Unified Communications Nation

Jul 29 2019   2:38PM GMT

5 best practices for cloud calling success

Katherine Finnell Katherine Finnell Profile: Katherine Finnell

Tags:
cloud
UCaaS
Unified Communications
VoIP

Organizations looking to augment their communications features while also cutting costs and improving scalability are turning to the cloud for their calling services. But migrating to cloud calling takes more moving on from on-premises PBX system.

To achieve deployment success, organizations must ensure their network is ready for a cloud migration and that the new calling service will maintain quality for their end users. A Nemertes Research survey of 631 IT leaders identified five factors that contribute to the success of a cloud calling deployment.

1. Taking a hybrid approach. Adopting a hybrid model for cloud calling allows organizations to take a strategic approach toward the cloud, Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar said in a webinar. A hybrid model reduces the disruption of a migration while providing faster access to cloud capabilities, such as team collaboration and meetings.

Organizations need to understand where the cloud makes sense for their business and end users. A large office, for example, with an on-premises PBX that’s fully depreciated, but still meets calling needs may not need to move to the cloud. But smaller, remote offices within the business could benefit from moving calling to the cloud.

2. Deploying software-defined WAN. The majority of successful organizations satisfied with cloud calling used SD-WAN to connect to their telephony provider, according to the study.

“The nice value of SD-WAN is it allows you to take the different ways you can connect to different services and applications, and pool them and virtualize them,” Lazar said. “If I’ve got a branch office where it has an internet connection and an MPLS connection … I can potentially layer on an SD-WAN service and virtualize the capabilities that are out there.”

SD-WAN enables IT to set a policy for voice traffic to travel over MPLS, for example, while other data goes over the public internet. IT could also use SD-WAN to automate traffic management by measuring the performance of various links and choosing the optimal path for calls to take.

3. Bring your own SIP. Organizations migrating to cloud-based communications are not necessarily giving up their SIP trunking services and PSTN access. In fact, SIP trunking services are continuing to grow even as cloud adoption grows, Lazar said.

The decision to maintain SIP is a little counterintuitive, Lazar added, but organizations are bringing their SIP services to cloud calling in order to continue owning their phone numbers, maintain PSTN contracts and experiment with cloud services while avoiding vendor lock-in.

Some cloud providers do support organizations bringing their own SIP services. For example, 82% of organizations adopting Microsoft Teams telephony are bringing their own SIP trunks rather than using Microsoft’s calling plan services, he said.

4. Proactive security policies. While a cloud migration means the cloud provider is responsible for overall security, organizations must do their due diligence. Organizations should audit their providers, review their security certifications and maintain communication in the event of a breach.

The components of a proactive security strategy include audits, penetration testing, patching, firewalls and session border controllers. More than one-third of successful organizations have a proactive security strategy, according to the study.

5. Proactive service management. Much like security, a cloud calling migration does not absolve organizations from managing their calling service and network.

“You still need to make sure you’re able to see what’s going on,” Lazar said. “A key part of managing voice quality is being able to have visibility into it.” Organizations can gain insight into their service with tools offered by their provider or they can deploy third-party network management tools.

Using management tools can also validate business metrics, such as usage and call volume, to help organizations determine if they’re saving money or meeting business goals. Management tools can also validate provider contracts and service-level agreements, so providers that guarantee a certain amount of uptime or performance are held accountable.

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