The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a massive surge in the use of cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions such as Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS). According to one new study, 97 percent of enterprise decision-makers say the sudden need to support work-from-home operations accelerated their cloud migration plans by an average of six years.
In addition to supporting remote operations, shifting communications to the cloud can deliver many other important business benefits, including enhanced resilience, scalability and reliability. However, cloud migrations can bring a variety of unanticipated challenges that increase risk, costs and complexity.
Here are just a few of the cloud migration issues that organizations may encounter:
- Network integration. The internal network remains the essential foundation for cloud services because it enables connections to critical on-premises applications and data. Network bottlenecks can disrupt connections to the cloud communications platform. You must ensure that your network is operating optimally and can handle the increase in traffic.
- Pricing models for connecting to cloud resources can vary dramatically. Some providers offer asymmetric pricing for data moving into the cloud versus data being transferred out of the cloud. Some providers tack on extra charges per network port, IP address or appliance. Pricing can also vary by geographic region.
- Software licensing costs can be significantly higher for cloud instances — in some cases, licensing in the cloud can be double that of an on-premises deployment. Per-user pricing models can also result in dramatic monthly changes in licensing costs.
- Hidden fees. A variety of additional taxes, fees and surcharges can add up to 40 percent to per-user cloud costs. These include sales taxes, federal regulatory fees, long distance access charges and a variety of administrative fees. There are also multiple state and federal surcharges designed to subsidize communication services for schools, libraries, healthcare facilities and low-income customers.
- Application requirements. Because applications in the cloud typically link with other cloud-based apps to deliver functionality, organizations must understand how the app handles data requests, how data is exchanged and how much data users can access. This typically involves profiling an app for several days or even weeks to collect information about its CPU and memory usage, storage throughput and latency, and network connection frequency.
- There’s a widespread misconception that cloud providers assume full responsibility for securing customer data. However, cloud providers operate on a shared responsibility model in which they typically assume responsibility for securing the cloud infrastructure and for maintaining uptime. Customers typically are responsible for protecting their data and applications.
- Deployment strategy. Cloud communications platforms are complex systems with lots of moving parts, but providers don’t always offer deployment services. If you don’t have the manpower or expertise for a self-service deployment, some cloud providers can help — for a price. Keep in mind, however, that providers aren’t always proficient in deployment, and they will rarely have a deep understanding of your organization’s network and application environment.
What the Right Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) Partner Can Offer You
Given all these considerations, organizations preparing for a migration should strongly consider working with a solution provider with specific experience in cloud communications platforms. IPC, for example, has a dedicated team of cloud communication specialists with a proven methodology for cloud migrations.
We can conduct a thorough readiness assessment to ensure your network environment and your cloud connections can handle the workload. Additionally, our engineers can help with network provisioning, bandwidth planning, transmission rates and QoS characteristics to ensure network bottlenecks don’t compromise your essential business communications. Of course, we can design a cloud-based solution that best meets your needs and develop an implementation plan that minimizes business disruption.
Pandemic-driven workforce changes have accelerated the move to the cloud for many organizations. Contact us today and let us show you how we can streamline the deployment process to help you avoid the hidden costs and unexpected challenges that often come with cloud migrations.