Best Practices for Moving to Cloud-Based VoIP
New technology isn’t always worth the investment. Remember eight-track tapes and Google Glass? Just because there’s a new way to do something doesn’t mean your business will benefit from it. When it comes to phone service, knowing whether or not to take the leap into new technology can feel especially uncertain.
That being said, most businesses within the U. S. have already made the switch from landline-based telephony to voice-over internet protocol (VoIP). They’ve done so with amazing results, too. As the winds of technical change continue to blow, however, many of those same businesses are now considering shifting their VoIP to the cloud.
Tech Gets Cloudier
If you’re worried about the negative effects your company and customers might experience with cloud-based VoIP, don’t be. Nearly one third of all spending on IT infrastructure in the world last year went into the cloud. The first quarter of 2015 alone saw $6.3 billion spent, which means tech is quickly getting cloudier—good news for anyone looking into cloud-based VoIP.
Don’t get left behind. When you head into the cloud, be sure to follow these best practices.
Ask the Right Questions (Get the Right Answers)
Don’t assume all cloud-based VoIP providers are alike, because they aren’t. Here is a smattering of the right questions to ask—and answers to get—before moving your VoIP into the cloud:
Q: What kind of support do you offer?
A: 24/7/365. Ideally, it’s North American-based service.
Q: Who are your biggest customers?
A: Anybody but you.
Q: Will I need any equipment onsite?
A: Anything beyond a good firewall, desk phones and switches is usually not necessary.
Q: Will your phones work anywhere there’s Internet?
Q: What’s the trial period?
A: Whatever it is, make sure they have one, and make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to ensure the service is a good fit for your organization’s specific needs.
Don’t hesitate to ask more—Toll-free minutes? Fax service? Cancellation fees?—but these questions form the bare minimum.
The best VoIP uses Cat6 networks that run from every desk and phone to the core routing and switches. Wi-Fi can be cheaper, but ultimately, it doesn’t deliver the quality most businesses need. If the cloud-based VoIP provider you’re considering keeps extolling the virtues of Wi-Fi, look elsewhere.
Don’t Go Cheap.
“You get what you pay for” is an adage for the ages, and it definitely applies to cloud-based VoIP providers. While you want to get a good a deal, never lose sight of the services you need up and running at all times.
The cheapest providers skimp on everything from equipment to support. So, when your service goes down, you’ll be contacting someone via email or skimming forums for help rather than speaking to an actual person who can provide insight into when you’ll be up and running again.
Don’t Get Hung Up on Bandwidth
While bandwidth is incredibly important, it isn’t the only metric to weigh. You’ll also need to understand how a VoIP’s latency, jitter and packet loss will affect your service. Big bandwidth is nice, but speed and delivery are just as important to an effective cloud-based VoIP.
Technology’s future will increasingly take place in the cloud. Make sure your business occupies the most relevant and reliable parts of it with these best practices for moving to cloud-based VoIP.
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