Unified communication is simply an amalgamation of several business communication channels and collaborative applications, which are, as the name suggests, are unified within a single interface and delivered over the Internet. In the last couple of years, more and more businesses have decided to phase out their on-premises communication infrastructure and operations and opted to go with a Cloud hosted UC solutions and services from third-party UC service providers.
Although, migrating to a cloud hosted UC infrastructure has numerous benefits and obvious cost savings, but it is, however, also associated with higher network operation costs. This fact alone is what makes many businesses become skeptical about shifting to a cloud hosted UC strategy. In this article, we intend to break down the various network operation costs involved with Cloud hosted UC.
Taking into account this skepticism to move towards a Cloud hosted Unified Communication system, the following pointers shall help businesses to discern the scale and scope of network operation costs when it comes to Cloud hosted Unified communication systems.
Bandwidth is always a crucial element for any modern business, even more so in cases where businesses subscribe to Cloud hosted services like Cloud hosted UC solutions, etc. With Cloud Hosted UC, bandwidth costs are obviously going to rise as all its features and services are delivered through the internet. Although this might sound as an adverse factor for businesses, however, in reality, the rise in bandwidth costs is somewhat balanced out by reduced capital expenditures in terms of physical hardware and infrastructure to house that hardware.
With Cloud hosted UC or any other Cloud hosted service for that matter, a major chunk of business data is managed offsite. This makes data security a crucial and necessary deliverable for Cloud hosted service providers. Many service providers offer free-of-cost data security measures which provide basic data security measures to their clients. However, there are a few service providers who also provide value added data security measures which cover a wider range of data security instances and threats. Opting for greater and better data security measures which are compliant with industry standards, such as PCI or HIPAA obviously incurs more cost. But for businesses which take the security and confidentiality of their operational and financial data seriously, the cost for greater data security is a no brainer.
DEVELOPING NEW APPLICATIONS
As a business deploys a cloud hosted UC model, it gains the ability to swiftly scale up or down, according to their existing market and operational demands. This, however, creates a need to develop new applications. As employees become attuned to using Cloud hosted UC applications, integrating new applications and features to the core platform in inevitable to promote efficiency and collaboration among employees. This instance however also drives up network operation costs while enabling businesses to increase their internal operational efficiency.
When any business deploys a Cloud hosted unified communication system, they expect uninterrupted and continuous uptime of the entire system. Service providers go to great lengths to ensure maximum uptime is delivered. But it does, however, incur a greater cost to maintain a guaranteed 99.9% system uptime. For businesses which require mission-critical uptime, the added cost while being absolutely necessary is also well worth the business advantages of better collaboration and connectivity.
NETWORK ENDPOINTS & HARDWARE
Any Cloud hosted UC system while being completely existing in the cloud, still need hardware in the backend, to properly operate. A lot of necessary elements such as routers, gateways, session border controllers, etc. at both the source and the endpoints. Scaling your business up or down is easy with any Cloud hosted communication service, but there is, however, a minimal hardware cost involved, which is needed to procure new hardware while scaling up. But the cost, in this case, is nothing compared to installing a whole new on-premises system for each business end-point.
There is another cost involved regarding the number of extensions or simpler terms, the total number of users, the complexity and scope of the entire system also play a crucial role when it comes to network operation costs of unified communication solutions. Both these factors are also related with the data security factors, which again drives up the TCO of hosted UC communication solutions, but on the other hand, delivers better IT and asset management, across the entire organization.