16 Mar 2017 – For EOH Technology Solutions by Tamsin Oxford.
There’s a reason why cloud sits in on almost every conversation about technology and transformation. It’s simple, it’s ubiquitous, it cuts back on CAPEX and it ticks the boxes of productivity, efficiency and capability. However, it also comes with the security disclaimer. Organisations drenched in the cold sweat of cyber crime news and hacking horror are concerned that the cloud isn’t up to the task of keeping things tight.
“Cloud solutions are as simple in their security as they are in their deliverables,” reassures Nadim Ally, Cisco Systems Engineer, EOH Technology Solutions. “It’s a simple thing because Cisco and other service providers have spent a lot of time developing cloud solutions and the issues around security have most definitely not been an afterthought. They have been there from the start to ensure that their systems can deal with any eventuality.”
When it comes to unified communications (UC), however, cloud capability and security walk hand-in-hand with efficiency and ease of use. Just a look back at the communication systems of old should serve as stark and sad reminder of how complex things used to be, and how different things have become. From the need to have a devoted on-site PABX and all the security required to prevent people from using voice channels for themselves, to UC where security sits on session initiation protocol (SIP) and prevents anyone from entering the system. It’s a huge change, and one that takes a big load off corporate communication shoulders.
“There’s no need to patch the system or worry about the updates and upgrades as the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) take care of that for you,” explains Ally. “They ensure that the system is always prepared and protected, leaving the business with the space it needs to focus on, well, its business.”
There are several perceived threats that surround UC installations in the cloud, including malware. For any organisation looking to invest in this type of solution this is an important consideration. Systems must be up to date, providers must know what new attacks are incoming and processes must be in place to prevent downtime. No business can afford communications collapse if systems fail thanks to an attack.
“One of the biggest advantages of the cloud solution we focus on is that even if the system is hacked, the business will still have its service,” says Ally. “Security teams are allocated to deal with attacks as they happen, and patches are made available very quickly.”
OEMs have focused on building an array of services and support solutions for customers to allay security concerns. They have launched next generation firewalls with impressive firepower and can be managed remotely.
“Cloud solutions have been around for a while, but their increased visibility and popularity have seen shifts in adoption and awareness,” concludes Ally. “It is far cheaper and more practical to invest in a UC solution that sits in the cloud as the business can pay as it goes, and as it grows. It moves responsibility from the customer to the service provider, which is exactly what they need. The same applies to the security – we have it sorted on our side so the customer doesn’t have to worry about it on theirs.”