Startel Corp. - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
In our sixth and final week of our debunking the cloud myths series, we take on the misconception that the Cloud is too significant to outsource control. While outsourcing will result in less control from a technical standpoint, the business ease and financial savings will continue to increase the usage of these services.
MYTH: Too Significant to Outsource Control.
FACT: When considering implementing a cloud-based solution, most people tend to think they will have to give up control of their organization to their cloud vendor. From a technical standpoint this is in part true, as your cloud provider becomes responsible for implementing, maintaining and updating your hardware and software. However, it is the client who continues to manage his/her organization and its day-to-day operations, including routing calls, setting up accounts, assigning privileges, etc., using their administrator login. When selecting a cloud provider, it is important that you choose one who you view as a partner and trust to manage your IT resources. Giving up some control may be a good thing, especially when you have a trusted partner to focus on the technology pain points of your business. And in turn, you will be able to concentrate on other areas of your business that add value.
Thank you to those that kept up with our blog series, Dispelling 6 Misconceptions about the Cloud, over the past 6 weeks. We hope you enjoyed reading it, and learned a thing or two along the way. Designed for small and mid-size organizations, Startel’s Cloud Contact Center Solution enables customers to access our entire suite of products and applications and communicate with their customers any time, on any device, anywhere in the world, via an Internet connection. To learn more about Startel’s Cloud Contact Center solution, visit our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publish Date: November 14, 2014 5:00 AM
There has been a lot of hype around the word ‘cloud’. In fact, wherever you go, and no matter what type of technology you stumble across, there now seems to be a ‘cloud’ version of it. In the fifth week of our 6-week series addressing the myths/misconceptions related to the cloud, we examine the myth that the Cloud is a Fad. According to industry analysts and experts, forget fad. The Cloud is real, it’s here and it’s growing!
MYTH: Cloud is a Fad.
FACT: Cloud is here to stay, and according to Gartner it is accelerating quickly and globally. Based on their 2011-2017 forecast, Gartner expects adoption to hit $250 billion by 20172. And the McKinsey consulting firm forecast that cloud technology could have an economic impact of $1.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion by year 20252.
While its terminology has changed in recent years, and the ways in which the technology is being used have evolved, the concept of cloud computing dates back to the early 1960’s, when computer scientist John McCarthy discussed it at MITs centennial celebration3. Once the Internet matured, the vision of cloud computing became a reality when Salesfore.com began delivering applications through a website in the late 90s. Since then, employing private clouds has become a proven and established service, and if the experts prove to be correct, it is only a matter of time before most organizations have “gone to the cloud.”
Bottom line: The movement to cloud-based platforms is inevitable. Even cloud deniers need to come around to the fact that the way we’ve been doing computing in the last 30 years is changing. Core applications, computing, storage, and other IT services will continue to move to public clouds. Although the migration will be slow, it will be steady.
Next week we wrap up our six-week series with our final myth: ‘The Cloud is Too Significant to Outsource Control.’ In the meantime, we look forward to hearing from you! Please post your comments.
Publish Date: November 7, 2014 5:00 AM
During the fourth week of our 6-week series addressing the myths, or misconceptions, related to the cloud, we take on Myth 4: Cloud Cannot Scale for Large Organizations. Despite the current size of your organization – whether its large or small – this information is useful to know, especially as your organization grows in the years to come.
MYTH: Cloud Cannot Scale for Large Organizations
FACT: An advantage of using the cloud is that it adjusts to accommodate your business. If you need to add more staff or resources to support your business growth or to meet seasonal demands, you can easily scale up/down without making expensive changes to your existing IT systems. As a result of the scalability advantage, cloud users have the ability to pay for only what they use, minimizing costs and risk. No matter how large or small your organization is the ability to alter your plans due to fluctuation in business size and needs is an enticing benefit of the cloud.
Bottom Line: It doesn’t matter if your company has 10 employees or 10,000 employees – the cloud is built to scale quickly and efficiently, while ensuring that you only pay for what you use.
Next week we will examine the notion that the ‘Cloud is a Fad’, which based on industry reports and analyst findings could not be further from the truth. In the meantime, please post your comments. Enjoy your Halloween! We look forward to hearing from you!
