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UCaaS 101: Simplifying Unified Communications as a Service

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) goes far beyond being a useful cloud-based tool. It’s driving significant changes in the way people work. But, it can be overwhelming if you’re new to the technology. We’ve unpacked the details in this guide: what it is, how it works, and how to empower your teams with it. It’s UCaaS 101 – the simplified information every business should have.

An Introduction to Unified Communications

Effective communication tools are the heartbeat of a productive workplace – regardless of where teams are located. This is the “why” behind unified communications. With a single tool enabling chat, voice, video meetings, and other communications and collaboration tools, teams can easily interact, share ideas, and stay focused without the interruptions and inefficiencies that are built into a non-unified communications system.

Unified Communications (UC) is a platform that provides multiple tools in one place. These can include:

  • Video conferencing
  • Cloud-based phone system
  • Chat
  • File management
  • Email
  • Screen sharing

The tools are integrated, so data is unified across the software. This makes it simple for users to connect and stay productive. Instead of switching applications – or devices – to initiate different tools, everything happens from one app.

UCaaS vs. UC

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud service. The software lives on cloud servers in a secure data center.

As a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, all employees, including remote teams, can work from wherever. All the functionality, tools, and data are there, whether someone is working on the go, from home, or in the office. No one is tethered to a workspace to access the software. To use a UCaaS solution, you simply need to log in to the app on any device and have an internet connection. It’s that convenient.

Who Can Benefit from UCaaS?

The most obvious reasons to adopt a cloud-based, fully integrated business communications tool are flexibility and remote work. Remote teams can function just as they do in the office. This allows for greater resilience and quick adaption in the event of a crisis, like the world experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic.

With UCaaS, your business can also experience the other benefits of having a remote-flexible work environment:

  • Hiring is location-agnostic. You can find talent from anywhere instead of being limited to candidates that live near the office.
  • You can compete with other employers. Surveys conducted by FlexJobs revealed that most people prefer to have the freedom to work from wherever, which may be one of the reasons over 80 percent of company leaders plan on allowing employees to work remotely at least part-time post-pandemic.
  • Remote work is cost-effective. As teams can communicate and collaborate virtually, there’s less of a need to pay for business travel. You may also be able to cut down on office space if you transition some employees to full-time remote work.

What if your employees mostly work in the office?

UCaaS is a solution that benefits all types of businesses, even those with on-premises teams. With this type of technology, employees don’t have to deal with the limits traditional business communications pose.

  • When there’s a power outage or a natural disaster, operations don’t have to come to a grinding halt. Because UCaaS is a cloud service, your teams can still take calls, hold meetings, and collaborate from wherever with an internet connection.
  • Poor server performance isn’t going to slow down your business. Cloud service providers often offer near-flawless reliability. As a result, your teams won’t have to deal with slow service, unclear calls, or other disruptions that can happen with on-premises software.
  • Outdated hardware is never a business continuity problem. When a business phone breaks down, or a computer crashes, getting employees up and running again takes time and money. With UCaaS, because all the same contact info, stored files, and tools are safely stored on cloud servers, they can simply log in from a different device.

With UCaaS, no one ever has to miss a beat.

What to Look for in a UC Provider

To get the best experience possible for your teams, choose a provider that has everything your company needs. Here are factors worth considering when comparing providers:

  • Security – How secure are the physical data centers that host your software and data? You also want to check for iron-clad network security with enterprise-grade firewall systems, multiple intrusion protection systems to detect and deter malicious traffic, and distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) protection.
  • Data protection – Access to servers should be limited to authorized engineers. There should also be a full-time security team monitoring everything from perimeter defense and architecture testing to source code reviews.
  • Features – Does the platform have the phone system capabilities and communications tools your teams will need?
  • Uptime – Make sure your provider includes a high uptime guarantee in their service-level agreement.

How to Get Started

Getting started with Unified Communications as a Service is simple. There’s no extensive onboarding or lengthy setup process.

Intermedia Unite offers a fully-integrated solution that can work seamlessly with your PBX phone system. Features include call analytics, video conferencing, team chat, file backup, and online faxing. The platform also integrates with popular business apps, including Office 365, Slack, Salesforce, and Google Workspace.

Once you sign up, employees can download the mobile and desktop versions of the UC app and get started.

You can manage the service remotely. Actions such as adding a user, changing permissions, and setting up auto attendants can be done in minutes; no IT expertise required. And when you need help, we’re here for you, 24/7.

Learn more about Intermedia Unite and unlock your teams’ potential with UCaaS.

About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Sr Marketing Communications Manager at Intermedia