4 ways to start using the cloud to communicate
The cloud can be a great way to consolidate your business technology so it’s accessible, cost effective, and secure at all times right?
The answer is essentially yes.
Sounds great right? Ok sure, but how do you ACTUALLY use the cloud? The answer is you have to adopt a product that is integrated with your IP provider’s cloud. Some products are cloud based, some are not. Finding out which products/services will best serve the features that your business needs will help you discover the most effective way to move your communications into the cloud.
Here are 6 ways you can start using the cloud to communicate for your business.
1. Cloud based VoIP
Cloud based VoIP is a product that will replace your existing phone system. You may hear it go by other names like “Hosted VoIP, Cloud PBX, Virtual PBX” but these are all the exact same thing. This is your main tool for making/recieving calls and communicating with your callers. Therefore, instead of having a traditional phone carrier such as….let’s say…Comcast, you will instead need to migrate over to a VoIP provider instead…like *cough* us.
With Cloud Based VoIP or Enterprise-Connect™ as we call it here at RingLeader, you will get rid of all your phone cabels and copper lines. Those are now obsolete. Because now you will essentially be using the internet to make and recieve phone calls.
To make this all work, you’ll either need a softphone mobile app like the RingLeader mobile app or IP phones from Yealink, Polycom, Cisco, or another manufacturer. Once you have the phones, you’ll purchase the digital product “cloud based VoIP” from a company like RingLeader, and then you’re ready to make and recieve phone calls.
The benefits of cloud based VoIP include:
- No hardware – all your calls are made over the internet so you don’t need any copper cables or even a PBX (private branch exchange) for that matter.
- Flexbility – Since all your data is stored in a secure, centralized cloud server, you can easily access all that data from different devices. This includes the RingLeader mobile app, your IP phones, or a desktop client like Skype for Business.
- Security – Normally we think of cloud based VoIP being a security risk becuase you don’t have control over your data. While it’s true that you do not control your own data, the upside is that RingLeader provides basic encryption to all your data packets on our server. Unless you’re already providing your own encryption to your data, using RingLeader encryption is more secure than an on-premise server.
2. Cloud back-up
If migrating your primary phone system to the cloud with Cloud based VoIP isn’t in the cards for you at the moment, then at least having a cloud backup may be the next best thing!
A cloud back-up can be used as a failover in case your primary phone system went down.
Here’s an example:
- You have a standard phone contract with Comcast.
- Comcast experiences a network outage and does down.
- Now your phones aren’t working.
- With a cloud back-up in place, you can open the RingLeader mobile app or pick-up your IP phone and continue to make and recieve calls until your primary provider comes back online.
Seem’s pretty straight forward right? It’s just a simple back-up plan in the event of lost connectivity with your primary provider.
The good news is that these back-up cloud services are usually VERY inexpensive. At RingLeader, we can back-up your phone service into the cloud for $2/month for each user.
Crowd-Connect™ is a cloud-based conference call service that allows admins to initiate a phone call with their “crowd” or group, at the push of a button.
Standard conferencing technology has historically been a “conference bridge”. On a conference bridge, the admin of the call must dial the conference bridge phone number, enter the moderator code, and then wait for his/her guests to join the call.
“Who just joined?”
Does that sound familiar? Well it’s about to be a phrase of the past. With Crowd-Connect, you can call your entire group at the push of a button. That means as soon as your crowd picks up the phone they’ll all be in the call together. No more entering long PINs and access codes, no more *dings* in the middle of the call when people join late. It’s as simple as picking up the phone.
Crowd-Connect is cloud technology because it’s accessible through a web/mobile app, which stores the data and makes it accessible across your devices. With a Crowd-Connect subscription, you’ll recieve access to the web/mobile portal where you will create your groups by entering their phone numbers. That information is stored securely on the cloud so whenever you’re ready to make a call, all you need to do is press the “call now” button and everyone’s phones will ring.
4. Internet Faxing with the cloud
Similar to how telephone service is moving to the cloud, the same goes for faxing (and yes faxing is still useful. Read more about that in an upcoming blog post). Internet faxing is different from traditional faxing because instead of connecting your fax lines to a phone company with copper wire, you’re connecting them to the internet with an ATA adapter.
The benefits to this include better security, cost, and mobility. Security with cloud based faxing is improved because the data sent across the internet is encrypted with a basic level of encryption. This means that even if it’s intercepted, it can’t be used to harm you or your business.
Your operating cost will certainly go down with internet faxing over the cloud. Faxing over traditional land lines can be expensive. And taxes with your state, city, or municipality can make it even more expensive. By using the cloud, you can likely cut down on your monthly bill by well over 50%. You also can stop paying for that expensive managed service provider that you’re using every time you have an issue with your office wiring.
Finally, your business’ mobility will improve with internet faxing because you can access the faxes from anywhere and any device.
Want a copy sent of your inbound faxes sent to your email? Check.
Want to take a photo of a document and fax it to your customer? Check.
Want to send a fax to multiple destinations? Also check.
Internet faxing is a no-brainer especially if you’re already on Cloud-based VoIP. Talk to your VoIP provider to see if they have internet faxing service. RingLeader internet faxing starts at $3.95/month.
If you’re not already using the cloud to store your company’s data, then why not? In the past, security has always been the main draw back to the cloud. But with technological progress in data security and consumer encryption, the cloud is probably more secure than your on-premise data storage.
If you’re looking for a lower monthly cost, mobility across all devices, and likely more data security then migrating your telephony to the cloud is a great option for your business.
Manager of MarketingVoIP Blogger, Crowdvoicing Expert,
SIP Industry Marketing,
and Washington D.C. sports fan.