by November 5, 2013 0 comments

In 2009, CTOs were still trying to get their heads around cloud telephony. In 2013–They have become its biggest advocates! How did this happen? In order to understand this phenomenon better, we have to go back to the economic conditions prevailing in those days.

The subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 was bruising for the investment industry in particular and the industry as a whole. Many VCs stopped lending, waiting for the market to correct itself. As a result, many startups and small and medium businesses (SMBs) were severely affected. Some closed down the shutters on their business while others downsized aggressively. Cost cutting became rampant.

CTOs were asked to explain their IT spending, just like any other department head. With business slowing down everywhere, it became impossible to explain costs incurred on running in-house telephony servers and paying exorbitant salaries to IT teams for maintenance and upkeep of high end telephony investment.

Meanwhile, the cloud was steadily disrupting many entrenched technologies with their robust and scalable business models. Its arrival on the telephony scene was met with some derision initially but that changed once the advantages became obvious. The role of CTOs had also evolved in the ensuing years. Now they had a larger say in company affairs. But IT was no longer their fiefdom. Every cost had to be explained to the CEO. Outsourcing emerged as a good option. The CTO had to decide whether to retain in house comm expertise or outsource.

Outsourcing provided various cost advantages that were too big for a business to ignore in the prevailing economic downturn. When concerns about data security were inevitably raised it became the job of a CTO to evaluate the risks and make commendations as necessary. Ideally, there are six parameters of measuring risk to data security. They are: Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, Utility, Authenticity, and Possession.

6 parameters of measuring risk to data security

1) Confidentiality implies secrecy of information. The CTO’s role in ensuring data security is crucial to any enterprise. Every system has some trade-off eventually. CTO’s have to decide whether the trade -off is justifiable. It does not become easier knowing the government’s power to subpoena data stored in servers located outside the county. But for a startup and SMB it is small price to pay for efficiency, scalability and security.

2) Integrity of data is important to any client oriented setup. There must be systems and protocols in place to prevent unauthorized access to data. Most cloud telephony platforms provide access to data in a highly controlled environment to prevent tampering of data.

CTO’s must check the checks and balances in place to ensure integrity of data at all times whether the servers are located within the country or miles away in a foreign location.

3. Availability implies unhindered access to data to those with the right authorization. A key element is availability of bandwidth. Thanks to the telecom revolution bandwidth availability is no longer a problem making it much easier to say yes to cloud telephony.

4) Data has utility only and only when it can be processed by those authorized by admin without any restriction at anytime of the day. Since cloud telephony provides a cloud based data storage facility accessibility is not a problem. In fact cloud databases unites a geographically dispersed workforce on a single collaborative platform which goes a long way in removing redundancies and other efficiencies that may by rampant on a legacy system.

5) Authentication is important to data security because mportant business decisions are made on the authenticity of data. By ensuring controlled access to data businesses can ensure the quality of their decision making.

6) Last but not least, possession of data is important to a business. They must have full and unhindered access to data, at all times. Besides data security, CTOs have to factor in various factors like marketing, customer service, sales, while deciding on a technology platform. Scale is very important to business to any business whether it is a startup or a SMB.
The CTO has to decide on a technology that is scalable.

Cloud telephony scales on demand fulfilling two important roles in the life of a company – Building initial traction – Getting to first million in sales is very important for the well being of a company. Startup

CTO’s have voted in favor of cloud telephony because of its ability to scale up services on demand. It takes a few seconds to add new extensions and a few minutes to provision additional lines. Besides superior call handling, it provides lead management, call routing and a mini backend CRM to enable initial traction.

Building Scale – Businesses need scale to succeed. After initial traction is achieved scale becomes the next important thing. Once businesses reach scale things change.

The volume of customer enquires increases exponentially taking a lot of the founder’s energy and time. Luckily, most of these enquires are routine in nature and perfect for automation (Recorded IVR for billing enquiries). Times have changed. Technologies have changed. And it is inevitable that job roles change with the times. A typical CTO’s role today is more of a facilator between multiple departments than a technologist and they have to be cued in to different organization functions (marketing, finance, HR, Sales) in India to create a seamless working place. They are vital to any successful company and can make a big difference by playing a role of a technology facilitator.

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