The Business Cloud
Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud Communications
Cloud communications is an essential solution for businesses. In a dynamic, agile, and ever-evolving work world, the cloud offers flexibility and accessibility. Using the cloud for communications assures you can adapt, work from wherever, and reduce costs. However, there are multiple deployment methods: public, private, or hybrid. If your organization is considering a move to unified communications in the cloud, you’ll need to determine which model works best for you.
In this post, we’ll define cloud communications, each deployment option, and how to make the selection that works for you.
What Is Cloud Communications?
First, let’s start with defining what cloud communications is. It describes using a platform to integrate communication tools that live in the cloud. Those tools typically include:
- VoIP (voice over IP) hosted PBX phone systems usable via desktop app, desk phone, or mobile app
- Video conferencing
- Team chat and business SMS
- Screen sharing
- File backup and collaboration system
A system like this provides enterprise-level functionality that streamlines and manages all channels. Collectively, such a solution is Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). It combines communication and collaboration into one platform. The movement to UCaaS and the cloud was already a big trend in business operations; the pandemic accelerated it further. But why should you move to the cloud?
Why Migrate to the Cloud?
There are lots of reasons to convert to the cloud. On-premises communication systems lock you in literally. They are only available when employees are in one location. Whereas with the cloud, your team can have the same tools and experience from any site. Other benefits include:
- Greater security: The cloud has multiple security and redundancy layers, which make cloud-based tools much safer than traditional on-site options.
- Easy to scale: Adding new users is easy and doesn’t require technicians. Onboard with ease and without delay.
- Reducing costs: This model allows you to use one provider and receive one bill. It’s consistent and budgetable. On-site servers require constant maintenance and upgrades, which can escalate quickly.
- Improved productivity: Your employees will appreciate everything being in one hub. They don’t have to constantly log into different systems and waste time finding what they need.
Migrating to the cloud does come with options. Next will go into the differences between public, private, and hybrid clouds.
What Is the Public Cloud?
The public cloud is generally the most used option for companies. A State of Cloud survey revealed that 91 percent of companies use the public cloud. Three companies own most of the public cloud infrastructure: Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google.
All three have a strong reputation in the market, and organizations trust them to host their applications. With the public cloud, you’ll be able to access any of your communication tools with an internet connection.
The pros of the public cloud are scalability, simplicity, and cost savings. The one drawback is you don’t own the cloud, so lots of other businesses are in your “cloud.” Some organizations still have worries about security, but most of those are not real threats or risks.
What Is the Private Cloud?
Private clouds are also very attractive to businesses, with 72 percent of them using one. Using a private cloud for communications removes any security concerns associated with sharing, like in public models. You’ll have a dedicated infrastructure for your UCaaS. While you may appreciate the security and control of having your own cloud, they are also much more expensive.
Private clouds are more advanced than the public and customized to your needs. Often, companies use them with proprietary applications. Being advanced and customized can be pluses, but it also can be more complex, meaning you need dedicated IT resources.
What About Hybrid Clouds?
Hybrid clouds are gaining more interest. A survey of organizations determined that 87 percent are leveraging hybrid clouds.
A hybrid cloud combines the best parts of public and private. On the one hand, you have unlimited scalability and can realize cost efficiencies. On the other, you can put the most secure-focused applications on the private side and retain all control.
For a hybrid cloud communications strategy to work, it requires having the correct technical elements in place for cloud alignment. What gets challenging is that both the public and private need to be accessible in the same environment. It can certainly be advantageous for companies that want to deploy cloud communications but have concerns with being only public or private.
What’s the Best Cloud Communications Model?
Deciding to deploy cloud communications delivers many tangible benefits. The cloud strategy you use comes down to your goals and what’s important to your business.
Consider these questions:
- What are your top goals? Accessibility, reducing costs, scalability, security? That will guide your decision.
- How much control do you need? You may need more control if you’re in a highly regulated industry.
- Do you have dedicated IT resources? If you don’t, it will be harder to manage the cloud internally.
- What’s your budget? If you don’t have a large IT budget, it will limit your options.
Simplify Communications and Embrace the Cloud
Cloud communications can immediately elevate how your team works and collaborates. Providing them with such a platform empowers them to work smarter, serve customers better, and enjoy flexibility. The most important decision you’ll make isn’t necessarily what cloud but what system.
See how a solution can dramatically impact your business by taking a tour of Intermedia Unite, our UCaaS system, with all the features your team needs.