Essential Features to Look for in a Cloud Communications Platform
Enabling communication between your employees and with customers is critical for any company’s success. The key to streamlining it and promoting flexibility and mobility is to use a cloud communications platform.
The reality is that more businesses are leveraging the cloud to power their communications and collaboration. It’s a wise choice since it’s cost-effective, secure, and accessible. If you’re looking to migrate from a legacy on-premises solution or are currently using a platform that doesn’t fit your needs, it’s time to find a better way to communicate.
Why Cloud Communications?
Adoption of the cloud continues to grow. The last year, in particular, saw remarkable growth. Remote workforces and the acceleration of digital transformation made it imperative to migrate.
Cloud communications delivers so many advantages. It keeps all your tools in one enterprise hub and allows staff to work from wherever. It’s scalable, cost-effective, and highly secure.
However, not all platforms are the same. Most will have the same basic features, but not all will fulfill your needs and deliver on reliability and affordability.
So, which features do you really need?
Cloud Communications Platform Features to Seek Out
PBX Phone System
A PBX phone system is a fundamental building block for your solution. It uses VoIP (voice over IP) to route calls. That means your team can use it from anywhere, as long as they have a connection.
While this is a standard feature, there are some more advanced features you’ll want to seek out:
- Call analytics: Great for measuring the performance of sales or customer service.
- Desktop and mobile app: Team members should be able to make and receive calls through an app.
- Virtual voicemail: You can manage voicemails through the app—no pin required. A transcription of the voicemail can also arrive via email.
- Spam caller protection: This technology can detect spammers and block them or send them directly to voicemail.
Team Chat and Business SMS
Chat is a great channel for internal communication, allowing co-workers to get quick responses. It’s much more efficient than long email trails. You can chat within the app or via SMS. One other thing to consider in this feature is if the chat has a presence indicator. This will show you if someone is available, away, or in a meeting.
Video calls are now part of the normal day-to-day of your employees. You’ll want this as part of your cloud communications platform. Look for these specifics:
- Browser-based so you can start meetings in a click without the need to download.
- HD video capabilities.
- Screen sharing so that users can share any application on their desktop. Also, the ability to annotate on these supports better collaboration.
File Backup and Sharing
A secure way to store and share files is a critical feature for cloud communications solutions. It enables access, no matter where the employee is, and provides a way to co-edit documents in real-time.
Backups of everything are automatic. This ensures quick recovery should a ransomware attack occur. It’s a must-have for business continuity.
What makes this different from public shared folders like Google Drive is that you control access to the files in a more secure way. With cloud storage, you can also consolidate where you keep documents. One hub means employees can find what they need faster.
The ability to integrate other applications with your cloud communications platform provides a productivity boost. From Office 365 to CRMs like Zoho and Salesforce, the ability to integrate streamlines processes and creates new efficiencies.
It can also improve customer experiences. When your employees have access to information in CRMs or other platforms, they have more context and can help the caller faster. Your customers will appreciate you saving them from repeating their issues.
Security and Protection
Security features can vary across options. There are some specific things you should be looking for in this category. Providers that are security-first will have:
- Encryption capabilities for data at rest and in transit
- Endpoint protection that includes remote wipe of PCs if compromised, MDM (mobile device management), and detection and response
- Access controls with role-based access assignments
- Password management and policies
- IAM (Identity Access Management) features like single sign-on and two-factor authentication
- Infrastructure security with intrusion prevention and detection, enterprise-class firewalls, and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection
- Compliance with regulations like HIPAA or PCI-DSS
- Security credentials like SOC 1 and 2
Responsive 24/7 Support
The last thing on your list should be the support the platform offers. While these applications are intuitive and easy to use for most, you still want to have a good support team in your corner. Look for those with 24/7 support and short wait times.
Support shouldn’t seem like a burden to your provider. If you get this impression, you should probably keep looking. Companies that win awards for their support and voice their commitment to it will go above and beyond to ensure you have what you need.
Choose a Cloud Communications Platform That Satisfies All Your Requirements
If you’re ready to move to the cloud, make sure you opt for a solution with all these features. It will likely exceed your expectations and make a real impact on your workforce’s daily tasks. We invite you to explore Intermedia Unite, a unified communications platform that delivers all these features and more.