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May 16, 2017

UC Business Continuity: What's Needed to Survive in the Cloud

BLog Post Title Underline by Brian Gregory

Last month, Amarillo, Texas, experienced an outage with its 911 system. While you might be thinking, “how could this critical system be so vulnerable?” Well, it wasn’t even the first case of its kind.

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In 2016, 911 centers across the country were targets of telephony denial of service (TDoS) attacks, bringing down life-saving communications resources. While it’s true that Public Safety Answer Points often use legacy equipment and not more sophisticated cloud-based communications, it shines light on an important topic that spans the telecom community—UC business continuity.

As companies move to cloud-based communications where security and availability are less under their control in terms of guarding against cyber-attacks, weather, and technical glitches, service providers are challenged to layer in business continuity safeguards.

For organizations that rely on contact centers or who use phone systems for transactions, it becomes critical to the bottom line to insulate these from problems. IT leaders need to consider redundant alternatives or suffer the fate of yesterday’s communications infrastructures. 

Dangers Lurking in the Cloud 

Cloud communication comes with benefits galore like scalability, flexibility, and fast deployments. But buyers must be aware there are also cons with cloud-based communications. The two big considerations are: 

Security: Cloud providers, especially private, take steps to ensure the security of their product. But the reality is that new threats are developed each day and vulnerabilities exist despite best efforts. In multitenant environments (such as public cloud), video, voice, and data from multiple sources concurrently travel through the same channels, exposing company communications. Providers need to be able to address this issue in product offerings and SLAs in order to survive in the cloud communications competition.

Quality of Service:  Cloud environments are anything but static and that doesn’t exclude quality of service (QoS). Increased usage, multiple branch offices, and inability to locate and troubleshoot issues can all cause problems that impact service quality when using cloud communications. Providers must have a way to not only prioritize packets, but also possess an inside look at performance and quality. 

Cloud Survival Tools for UC Business Continuity

To avoid the risk of losing customers due to security vulnerabilities, poor QoS, and UC business continuity issues, there are tools that providers can employ to boost their cloud-based offerings:

Intelligent Edges: Intelligent edges include IP-to-IP session border controllers and multi-service gateways that offer VoIP and video aware NAT/firewall, protocol harmonization, call quality monitoring, survivability, QoS and more. With these capabilities, intelligent edges have multiple benefits when it comes to counteracting the pitfalls of cloud by: 

  1. Collecting QoS data so that providers can ensure they are adhering to outlined SLA metrics.
  2. Prioritizing packets so that jitter and packet loss does not occur as voice and video travel together.
  3. Offering a survivability feature that engages when a failure occurs.

Service Control Center: With a service control center that is connected to intelligent edges, providers can use the data collected as actionable insights. By pairing cloud communications with a single pane of glass control center, providers are able to: 

  1. Locate service events easily and correlate them to other network events.
  2. Troubleshoot faster and remotely because of constant monitoring, real-time alerts, and drill down features.
  3. Constantly monitor to keep watch for distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks or other nefarious activity that would point to a security event. 

Arm Your Cloud Communications Offering

Maybe some legacy equipment, like the type that is used at our 911 centers, can use the excuse of being outdated for quality and security issues, but providers’ modern cloud offerings cannot. To avoid losing customers to downtime events, it’s critical that providers take action with business continuity tools.

Using Edgewater Networks’ Network Edge Orchestration, providers can leverage the benefits of EdgeMarc Intelligent Edges and the EdgeView Service Control Center. Through our survivability feature, providers are able to keep customers up and running. Whether there is a WAN link failure or another failure that prevents connectivity to network-based call processing servers, Edgewater Networks’ products provide a failover option and redundant power.

To learn more, about the benefits of Network Edge Orchestration, watch our webinar: A New Frontier for UCC Delivery: Network Edge Orchestration.

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Topics: Security, Unified Communications

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