One of the most common questions asked about the cloud is “Are Cloud Telephone Systems Safe?”
The answer isn’t straight forward. There are different definitions of “safe” and there are different schools of thought for each of those definitions’ answers. Like most questions and answers it’s not yes or no. It’s more like a sliding scale.
So let’s start with what people usually mean by safe (in regards to cloud telephones. I’m not going to try to describe every possible definition and philosophical idea of safe. That would take years though would perhaps be its own interesting blog. Someone has probably already made a podcast about it).
What Do People Mean When They Ask Are Cloud Telephone Systems Safe?
When people ask are cloud telephone systems safe they are generally wondering about one or two things
- Are cloud telephone systems secure?
- Are cloud telephone systems dependable?
Both questions should be regarded in relation to traditional (digital) telephone systems for the answers to have any meaning.
Are Cloud Telephone Systems Secure?
Today nearly everything is connected to the internet or has the option to be. You can have a smart home with a smart fridge and smart HVAC system. Your office can be similarly smart with smart locks and smart speakers and even your cars can rival your intelligence.
And like anything connected to the internet, your cloud telephone system is as secure as it’s weakest link.
First off, you need to make sure that whoever you are buying your cloud telephone system and service from values security. A good cloud system will have multiple sites with multiple layers of security. You don’t have much control of it but you should make sure that the people who do are doing their due diligence.
Next is your own site. Make sure that your network is secure. You’ll need a firewall. But your biggest security risk will always be the individuals there. Make sure everyone uses good network security hygiene. Passwords shouldn’t be written down on site and should follow complexity guidelines.
Is that more complex that a traditional telephone system? Yes. Are there more points of failure? Sure. Are there ways to protect yourself? Absolutely.
And this is the direction technology is going. More security will come along.
Are Cloud Telephone Systems Dependable?
This is where you can get into an argument.
In the old days, RCI would be called out to a site if telephone call was dropped or the audio wasn’t crystal clear.
With the advent of cell phones and later VOIP the tolerance for call disturbances has gone up significantly.
With cloud telephone calls, sometimes weird things are just going to happen and there will not be any obvious reason why.
The cloud is quirky because it’s built on the internet. And even if what you have is rock solid, it’s going to traverse an internet that has a lot of other hubs and devices that are not.
That said, I just attended a webinar where the cloud was described as more dependable.
The theory went like this. With a traditional telephone system, if your phone system goes down, you can’t get calls. If your lines go down, you can’t get calls. If you lose a electricity? No calls.
Meanwhile, with the cloud if you lose electricity, your system goes down, or the “system” (cloud) goes down, your calls can forward. Further the cloud is distributed so even in the event of an attack on a specific location where the cloud infrastructure is housed, it would simply fail over to another cloud center in a different geographical location.
It was a perspective I hadn’t heard but an interesting one.
What You Can Do to Make Cloud Telephone Systems Safe
If you have looked at your options and decided that a cloud telephone system is for you, there are things you can to make it safer.
Have rules for your employees about good security hygiene. Install a firewall. Start with a good cloud company. Keep your equipment up to date. Do security reviews at least quarterly.
Like anything, there are pros and cons to getting a cloud telephone system. The best way to see if it right for you is to talk with your trusted Business Technology professional. If they’re anything like RCI, they’ll make sure you’re well taken care of.