Securing UCC Deployments for the SME
Guest Blog by Todd Carothers, Chief Revenue Officer, CounterPath
Having firmly come into its own, the Cloud is a serious contender to on-premises solutions for SMEs deploying a unified communications and collaboration (UCC) suite. Both are viable options, but with several defining factors, nuances and ultimate outcomes, organisations often have a hard time deciding which is the best choice when it comes to security.
Deciding between a Cloud-hosted UCC deployment, complete with third-party outsourcing, or a traditional on-premises solution that can be run to their in-house security specifications is dividing IT teams. Do they maintain the Fort Knox management they’re used to with on-premises, or do they give it up to the Cloud in the name of ease?
If they are willing to relinquish control of their UCC security, organisations shifting to the Cloud will be rewarded with the third party staff, infrastructure and know-how to maintain their UCC solution, therefore freeing up their IT team’s invaluable time. In today’s landscape, with many IT teams being understaffed and overstretched, it’s easy to see why UCC Cloud deployments are attractive to SMEs.
Not only will their Cloud provider lessen the load of their IT team, they will also be on hand with expertise and tried and tested solutions to support any mitigation and recovery problems that may arise. It’s a Cloud provider’s duty to ensure its staff are up to date on the latest security developments so customers don’t have to, with many constantly striving for the latest security and compliance accreditations.
And that’s before you take the Cloud’s CapEX savings and scalability options into account. With a Cloud deployment, organisations can immediately scale and descale their UCC solutions, without any additional equipment costs. Considering that most Cloud providers are hosting infrastructure at a much larger scale than that of a single customer, most Cloud deployments also come with the added benefit of automated security updates, recovery and more.
The Cloud makes a convincing case for securing UCC deployments, though it might be too big a risk for organisations that want to keep tight control of their security. An on-premises solution, on the other hand, allows SMEs’ peace of mind knowing that they are in charge of their most precious assets.
By keeping their data on-premises organisations prevent it being segregated with that of other parties, ensuring they don’t face unforeseen permission errors that would expose their data to other tenants on a Cloud-hosted system.
For organisations with highly sensitive data – such as the financial, government and healthcare sectors – security is understandably the chief concern. Considering the damage a security breach could bring, security-conscious SMEs may favour an on-premises deployment for their UCC solution. The telecom market is a prime example here, as smaller carriers that specialise in reselling routes from other carriers often find themselves the target of cybercriminals looking to access VoIP and UCC systems in order to create fake traffic. If successful, criminals can then resell the routes to any party willing to pay.
When it comes to deciding on a Cloud-hosted or on-premises UCC deployment, both routes make a convincing case for security. In order to choose the solution that best suits their needs, strategy and resources, SMEs would be wise to consult an experienced and trusted partner that not only understands their current requirements, but can also advise on which deployment will serve them best in the future.