U.S. history has pivotal moments that mark our calendars with big events. We will most certainly look back on COVID-19 as one of those events. This global pandemic is still making headlines more than a year later, and it has disrupted life as we know it in this country.
Technology became the go-to solution for businesses struggling to adapt to the realities of social distancing during COVID. Unified communications providers helped companies create new IT infrastructures that delivered solutions globally across a dispersed workforce. What have we learned from the realities that the pandemic forced upon us? We looked to one of our critical partners, Rackspace Technology, to answer this question.
Creating a Zero-Trust Environment
Rackspace Technology is an end-to-end multi-cloud tech services company. They design, build and operate cloud environments for their customers across all cloud IT infrastructures. They, like VoIP First, were called upon to help solve a huge problem caused by the need to work from home. The problem was, how could organizations create a secure end-to-end IT infrastructure in a dispersed environment?
Todd Catlett, a regional partner in the southeast United States for Rackspace Technology, describes this new IT environment, “You’ve got workers trying to be productive from home and what it’s done is to introduce a lot of security problems for companies. You’ve got all these endpoints that are exposed and you’ve got people working from home where you’ve got children doing classwork.” The question for IT teams, who had to act quickly during the pandemic, became, “How can we secure these endpoints to recreated our zero-trust environment with multi-factor authentication?”
To add to the pressure, some very publicized hacker events, like the SolarWinds cyber-attack, threatened the underlying code of some of the biggest IT infrastructures in the world, from government agencies to Microsoft. 2020 brought us a “significant rise in several cybersecurity threats.” Companies tasked with delivering solutions globally were battling several new threats, including:
- Perimeter expansion of IT infrastructures to include employees’ homes.
- Third-party vendor attacks (like SolarWinds) increasing in frequency.
- A 300% increase in ransomware attacks by the second quarter of 2020.
- More sophisticated email phishing scams targeting at-home workers.
Todd Catlett confirms, “Companies have to reevaluate their IT infrastructure and how they support their remote workers and it brings on a lot of challenges.”
Unified Communications and COVID
During this time of IT infrastructure upheaval, unified communications platforms became a trusted resource for recreating our new footprints. COVID forced every organization to increase their reliance on the cloud, and UCaaS providers offered the best solution for a secure IT infrastructure.
UCaaS offers secure solutions for every business environment. Whether it’s a VoIP solution for a small business, a cloud-based PBX for a mid-level company, or providing the backbone for a true end-to-end multi-cloud tech services company, UCaaS providers offer the architecture and the support you need when you need it the most. That’s because these providers typically create redundant architectures that allow for better security and reliability for their clients.
Colin Johnston, executive vice president of strategic channels at Star2Star, a Sangoma company, points out that the IT infrastructures of true UCaaS providers are, “almost like a living, breathing network. If there are any issues at any one of these different data centers, our solution will automatically failover all of the calls and all of the traffic to a different data center.” This level of security and business continuity allowed unified communications providers to step up to the requirements of delivering global solutions during the COVID crisis. It’s the right tool for the pandemic, but the application of UCaaS solutions will extend long past COVID.
One of the key benefits of a true UCaaS provider is that these companies offer VoIP solutions that follow your workforce no matter where they are. Colin Johnston describes it as, “If someone calls me, it rings my desk phone. If I have a desk phone here in my office at home, it rings. It also will ring my iPhone wherever I happen to be. It really doesn’t matter anymore where you’re located. It’s really the new normal. We have to be able to communicate this way and have the right tools to be able to do it.”
What’s Next for Unified Communications?
UCaaS is the IT infrastructure you need to adapt to a post-COVID world. The genie is not going back in the bottle. In fact, the latest surveys show one in three employees will consider quitting their jobs if work-from-home ends. Establishing a unified communications IT infrastructure offers the security, flexibility, and scalability that will keep your employees satisfied without keeping your tech teams up at night.
So, what’s next for UCaaS? As companies begin to return to their offices, most will likely adapt hybrid remote work models. We know that work-from-home typically increases employee productivity and we also learned during COVID that our employees are happier without a stressful commute to an office. UCaaS is really the only model available that can create the kind of unified communications IT infrastructure that these environments demand. Frost & Sullivan recently released a UCaaS white paper that illustrated the demand for unified communications across all business sizes and industries. The report found:
- VoIP solutions for small businesses in a UCasS environment allow for greater flexibility and fixed, sustainable cost structures.
- Mid-market organizations use unified communications to tailor a variety of IT offerings, including voice, email, video conferencing, texting, and chat to fit their evolving end-user requirements.
- End-to-end multi-cloud enterprise organizations with complex legacy organizations use UCaaS to deliver global solutions to their employees and their clients.
While we cannot predict the future volatility and threats caused by the global pandemic, we know that UCaaS has evolved to become the go-to solution for business. These infrastructures have created a flexible alternative to legacy architectures housed within the four walls of a business.
The biggest lesson we learned from our pandemic reality is that UCaaS is the right technology at the right time for U.S. businesses. If you’re ready to make use of these secure, robust, integrated technologies, it’s time to talk to VoIP First Media. We do VoIP the right way. Call on us.