The unified communications movement brought collaboration tools ranging from telephone services to data sharing under one roof, and has had a profound impact on information technology frameworks as a result. Because most companies are now beginning to use cloud-based UC services, the management of the various solutions and assets has become more centralized, seamless and efficient, but this does not mean that a major effort to reach optimal performance is no longer necessary.
Rather, small business owners must ensure that they are keeping up with the advancements taking place in the UC and IT sectors, as well as how one is impacting the other and what increased integration will spell for collaborative strategies. One of the best places to begin is security, which has evolved autonomously within the UC and IT arenas, but is becoming even more complex when trying to link the two together for greater gains in spend management and communication power.
UC has made traditional security a little less relevant for many firms, and new threats are emerging that target Voice over Internet Protocol, video conferencing and instant messaging services, which can be problematic for any company that handles sensitive communications. With the right plan in place and plenty of support from managed service providers, UC and IT can be properly secured, helping to mitigate threats to small business continuity.
The new age Computer Business Review recently interviewed Sudhakar Ramakrishna of Pulse Security regarding the ways in which the new era of UC, specifically aspects related to mobility, have essentially antiquated traditional virtual private network systems. According to the news provider, the data centers have been impacted significantly by the advent of enterprise mobility, as access management and information control have had to evolve quickly to keep systems safe.
However, companies might want to take a bit of a different approach to these matters than they would have a few years back, trying to balance accessibility with control rather than leaning too far in one direction or the other.
"Security is less about enforcing control and more about providing access," Ramakrishna told the source. "The image of a firewall is a brick wall, which means that I'm going to stop you from coming into my enterprise. Our view of security is that you should provide access."
Continuing on, Ramakrishna pointed out that user experiences must be at the center of these strategies.
"The characteristics of a next generation secure access solution are that it has to be inherently mobile, it has to be inherently cloud-enabled, it needs to support hybrid environments and deliver great experiences," he added to Computer Business Review. "We want simplicity. But at the same time, how do you drive great user experiences without compromising security?"
At the end f the day, firms that are not confident in their own ability to manage security and support for UC, notably mobility, and the backend IT it runs on, will need to make changes now.
Moving beyond the stress Small businesses will tend to face the most challenging obstacles when trying to modernize their IT and UC frameworks simply because they do not have the same level of expertise and resources their larger counterparts enjoy. Managed service providers can be powerful support structures for these firms regardless of what stages of UC strategies they have reached, and should always be considered when working to get the projects off the ground quickly.
With the right MSP, UC stress can be alleviated significantly, ensuring that the assets in place come back with high returns and experience minimal disruptions over time.