IT solution providers today have a few great options when it comes to hosting and delivering their UCC solutions. While on-premises, or on-prem, used to be the standard (and remains a viable choice), cloud alternatives have improved by leaps and bounds, creating a compelling choice for most applications. Riding the line between the two is a hybrid approach where some UCC technology resides in the cloud while others remain on-premises. Let’s take a closer look at the merits and challenges associated with each.
As you well know, on-premises UCC solutions were the standard for years by default and have been refined by decades of improvements. One of the major benefits of this model includes the ability to set the highest security standards possible. With the solution on the customers’ networks, the sky is the limit as far as firewalls, encryption, and other security measures. Additionally, you and your customers have complete control over data storage and backups.
However, these benefits can also be viewed as challenges. It can be costly and time-consuming to keep up with server updates, patches, monitoring drive space, ensuring backups take place and maintaining the security of the system.
Cloud-based UCC solutions have become more affordable, effective and reliable thanks to improvements in the technologies and codecs. The common benefits we hear about cloud-based UCC is the ease of deployment (you can get customers up and running with a few clicks), lowered costs by moving the expense to the monthly opex column, and ease of administration since this work is offloaded to the cloud provider.
As far as downsides are concerned, if you have customers that don’t trust their information residing in the cloud, this isn’t the right deployment method. Additionally, if your customers are in healthcare, finance or another heavily regulated industry, make sure your cloud UCC provider has the necessary provisions to comply with the regulations. Often, you’ll find that the requirements for data retention are so high that a cloud-only option isn’t feasible. If that’s the case, you’ll have to use on-premises or a hybrid approach.
In many cases, a hybrid approach to UCC is best. This is especially true if your on-premises customers are in long-term contracts that prevent a complete cloud migration. Rather than wait for the contracts to expire, it’s possible to move some systems or departments to the cloud while others remain on-premises.
A hybrid approach can also be beneficial if your on-premises customers are more cautious about a wholesale move to the cloud. Instead, the shift can be gradual, allowing for thorough testing and risk reduction.
Finally, as mentioned above, in the case of highly regulated industries, it might be necessary to keep some UCC systems on-premises to comply with certain requirements.
Since each customer has their own unique needs and circumstances, we advise you to be flexible in how you offer and roll out your UCC solutions. For more information on these options, contact Curt Vurpillat or Chad Simon.