Unified Communications (UC) solutions are moving into the cloud, at pace, and this year, with particular focus on collaboration as a UC adjunct, will function as the tipping point for this migration. After all, collaboration software is here to stay. The user experience is improving all the time, usage is expanding across every enterprise department, and applications are starting to go beyond screen sharing and video calling. This rise will bring some market consolidation, as vendors seek out the best full stack solution, and IT departments look to avoid the complexity of integrating point solutions by taking single stacks. But cloud-based UC now delivers the kind of sophisticated functionality that has, until now, been the preserve of premises-based equipment. This includes enhanced mobility, conferencing, and API capabilities. It is also cost-efficient from the point of view of capital and operational expenditure, as it delivers a better scaling model. This allows new communications features to be deployed to users across multiple locations more rapidly, and builds-in lifecycle management of the service. However, moving from an on-premise UC solution to a cloud-hosted platform is not straightforward. There are four major stumbling blocks along the way that can seriously disrupt enterprise communications. The new Redcentric Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) solution clears the way, in each case. Security The very nature of cloud computing architecture, where users can share computing resources and yet their data can remain isolated and invisible, means voice, data, and video traffic is inherently exposed, passing back and forth over the same channels. Redcentric HCS uses a multi-instance model, which means a high level of physical security is already built in to protect customer data. It also utilises Session Border Controllers (SBC) for the connection in and out of the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) via Redcentric’s carrier grade telephony exchange. Performance With the move to cloud-based UC, the local network itself behaves differently – on-site data centres and wide area networks (WAN) are relieved of email and video traffic, as everything shifts to the cloud. This means application performance is, suddenly, out of your hands, as a managed service provider takes control. Assurance is needed. Redcentric applies granular, real-time control of its UC cloud applications, taking into consideration load balancing, encryption, routing, and policy enforcement. This ensures customers enterprise applications are working at their optimal level, at all times. Integration Specialist knowledge is required to re-engineer certain UC applications and corporate directories to the new cloud-based environment. This is a complex, time-consuming exercise, which must consider all the devices and platforms employed with an enterprise. Redcentric has a clearly-defined and consultative approach to the integration of applications and systems, leading to timely, controlled outcomes, whatever devices are deployed within the network. Training As with any new technology, the introduction of new services and applications can be very daunting for some users who have to use these in their day to day duties. Redcentric understands very well the ‘softer side’ of technology transition and offers full training on the operation, features and functionality of Redcentric HCS, as well as ongoing support for end users and technical staff using desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices.