Is cloud computing the next step for telecom operations?
Cloud computing: Everyone's doing it. So, should telecommunications companies get on board?
Could a move to cloud-based infrastructure alleviate some of the telecom industry's most common operational complaints?
While there’s no denying the strategic importance and prevalence of cloud computing in business organizations across all industries, communication service providers (CSPs) have unique needs to consider when it comes to adopting cloud technology. By weighing the pros and cons of cloud computing, CSPs will be better equipped to determine if the opportunities the cloud provides are a good fit.
Nimble response to market demands
Cloud infrastructure enables greater agility and flexibility, making it possible for telecommunications providers to innovate and deliver at an accelerated rate. It enables common management of data across the company, increasing operational efficiency as different teams and departments are able to work together in real-time. This can have a big impact on development, testing and approval time, enabling companies to quickly adapt services that best meet the needs of their customers.
In addition, operations and business support systems and the various connected devices and applications that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) can all share cloud infrastructure resources. This means greater capacity for processing power, storage, and network bandwidth. Coupled with the ability to scale on-demand and dynamically allocate infrastructure capacity, the cloud is a powerful solution for efficiently meeting network demands during peak traffic.
Telecom providers are embracing 5G worldwide, and cloud computing will play a huge part in delivering the next generation of mobile experiences. 5G network speed is expected to reach 10 times the speed of 4G networks, likely resulting in a similar increase in traffic. That amount of data will require the cloud's scalability, speed, and capacity.
This is especially true when it comes to the rapid proliferation of smartphones that can support advanced gaming applications. Gaming requires high bandwidth, a stable connection and low latency, all things a cloud-based infrastructure can help you provide.
Ultimately, telcos that implement a cloud-based IT infrastructure will see a marked improvement in services, operations and the bottom line. Research from Accenture found that telecom providers generally improve their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) by 10% after moving to the cloud. What’s more, large telecommunication companies can reduce spending that goes toward on-premises application software by 20% after adopting cloud-based solutions.
While the pros of cloud computing for telecommunications companies generally outweigh the cons, there are some factors that Telcos need to take into consideration before diving in. Primarily, downtime — which is no doubt inevitable. Mitigating this risk means designing services with downtime in mind by implementing things like multi-availability zones and multi-region deployments with automated failover to reroute data.
Another issue is security. Data breaches are all too common and cloud infrastructure is not immune to attacks. As a rule, cloud service providers use extremely high-security standards and processes to protect data, but CSPs can do more to ensure security. Two of the simplest solutions are to implement multi-factor authentication across the system and make sure that data is properly encrypted, even in areas protected by authentication. This will go a long way toward protecting data from the most common forms of unauthorized access.
Adopting cloud infrastructure can be a daunting task, so working with a knowledgeable consultant who can help work through issues and outline a strategy is key. Acro Media can serve as a partner to CSPs that are ready to take the leap into cloud computing, with knowledge and technical tools that optimize and streamline the process. Speak with one of our subject matter experts to explore the best possible options for your business.
Lauren Treadwell is a fintech writer and enthusiast specializing in cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, innovative investment strategies and financial service startups.