Cloud Mistakes: 3 Big Missteps To Avoid When Going Cloud

 

This post originally appeared on GetVOIP.com. Access the original article by clicking here.

It’s very easy to see the Cloud as the answer to all your business IT problems. After all, when it comes to business VoIP phone service and other hosted services, all of the heavy lifting is handled by the provider. As end users, your business gains a nice web portal to customize everything, loads of features, and even cost savings. But, at the end of the day, the Cloud might not be the be-all and end-all for every single situation.

Time and again, businesses pigeonhole themselves into many cloud pitfalls, resulting in more issues than solutions. Whether your business put all their eggs in one basket or made a hasty transition without properly planning, there are countless cloud mistakes that anyone can fall into. We wanted to help highlight some of those common mistakes, and how your business can work to avoid them. As an introduction, let’s focus on some of the more basic cloud mistakes often made during a business’ introduction to cloud solutions.

1. Assuming All Cloud Platforms Are The Same

Now, one of the most daunting aspects of a cloud transition boils down to the sheer volume of choices that exist. Focusing on simply business VoIP — a business can stay with an on-premises solution, adopt an exclusively cloud-hosted solution, or even build out a hybrid of the two. For each organizational option, there are even more options to choose from when it comes down to the provider. Even then, different providers will offer different levels of service with different limitations.

It would be easy to simply assume all cloud providers are the same — after all, they do generally offer the same features and types of service. But, as you can tell in some of our provider overviews and head-to-head comparisons, different providers offer vastly different platforms. This even extends beyond the simple feature lists or service limitations you’ll find at different price points. Providers will also differ on some very crucial aspects:

  • Service availability — For VoIP specifically, this is crucial. Different providers can offer phone numbers from different locations, or extend service internationally. Others simply do not always have the same national or international reach. Local providers might be great for a local business, but not so great for out-of-state sales.

  • Features and Limitations — Of course, one of the biggest differences is the pricing plans and tiers available. These tiers and plans generally incur different limitations. While one provider might allow unlimited toll-free minutes on their cheapest plan, others might require a business to upgrade their plan first. Simply assuming all providers offer the same service at the same price is an easy way to run into disappointment. For example, if you look at our list of Nextiva alternatives, you’ll notice that the different providers generally offer a different focus.

  • Network Infrastructure — Similar to that of service availability is the network infrastructure on which a provider builds their platform. Generally most providers will at least support more than one data center for redundancy, but different locations can provide different levels of services. If your business is on the east coast, and all the provider’s servers are on the west coast, quality might suffer a bit.

  • Customer Service — To some, the most crucial aspect is customer service. Some cloud providers are specifically known for their customer service and strive to offer the best service possible. US-based support reps are becoming more common, but still aren’t the standard. If your solution is hosted only, customer service is absolutely key. Things shouldn’t go wrong, but when they do, your business needs support they can rely on.

  • The Platform Itself — Generally cloud-based solutions are built off of web browser applications. From here users can interact with the platform, utilize features, or customize and configure setups. The platform itself is what matters at the end of the day — if an app is confusing or difficult to use, or includes unnecessary features and a bloated interface, it will simply drain productivity and lead to more issues. Why pay for something no one will even use?

Whether you compare features, integrations supported, pricing plans, data center locations, global availability, or just plain old customer service, these platforms simply are not the same. In fact, this concept is why we put together our guide to a smooth Unified Communications cloud transition. Understanding what your business needs will help drive your decision towards a platform that works best for your business — not a disappointing and expensive mess of unused features.

2. Inadequate Testing

So let’s say your business already understands the difference between providers and has narrows their choices down to two or three different platforms. Recognizing the differences in these providers helps point out overt differences. For example, if one provider limits video conferencing to three users, but your business requires five users, you can cross that provider off your list. But the more nuanced differences aren’t obvious in surface comparisons..

It’s very easy to see the Cloud as the answer to all your business IT problems. After all, when it comes to business VoIP phone service and other hosted services, all of the heavy lifting is handled by the provider. As end users, your business gains a nice web portal to customize everything, loads of features, and even cost savings. But, at the end of the day, the Cloud might not be the be-all and end-all for every single situation.

Time and again, businesses pigeonhole themselves into many cloud pitfalls, resulting in more issues than solutions. Whether your business put all their eggs in one basket or made a hasty transition without properly planning, there are countless cloud mistakes that anyone can fall into. We wanted to help highlight some of those common mistakes, and how your business can work to avoid them. As an introduction, let’s focus on some of the more basic cloud mistakes often made during a business’ introduction to cloud solutions.

 
Josh Stewart