Cloud computing is all about connection — connecting with employees, clients, data, and other business applications. Cloud computing gives your staff the flexibility to collaborate in real-time from anywhere, on any device. This technology is at least partially responsible for keeping many businesses operating at full steam during the height of the pandemic. However, if you still haven’t made the switch, you’re missing out on the most powerful computing tools on the market.
Here are some cloud computing services you should keep in mind as you consider switching or upgrading your current video conferencing, voice, and data infrastructure.Cloud Based Video Conferencing
There are two different types of cloud-based video conferencing, so remote and hybrid workplaces can stay connected, seamlessly:
- Person to Person or Person to Many
Some examples of this include Cisco’s WebEx, Microsoft Teams, or Marco Managed Video (MMV). You’re also likely familiar with more basic platforms like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet, which provide video conferencing, but don’t include additional collaboration and security tools.
- Room to Room (also known as Telepresence)
Most commonly used in conference rooms today, telepresence creates a more immersive experience, where participants almost feel like they were in the same room.
Wherever you are, you can connect and collaborate through a hosted video conferencing option. Rather than purchasing, maintaining, and/or upgrading a vast network of hardware, your company can leave those concerns to your cloud provider. In return, you get access to video conferencing in the cloud that is HD-capable, scalable, and interoperable with a variety of systems.
Depending on which video conferencing solution you choose, it might come with a whole host of other features to help your employees collaborate more effectively. For example, Webex combines exceptional audio and video with messaging and content sharing tools, including digital whiteboards. Teams contains many similar features, and also enables you to effectively present Microsoft PowerPoint decks. Marco’s Managed Video solution delivers impressive audio/visual technologies as a service, so you won’t be stuck troubleshooting equipment when you should be engaging with clients.
Private cloud solutions usually involve telepresence. In this case, a provider would help design and implement a solution that fits your company’s communication requirements. Your provider can also be relied on to manage the hardware and provide help desk support and training for the equipment.
Hosted voice phones look just like normal phones with a handset, cradle, and buttons. But instead of connecting to a standard phone line, these phones have an ethernet connection that carries phone calls over an IP data network. This configuration allows you to save money on phone services because your calls will travel over a data network or the Internet, rather than requiring separate phone lines.
Not only does hosted voice save you money, hosted voice systems include additional features that help your staff save time. Hosted voice systems can integrate well with other tools like Salesforce, so your staff can better track engagement, see customer profiles and histories, and address issues quickly. Hosted voice also frees up your staff to take calls even when they’re not chained to their desk, allows call forwarding, and much, much more.
For businesses using a public cloud, a hosted voice option can be easily created and delivered by a hosting provider. Typically, this public cloud-based voice service is best for businesses with less than 50 users or organizations that rely heavily on remote employees. It saves your business the expense of a traditional phone line and supporting infrastructure.
In a private cloud environment, a provider would design and implement your on-premise voice system. These systems are best for more complex and larger organizations. These hosted voice solutions provide the best quality connection and communication among coworkers, clients, vendors, and more.
Business applications, storage, and other functions can now be hosted on off-site servers, or in other words, the cloud. This reduces your need to purchase, house, and maintain computer servers on-site. It also makes it much easier for your employees to collaborate on documents in real-time, without having to constantly email different versions back and forth. Additionally, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) typically have much better security solutions, and are better positioned to safeguard your sensitive data and infrastructure.
For businesses operating with a public cloud, a hosted desktop option is available. Your infrastructure is located in a data center, which can be located anywhere in the world. Typically, you'll see the public cloud data approach work best for smaller organizations.
Alternatively, cloud service providers can offer an on-premise data solution, also known as a private cloud. This infrastructure is entirely dedicated to your organization (unlike a public cloud where infrastructure and the cost to use it is shared among many organizations). Generally speaking, the private cloud approach is arguably better for larger businesses that perform more complex tasks. However, small businesses can also require the capabilities of a private cloud.
Most mid-market businesses benefit most from a hybrid approach, due to their line-of-business software requirements. Some of these applications won't work well in a public cloud environment, so it's important to have a private option available. This combination of cloud types can get very complicated, requiring an experienced specialist to guide the design, configuration and implementation.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT PROVIDER
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with how much business and technology have changed in the past few years, you’re not alone. In many ways, cloud computing is designed to make dealing with change much easier. However, if your IT department is overwhelmed with other important matters, Marco’s IT experts can make a custom recommendation based on your unique business and its short and long-term goals. And should you need help putting any of those plans into action, we are happy to act as consultants on specific projects, like a cloud migration.