail, it allows automatic switchover to a landline.
Cloud-based services are the way of the future and the benefits of bringing down costs, providing flexibility, scalability and removing the need for massive servers and data centres speak for themselves. Understanding the options will allow you to optimise the value your business gets from the services available to you.