Planning Your Skype for Business Voice Solution

Author by Ted Wentzel

All-in-the-cloud, on-premises, or hybrid? Whether you want (or are required) to retain functionality provided by your on-premises deployment, whether you need features that are currently available only with your on-premises voice solution, and what your plan is for moving people to the cloud depends on company’s current and future needs.

As an IT organization being tasked on how to best provide Private Branch Exchange (PBX) functionality, access to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), and conferencing capabilities for all users in your organization can be daunting. The first steps on deciding what solution will provide the “best fit” can be made easier by answering a few simple questions:

  • Do I have an existing on-premises Skype for Business Server deployment?
  • Are my users today “homed” in Skype for Business on-premises, in the cloud on Skype for Business Online, or both?
  • Do I want to move my on-premises users to the cloud?
  • Is Microsoft’s PSTN Calling service available in my region?
  • Do I want to keep my current telephony carrier?
  • Do I need to keep my current telephony carrier because of an existing contract?
  • Do I have an existing on-premises legacy PBX that I want or need to keep?
  • Does my current legacy PBX offer unique features that are critical to my business?
  • Do any / all of my users require features not currently offered in Cloud PBX?

No matter how you architect your deployment, in the end your solution should best fit the needs of your organization. Whether you consider on-premises only, cloud-only, or a mixture of both through a hybrid deployment of Skype for Business (all of which we will cover in this series), there are five core responsibilities that you as the organization’s IT will take ownership for:

  • Networking and connectivity – Ensure network capacity and availability through firewalls, proxy servers, gateways, and across WAN links by performing a network assessment (or by contracting with a partner to do the assessment).
  • Data governance & rights management – Classify your sensitive data and ensure it is protected and monitored wherever it is stored and while it is in transit.
  • Client endpoints – Establish, measure, and enforce modern security standards on devices that are used to access your data and assets.
  • Account & access management – Establish a profile for “normal” account activity and alert on unusual activity.
  • Identity - Use credentials secured by hardware or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all identities. 

Understanding where exclusive and shared ownership falls goes hand in hand with understanding the responsibilities that IT must undertake in managing and maintaining a voice solution. The following chart helps in breaking down where some of that ownership lies:

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Author

Ted Wentzel

Director of Marketing