Publish Date: October 31, 2014 5:00 AM
This week, the third week of our 6-week series addressing the myths/misconceptions associated with the cloud, we take on Myth 3, which revolves around the reliability of the cloud.
MYTH: Cloud is Not Reliable
FACT: While notable outages have been well documented in recent years, businesses that are using the cloud prove to be more reliable than other types of infrastructure platforms. Defined processes, advanced 24/7 monitoring capabilities and expert system administration all help contribute to uptime guarantee. In fact, most cloud providers offer a 98-99% SLA and have invested heavily in infrastructure and support to ensure high levels of performance and availability. With cloud solutions, data can be backed up to multiple locations and services, providing an added level of protection.
Studies by Microsoft and others have confirmed that when businesses shift to the cloud, they see improved service availability1. A 2013 study released by Microsoft Corporation found that SMBs that use cloud services have experienced the following advantages1:
- 94% have gained security benefits they did not have with their former on-premise technology, such as up-to-date systems, up-to-date antivirus and spam email management
- 62% have seen increased levels of privacy protection
- 75% have experienced improved service availability
The real silver lining in cloud computing is that it enables a higher level of reliability at a fraction of the cost.
Next week we will look into the myth that the ‘Cloud Cannot Scale for Large Organizations.’ In the meantime, please post your comments. We look forward to hearing from you!
Publish Date: October 24, 2014 5:00 AM
Over the course of the next 6 weeks, I am taking on many of the myths/misconceptions associated with the cloud. Here is Myth 2; please post your comments!
MYTH 2: Cloud is One Size Fits All
FACT: When it comes to the cloud, there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter solution. The idea that software in the cloud is not customizable is one that has been perpetuated by premise-based software vendors and is frankly not true. The inherent flexibility of the cloud means that organizations can have greater control and customization of their contact center solutions. Satellite offices can manage their own locations, while sharing the same technology platform across the whole organization and still benefit from centralized management. Predefined access rights enable individuals to see only the information that pertains to their permissions/role. Today’s cloud vendors offer a wide range of deployment options, service models and features to meet their clients’ requirements and needs. Be sure that the cloud vendor and cloud solution you select matches your organization’s needs and industry’s requirements.
Next week we will look into the myth that the ‘Cloud is Not Reliable,’ which studies by Microsoft and others have confirmed this to be quite untrue. In the meantime, please post your comments. We look forward to hearing from you!
Publish Date: October 17, 2014 5:00 AM
Cloud services and cloud platforms have become an undeniable part of the IT landscape. However, while the shift from traditional software models to the Internet has steadily gained momentum over the last several years, “the cloud” is still a fairly new concept. And like all things new, it comes with some concerns and uncertainty. Over the next 6 weeks, I will do my best to debunk some of the top misconceptions/myths associated with the cloud, including:
1. Cloud is Not Secure
2. Cloud is One Size Fits All
3. Cloud is Not Reliable
4. Cloud Cannot Scale for Large Organizations
5. Cloud is a Fad
6. Cloud is Too Significant to Outsource Control
If you have a concern about the cloud that is not listed above, please mention it here and give us the opportunity to address it.
When the cloud is done right, it fundamentally changes how companies and entire industries operate along with how customers engage and purchase products and services.
MYTH 1: Cloud is Not Secure
FACT: Security threats in the cloud are no greater, and in many cases much less common, than those faced by on-premise systems. When selecting a cloud provider, do your due diligence and ensure that your cloud vendor will host your contact center, and sensitive information, on a single instance cloud platform or dedicated hardware serving only your organization. Also ensure that the proposed cloud solution includes secure and redundant remote cloud servers protected by Tier III, SSAE16 data centers. Lastly, confirm that your center will be managed in a stable, PCI, HIPAA, GLBA and Sox compliant environment. Any reputable cloud provider will also provide clients with the following services:
- A dedicated team of IT experts
- Full compliance with industry and regulatory standards
- Regularly scheduled third-party security audits
- Automatic hardware and software updates
Next week we will take on the myth that the ‘Cloud is One Size Fits All’, which could not be further from the truth. In fact, the inherent flexibility of the cloud means that organizations can have greater control and customization of their contact center solutions. In the meantime, please post your comments. We look forward to hearing from you!
