Submitted by: iCore Networks

A unified communications provider allows your company to use one provider to meet all of your communication needs. It’s an end-to-end solution that affords you many benefits including a secure network, remote access to devices, as well as a cost savings. In fact, Cloud based unified communication services can save a company as much as 40% over traditional premise-based systems, but before you decide on a provider, you will want to be sure that they score well in the following five areas.

 #1 Simplicity/One Point of Contact

One issue many companies deal with is having several service providers for their communications. Hosted communications should be simple for IT departments to manage by consolidating communications (voice, audio/videoconferencing, email, mobility, Internet services), training and tech support under one partner, on one bill. It’s important to partner with a provider that offers an end-to-end solution all under one roof.

#2 Security

Security is a top priority, especially in regulated industries such as finance and healthcare where information and communications must meet high standards of security. Companies should choose a hosted service provider with a secure network that protects voice and data communications to meet the highest industry standards and an enterprise’s own security policies. As part of that security, hosted providers should also have a disaster recovery strategy in place to ensure 99.999% of availability, even in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. A fully-mirrored Network Operations Center ensures that your communications network will stay up and running when attacked, as well as making certain business continuity and the ability to quickly deal with disaster recovery is possible. This architecture should allow for complete mobility, so your staff can connect to their phones and desktops as well as conferencing from virtually anywhere in the world.

Finally, as your company grows, your unified communications provider should provide scalable solutions to allow you to quickly and seamlessly add new employees and locations onto the network.

#3 Experience and Trained In-House Support

Your provider should have trained in-house support, that’s accessible 24/7/365, and not outsourced to a third party. Be certain that the support team holds industry certifications such as Microsoft, Broadsoft, Polycom, Six Sigma, and Cisco, and that upon installation a dedicated account manager is provided.

In addition, verify that your provider has experience in Cloud based systems. You might be surprised that some of the big named companies have only been in the Cloud business for two years.

#4 Customer Testimonials

Very often, you can judge a service provider’s future actions by their past actions. If they have been responsive to their client’s needs in a timely and reasonable fashion in the past then it stands to reason they will continue to do so in the future. The service provider that you select should provide you with customer testimonials that show a