The cloud is one of the biggest buzzwords in telecommunications these days. And to some people, the cloud can seem like an entirely daunting thing...but is it really? In reality, the cloud is just a shared online space that makes it convenient for businesses and personal users to collaborate and share, without the expensive cost of having to host their own on-site equipment. However, some businesses are wary about shifting to the cloud due to their security concerns, and would rather be in charge of their own network. Questions like "Is the cloud safe?" "How do I know my data is being protected?" surface often from businesses, and most of them believe the myth that will be much safer by keeping all of their equipment and communications under their own control. But this is hardly the case. Here are a few things to take into consideration about the cloud before you decide to completely write off any sort of cloud communications:
Your cloud service provider has solid security
Security is a big concern for businesses. And why shouldn't it be? Nobody wants their data stolen or compromised. According to a study done by SAP, 41 percent of companies felt the cloud was inherently insecure...but this is far from the truth. VoIP providers are at the forefront of technology, and they strive to provide the most secure, most reliable network to their subscribers. In fact, cloud providers offer a more secure network than any PSTN. Plus, if security is important to you, you can implement authentication and authorization (if your provider doesn't do this already). Authorization means that only certain IP addresses can access the network, and authentication involves two VoIP devices confirming the other's credentials.
Ensure your cloud service provider offers encryption (or encrypt your data on your own)
Encryption is one of the best (and most popular) ways to keep your data safe. With encryption, your data in the cloud is transformed into ciphertext; and the only way to decipher/read this text is to have an access key or password that will allow you to decrypt it. Select cloud providers use local encryption and decryption of your files, while other services use either redacting or obfuscating data to keep costs low. You can also encrypt your own data through services like B1 Free Archiver and TrueCrypt software.
Cloud solutions offer secure mobility options
If you are a business that has employees on the go or working from remote offices, then a cloud solution makes perfect sense. Most VoIP providers offer mobile solutions in the form of mobile apps or softphones, which are perfect for employees that travel or work remotely. Third-party applications for your mobile device are also available. You can also secure your mobile device by using authentication software like iTel Pin Protector.
Note: Be cautious about BYOD
A majority of VoIP providers allow you to bring your own device (BYOD) in order to offset overall costs. This can certainly be helpful if you already have IP phones or if you simply want to use your own phones from home. Bringing your own phone and using an ATA adapter can actually be a risk to your business if you have equipment or software that is out of date. Plus, some BYOD devices can even have insecure applications on them. So be sure to take into account all of your employees who use BYOD, and be sure to add them into your security measures.
In the end, you should not be intimidated by cloud communications. Choosing to use VoIP technology in conjunction with the cloud makes for a very helpful, all-inclusive phone system that can benefit your business in more ways than one. And given that VoIP has been around for a number of years, IP security has also kept up as telecommunications have progressed. Tools like session border controllers (SBCs), intrusion detection systems, and other security measures are all aimed at addressing your security and keeping your calls safe.