February 28 2014 ArchivesReport from RSA Conference Reveals Practical Insights from Industry Leaders. It was hard to overlook this week’s article from CNET News – Google, Microsoft agree: Cloud is safe enough to use – covering the high-profile panel discussion on cloud security at the annual RSA Conference in San Francisco. Perhaps any time Google and Microsoft agree in public, it’s newsworthy. But while their agreement on the positive state of cloud security may not seem surprising, it accurately reflects why the world’s top businesses have confidently moved their critical business systems to the cloud. The cloud has indeed evolved over the years, which this public expression of confidence by two internet icons confirms. As a cloud-based business phone system provider, the issues of cloud security and reliability are fundamental to the services we deliver here at Vonage Business. To have confidence in our cloud-based solution, our customers trust us as their partner to provide the solid systems and protocols that result in superior cloud security. From the CNET News article, we agree with the comments of security expert Bruce Schneier: Schneier said that the way to make the cloud more secure depends entirely on the ability of companies to build strong bonds of trust. “Fundamentally, ‘cloud’ means to me your data on somebody else’s hard drive. Do I trust that other legal entity with my data on their hard drive?” Schneier said. “In some ways, this is no different than the levels of trust that we have had to have through the years….” For more insights, link to the full CNET News article. The takeaway from the RSA Conference that “it’s time to stop fearing cloud security and embrace the future” should certainly be welcome news to businesses of all sizes. Cloud-based business systems – including cloud-VoIP business phone systems – represent the modern arsenal of tools that will keep SMBs competitive, strong and growing. Here’s to the future, here’s to the cloud. About Dave MorrisDave is a content strategist and writer at Vonage Business Solutions, working with teams across the company to build communication programs that enable our customers and assist our prospects. He enjoys living in Atlanta and is an avid gardener, restaurant enthusiast and live music fan. February 10 2014 ArchivesIt wasn’t so long ago that cloud-based technology was regarded with extreme caution and a degree of skepticism. “The cloud” was an emerging concept and many businesses simply weren’t comfortable or familiar with its wide-reaching applications and potential – so adoption was understandably slow. And the thought of cloud-VoIP phone systems building market share over traditional carriers was, at the time, an afterthought. But now the cloud is regarded less as an emerging technology and more as a competitive standard. This shift is largely due to a more involved and educated business community – coupled with ongoing technical advances – that bring confidence in aspects of the cloud that were once considered risky. Now, it’s quite common for contemporary businesses to migrate all of their business systems to cloud-based platforms, including their business phone systems. Like any revolutionary technology or concept, the cloud deserves a periodic evaluation. Indeed, the “state of the cloud” has evolved. So why do modern business leaders now have such confidence in today’s cloud-based solutions, such as business VoIP? Let’s take a look: The Cloud is Secure: Because security concerns have historically been such an issue, cloud providers have made major investments and advancements to ensure that their offerings are well protected. While no solution is 100 percent secure, cloud-based business phone systems with the proper encryption and protocols can actually be more secure than traditional wire-based systems. For a real-world perspective on cloud security, consider that many of the world’s largest financial firms employ cloud solutions as a matter of course. The Cloud is Reliable: As chaotic and destructive as natural disasters can be, they have also taught business owners valuable lessons about communications. For example, research conducted after Hurricane Sandy revealed that 56 percent of SMBs (small to mid-sized businesses) hit by the storm lost phone and Internet connectivity. The research also found that 52 percent of SMBs businesses in the “Tri-State” and surrounding areas had experienced a sales or revenue loss because of the storm. In looking for ways to prevent downtime in the future, more and more business owners are discovering that best-in-class business VoIP phone systems can deliver unprecedented business continuity – even in the face of power outages, downed phone lines and loss of Internet. That means maintaining contact with clients and employees even when Mother Nature makes it difficult. The Cloud Can Help You Expand: With scalable cloud-based communications, a business’s phone system can seamlessly grow as the business grows – and only pay for the simple additions they need. For example, with a traditional legacy phone system, adding extensions or new offices can be a costly and time-consuming process that requires an on-site technician. But with a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business phone system, hosted in the cloud, extensions and features can be added immediately with the click of a mouse. This flexibility provides freedom for smaller businesses to start and grow their company from anywhere, and more quickly. Additionally, when employees have the ability to work from anywhere, businesses can widen their candidate pools and recruit the best talent from virtually any location. A Final Look at the Numbers To better understand the current state of the cloud, and projections for the future, we can simply look at the numbers. According to a report by ComputerSupport.com, the cloud services market will increase by a 36 percent compound annual growth rate over the next three years, reaching $19.5 billion by 2016. Additionally, the majority of entrepreneurs believe their spending on cloud computing will increase in 2014. In summary: The state of the cloud is strong and getting stronger. And the position of cloud-based business phone systems as the present and future standard in business telephony not only seems realistic, it seems inevitable. About Chris RabbuChris Rabbu is the Vice President of Marketing, Lead Generation at Vonage Business Solutions, the fastest growing provider of cloud-hosted VoIP phone systems for business. He resides in Atlanta, GA and is working on his tennis serve when not dreaming up ridiculously effective marketing campaigns.