Irwin Lazar, President and Principal Analyst, Metrigy
The rapid shift to work-from-home (WFH) over the last year has accelerated the move of unified communications to the cloud. Today, nearly half (47.3%) of the 476 companies benchmarked in Metrigy’s global Workplace Collaboration: 2021-22 research study have either fully or partially adopted Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS). Nearly a quarter of those still operating on-premises telephony platforms are either planning to shift to UCaaS, or are evaluating such a move.
As mid- to large-size organizations increasingly embrace UCaaS, providers are enabling them to do so while maintaining their existing PSTN connectivity session border controllers (SBCs) and SIP trunking services. This approach, known as “Bring Your Own Carrier” (BYOC) speeds migration to UCaaS by allowing companies to use current dialing plans and call policies. Beyond PSTN access, successfully deploying UCaaS requires ensuring high-quality, secure voice and video application performance, regardless of user location.
To meet this goal, those responsible for UC operations must leverage tools that provide performance visibility and security control. Today, about 41% of organizations have a proactive strategy for collaboration and communications security, comprised of components including firewalls, SBCs as well as active monitoring and response.
Security plans typically allow for auditing and penetration testing, as well as proactive patch management. As we move forward in 2021 and into 2022, more than half of companies (55%) are increasing their spending on collaboration security to protect themselves against current and emerging threats, including SIP registration attacks, data exfiltration, and toll fraud.
Beyond security, the way that organizations approach UC performance management is rapidly evolving as well. Successful companies that achieve the highest ROI and/or productivity gain for their UC investments are most likely to have adopted a proactive approach for ensuring application performance for both in-office and remote workers. Gone are the days when WFH meant ‘best effort’ voice and video quality. Now, with the majority of employees working from home, success requires embracing the home worker to ensure they have adequate performance, and that IT can quickly uncover and isolate issues leading to voice and video quality problems. Here again, adopting tools that provide visibility into UC performance are critical.
Successful companies are also investing in upgrading network services to prepare for the potential of a return to the office by at least some of their workforce, and the growing reliance on high bandwidth / low-latency applications like video conferencing and streaming. To support these services, companies are investing in upgrading their WANs and LANs (including Wi-Fi), as well as leveraging technologies like SD-WAN to optimize performance of real-time applications across a variety of underlying network transport services.
Achieving BYOC and hybrid success requires not just deploying technologies, but actively managing them to guarantee performance and security, as well as respond to issues as they arise (ideally detecting performance or security problems before they impact users). IT leaders should assess their current management and security environment to ensure they have the right management capabilities to gain insight into UCaaS and SIP trunking performance, in both the office and at home.