Skype for Business might be closing, but businesses need to be wary of cloud-based collaboration

Skype for Business might be closing, but businesses need to be wary of cloud-based collaboration

When Microsoft announced it was going to be shuttering Skype for Business Online at the end of July 2021, it came as little surprise. The company’s focus on Teams over the preceding years had suggested it saw that application as being better suited to enterprise collaboration needs. That investment paid off when the pandemic hit, with Teams regularly talked about as one of the big winners of the ensuing lockdown.

What those discussions, and indeed Skype for Business Online’s absence from them, highlight is the proliferation of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions in the collaboration space. Whether it’s instant messaging to facilitate quick conversations, or videoconferencing to replicate face-to-face meetings, the brands that have become synonymous with remote working are easily accessible via the public cloud.

The public cloud risk factor

This presents significant risks to businesses. Many of these tools lack the enterprise-grade security features companies need, particularly in free or freemium versions. They are also generic, one-size fits all offerings that often sit outside corporate networks and security procedures.

This is all down to the cloudification of business. While this is a trend that’s been happening for some time, it has been accelerated in the last few months as businesses have sought to acquire the flexibility, agility and scalability they need to remain operational and support newly decentralised workforces.

However, that does not mean that public cloud is always a good fit. Many such environments struggle with providing the all-encompassing cyber defences organisations need. Cloud computing takes a company’s data out of its hands and puts it under the control of an outside organization. As well as making it harder for organisations in regulated sectors to remain compliant with data storage rules, many cloud service providers look at this data as an additional source of revenue.

Tailored solutions for your business needs

Organizations that require on-premises solutions are therefore precluded from using public cloud-based tools and represent a good opportunity for Adeya’s solutions in the market. We know that for many, on-premises collaboration tools offer a better option. Use cases and benefits include greater control over access and deployment, and the ability to be tailored to meet the needs of the business (and the requirements of their industry regulators and relevant legislatures). That customization covers not only architecture, but extends to cryptography as well, while rolling it out across multiple sites has improved resilience – critical at a time when local access to physical locations can be restricted at a moment’s notice.

As such, it’s little wonder that our own on-premise collaboration solutions have seen increased interest from businesses in both regulated and non-regulated sectors. For those that still need an element of cloud flexibility, we also offer private cloud and Swiss cloud – the former combines scalable infrastructure and fast deployment with the ability to tailor it to different regulations and data privacy rules, while the latter is built around the Swiss principles of data privacy and protection.

Whichever non-public cloud option businesses go for, a common theme is still being able to own, secure and ultimately control their own data – an important factor in the world of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Security and flexibility – together in one offering

The demise of Skype for Business Online may herald the end of one freemium tool, but the proliferation of others remains unchecked. Public cloud-based SaaS offerings can offer companies fast access to collaboration tools, but wholesale deployment leaves those businesses and their employees exposed. With employers wrestling with the ramifications of renewed restrictions and continued remote working, investing in tailored, secure solutions can ensure they remain fully compliant and better protected while still allowing their workers to fulfil their roles wherever they are.

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