Collaboration in the Cloud: The Continuity Advantage

March 13, 2014
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ImageReal-time communication doesn’t always seem quite fast enough, not in an economy where the most successful businesses have to not only meet current demand but anticipate future customer needs. Accessibility to the right collaboration tools and applications, no matter where the users are physically located is a critical part of the equation to harness company intelligence to predict future demand. 

ImageReal-time communication doesn’t always seem quite fast enough, not in an economy where the most successful businesses have to not only meet current demand but anticipate future customer needs. Accessibility to the right collaboration tools and applications, no matter where the users are physically located is a critical part of the equation to harness company intelligence to predict future demand. 

This puts a fine point on the importance of keeping the lines of communication open between employees, partners, and customers, at all times. To build this kind of accessible environment, companies are investing a larger percentage of the billions they spend on collaboration on cloud-based solutions that make it possible for anyone to tap into corporate messaging, voice, video, web and audio conferencing, as well as presence and other important features and applications from virtually anywhere. These solutions allow users to connect to one another through cloud-based collaboration services via a browser, tapping into applications hosted in a secure offsite cloud facility. 

Not only do on-demand cloud collaboration services from industry leaders such as Mitel help lay the foundation for more open communications between employees, partners and sometimes customers, these cloud-based services also come with assurances around availability and reliability. These stability guarantees are critically important because while collaboration is never classified as a mission critical application, there is little tolerance for downtime. 

Working the Cloud Angle

Thoughaccessibility is one of the cloud’s bigger selling points as a collaboration medium, the model also has an edge over more traditional on-premises solutions as a foundation for business continuity which only adds to its appeal. The best and typically most successful providers are those who architect their cloud-based collaboration services for maximum resilience against both natural and manmade threats.  

Cloud-based collaboration services come with redundancy built into all levels of service delivery from network connectivity and power to all the hardware within the cloud facility and the application itself.  Providers rely on redundant facilities so if one facility suffers a site-wide outage, delivery can be handed off to another facility to minimize downtime. 

The most stable cloud-based collaboration solutions employ multiple layers of physical and logical security to protect data integrity. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure that not only do users have consistent and reliable access to the tools they need to do business but the information they exchange is secure.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Naturally, every business may not be ready to make the leap to cloud-based collaboration from an on-premises solution. One element that may advance the drive to cloud collaboration more than most is assessing an internal IT department’s ability to ensure optimal availability. Businesses need to weigh the availability and restoration guarantees a provider promises against their own internal capabilities. Those that cannot deliver the same availability and consistency using internal resources need to take a hard look at all costs associated with downtime.  These include everything from lost productivity which can run from hundreds to thousands of dollar per employee per hour to restoration costs and lost opportunity costs. 

Factoring in all of these costs may accelerate change more than any other. After all, no business today can risk falling behind on the communication curve.