For the longest time, I did not think of Gmail as a cloud service. I saw it as a convenient web-based application, delivered at an affordable price – free! Cloud, of the Telco variety, was what I was used to. The one, depicted to connect WAN locations during customer presentations. Terms like Email as a Service (EaaS) or “cloud” had not been popularized yet. Gmail has since become the perfect example of “Software as a Service,” one of the three main building blocks of “as a Service” offerings available in the cloud market today. Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) being the other two.
Most applications currently consumed by companies through premise-based deployments are now available from the cloud. However, the appetite to avail of a cloud services vary from business to business and is often dependent on the type of service in question. While an overlay SaaS service may be perceived as a logical step forward, an IaaS service may be deemed disruptive to the existing environment. Irrespective of where you are in the evolution to the cloud, the five services shown below are available for businesses and are worth your attention.
Web Conferencing as a Service: If you are still using premise-based systems for voice and web conferencing, a SaaS services such as Webex may be a good alternative to consider. As a service that can ride on top of existing telephony and collaboration applications, I would treat this as a no-brainer for your journey to the cloud.
Video Conferencing as a Service: Often referred to as Telepresence as a Service (TPaaS), video conferencing services from the cloud are delivered as a combination of IaaS (video bridges and firewall traversal hardware etc.) and SaaS (clients, configurations etc.) As video users move away from immersive endpoints in the boardroom to pervasive video on their desktops and handheld devices, TPaaS would be an option worth exploring.
Managed Wireless as a Service: The opportunity in this space is probably the least known, and explored. A cloud-based wireless network controller with an added layer of management and analytics may be the right solution for businesses like retail, and other Access Point-heavy environments. As your business deals with the spike in wireless traffic, BYOD and guest access requirements, a managed Wi-Fi service that offers centralized control of dispersed wireless endpoints will begin to look attractive.
Security as a Service: The proliferation of mobile devices – corporate and personal – combined with applications delivered over the web, bring a new level of complexity to business environments today. Access management, URL filtering, and malware defence are simple examples of security services available through cloud-based security services. Whether you deploy it as a standalone set of applications or as an overlay to your existing security infrastructure, will depend on your business and the level of control that you desire.
Collaboration as a Service: Unified Collaboration as a Service (UCaaS) can include all of the above services or be deployed purely as a next generation voice application that runs over the data network. Typical UCaaS solutions bundle key components like UC applications, server platform, security architecture, SIP trunks, and a Management system into a price-per-seat utility model. So if your voice system is nearing its end of life, it may be a good idea to explore a SaaS option like UCaaS.
So, how comfortable would you feel about transitioning to these cloud services?
Author: Dax Nair – Director, Marketing at Allstream Inc.
Dax is the Director of Marketing for Value Added Services at Allstream Inc., a leading Telecommunications Service Provider in Canada. Based in Toronto, Dax holds the responsibility for developing and launching value added products and services that are adjacent to the company’s core data and voice network offerings. Dax’s portfolio of products and services include voice and data convergence, cloud-based collaboration, visual communications, network security and contact centre. Dax’s expertise spans Product Management, Product Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Branding, Business Development, and Vendor Management. Very recently, Dax and team worked closely with Cisco to launch the first Service Provider-Hosted Unified Collaboration as a Service (UCaaS) in the Canadian market.
Dax is an avid racquet sports enthusiast, music lover, blogger and social media observer. Dax’s contact info is shown below: