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Almost overnight, the number of remote workers increased dramatically, as businesses mandated "work-from-home" policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There's no telling when the situation will change. Even when restrictions ease on social distancing, employees may not be able to return to the office in full force, and future waves of distancing have been predicted. You may have been perfectly satisfied with your communications solution in the pre-COVID days, but you may find yourself realizing you now need something more robust. If your current phone system isn't able to handle the office exodus, that's a glaring sign you're due for a change.

The good news during this challenging time? A cloud phone solution, like MiCloud Connect, delivers the latest in mobility and ensures employees can work and collaborate from anywhere.

But mobility is just one problem solved by cloud phone technology. Chances are, your communications system is flashing yellow and red in other places as well. Some of these warnings are harder to recognize than others. If you've noticed any of the following signs, now is the time to make the switch.

COVID-19: 6 signs it's time to upgrade your communications

  1. High traffic is reducing the quality of your communications. People might run on coffee, but business are powered by a reliable and consistent network. With fewer people working in the office due to social distancing, just about all communications is now handled remotely. Can your current phone system support the increased demand? Slowdowns, dropped calls and low-quality video impede conversations, frustrating employees and customers. Ask providers about their track record. As a reference point, Mitel has 99.995 percent uptime backed by SLAs and financial penalties if we don't meet these standards. Other important items to look for in a reliable solution are Tier 4 data centers with several layers of redundancy and multiple connectivity options with automatic failover. With these built-in capabilities, employees work fast and never miss a chance to drive customer satisfaction higher.
  2. You're concerned about security. This is a hot topic both in the news and at weekly IT meetings. With more employees working from home, protecting sensitive information is a top priority. But if you're not 100 percent confident in your communications system, you'll want to ask vendors some hard questions. For example: Do they offer Secure Real-Time Transfer Protocol (SRTP), which ensures voice, web and signaling traffic is encrypted? What platform are they using and what levels of security do they offer? At Mitel, we decided to amp up security by partnering with Google Cloud. Our customers benefit from the same reliable and trusted network infrastructure we all use for search and videos on a daily basis.
  3. You operate in a regulated industry. In industries like healthcare or finance, compliance looms large. Violations are expensive and can tarnish your reputation. Spikes in telemedicine and virtual financial advising put companies at increased risk of non-compliance. However, when you work with a cloud phone provider committed to ensuring high levels of security and protecting sensitive data, you'll ease your IT burden. MiCloud Connect, for example, is certified to meet Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards and Service Organization Control Type II (SOC 2) compliance, helping you adhere to even the most stringent requirements.
  4. You need to adapt – quickly and constantly. Every day seems to bring on a new challenge as the world battles COVID-19. Businesses need to be able to rapidly respond to changing demands and requirements. Ask yourself how difficult it is to add or remove lines and users to your current system. If it requires a call to the vendor every time you need to make a change, then it's time for a cloud phone solution. The beauty of the cloud is that it's so easy to adjust to new conditions. You can add or remove seats and upgrade permissions in real time, which means your business is more agile. A scalable solution keeps you competitive, while also offering flexible pricing plans so you can stay within budget.
  5. It's getting harder to meet client expectations. The coronavirus has created a unique marketplace, in which employees and customers are almost 100 percent reliant on technology to conduct business. It has become all too easy to fall behind without integrated collaboration tools. A stellar customer experience is more important than ever, but it can be difficult to deliver when employees are taking extra steps to share documents or discuss issues remotely. When collaboration is built into communications, it's easier for employees to exceed customer expectations. For example, with click-to-join access for web, audio and video conferencing, a product manager can convene his team to resolve a pressing issue quickly, getting goods in the hands of customers at the right moment. In addition, a persistent workspace with chat, tasks and file sharing gives teams the ability to collaborate in real time. When employee collaboration is easy and seamless outside the physical office, customers get answers faster and satisfaction soars.
  6. Managing multiple licenses keeps you very busy. Every second counts when you're trying to run a remote employee workforce and keep customers engaged. You don't have time to worry about managing multiple licenses for your communications system. With a cloud phone solution, you can mix and match license types on a single plan. Need a contact center? Collaboration tools? It's simple to add licenses on-demand and manage each user via their own profile. And since your cloud provider is responsible for infrastructure, you don't have to worry about maintenance or carry the cost of unused equipment or lines. Plus, budgeting on an operating expenses (OpEx) model is predictable and easy, which is important in these uncertain times.

All signs point to cloud phone technology

COVID-19 has changed the way we do business. The new "normal" requires organizations to support remote communications and collaboration and to respond quickly to changing conditions. If any of the signs discussed above are flashing red or yellow in your organization, it's time to start exploring what cloud phone technology can do for your business. A solution like MiCloud Connect will adapt to your business needs, ensuring you stay current with the latest technology – and healthy in the battle against the coronavirus.

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