Publish Date: October 10, 2014 5:00 AM
On Thursday 8 May 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled charges with mobile messaging application maker Snapchat. As the Wall Street Journal article reports, the gist of the alleged infractions (which were neither admitted nor denied by Snapchat) all relate to misleading consumers in one of three ways:
1. “By telling them (consumers) that messages would disappear.”
2. “Misrepresenting its (Snapchat’s) data collection practices.”
3. That Snapchat “didn’t adequately protect users’ personal data.”
I am not a lawyer, nor do I want to comment directly on the misfortunes of Snapchat who have now been ordered to implement a new comprehensive security program and agree to 20 years of monitoring by the FTC (an eternity in the technological world). I only bring this situation up as discussion points about, 1) what a technology company can and cannot guarantee users, and 2) what users of technology should look for in an application provider.
Working for technology companies for the last 25 years, I have seen many amazing changes occur in rapid fashion. We have gone from completely locked down proprietary systems where no Internet existed, to today’s cloud-based unified communications, where a 7-year-old can operate a smartphone to access an application that is maintained halfway around the world. As technology becomes more invasive in our lives, privacy issues are bound to increase exponentially. Perhaps part of the allure of today’s secure messaging trend is a direct backlash against broadcast technology, which has been so popular during the last few years. There seems to be a tug & pull between several technology trends: broadcast media vs. directed media; permanent vs. ephemeral content; data collection in order to serve up targeted online ads vs. temporary communication; contextual based communication vs. non-contextual communication; paid vs. free applications, and finally privacy vs. public disclosure.
I cannot help but feel sorrow for a technology company that builds and launches (often for free) a great product that satisfies the needs of the vast majority of their users, but still gets slammed by the small minority, who complain to the Federal Government (in this case the FTC). Keep in mind, these users chose to use the product in the first place! The take away may be that technology companies need “full disclosure” of what their applications can and cannot do (explained in layman’s terms), and in addition they need to be up front with any information they gather on their users. The old adage that “nothing is free” may apply here. After all, how could Snapchat provide a product for free with no strings attached? How could anyone for that matter? Perhaps users should look to technology companies that charge small fees for usage of their applications, but also fully disclose the application’s capabilities and limitations as well as if/how they handle customer information.
For instance, is making a claim that content will disappear guaranteed 100% of the time even a viable promise? Most people know that if you want to capture a screen on an Apple iPhone you push down on the “Hold Button” and while holding it down, you push down the “Home Button.” Most any message, or photo, sent to an iPhone user is susceptible to being copied and kept. Even if a technology company creates a product where the normal “screen capture” as described above does not work – what is to stop the recipient of a message whose content is meant by the sender to be private, from using a digital camera or secondary smartphone and taking a picture, or movie, of the screen and making it public? My point is there are myriad ways for the recipient of any form of media to copy and keep what is sent to them. There are even 3rd party programs specializing in thwarting “disappearing” messages and images.
Let’s assume in a professional business environment/setting the recipient and sender’s goals are aligned. In other words, the sender and receiver both want the text, photo, and/or video to disappear once they have reviewed it. If this is true, then most smartphone applications that promise privacy will be able to deliver. It is in the event that both senders’ and recipients’ goals are not aligned that we need to prepare for. What users need to know is that there is no 100% guarantee that text, images, and/or videos will disappear as intended by the sender, especially if the recipient’s goals are opposing or immoral. No technology vendor will be able to anticipate and prevent every unintended consequence of the use of their technology. Common sense by users should prevail.
In regards to what technology users should look for in an application provider, I would start with the belief that users of technology and those that create technology are partners. Partnerships will only be viable if there is a foundation of kindness, respect and honesty. So how does one determine if a technology company is a viable partner? Begin by excluding any companies that have proven they are not reliable partners. Review potential partners’ privacy policies and ensure that they adhere to it and that you agree with it.
Lastly, look for a technology provider who promises their sole source of funding is from the proceeds derived from sales by users of their technology and that they never share information with any 3rd parties at any time. They may charge users a small fee to use the application, but these days a small fee seems well worth the privacy it may buy. Just ask Snapchat.
Publish Date: June 2, 2014 5:00 AM