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How Do I Know When It’s Time to Ditch Skype?
Posted on: 2017-03-21 | Categories: VoIP Services
Skype was – and still remains – one of the most well-known services for making voice calls over the Internet. Long before VoIP became a household word and a necessary upgrade for businesses, Skype was the default choice for millions of users. Originally launched in 2003, the service quickly became popular before being purchased by eBay and then Microsoft.
It’s not hard to see why Skype became popular when it launched. It was an easily accessible client that even someone who is unfamiliar with technology can use. Users could make calls to other Skype users for free. You could even call mobile phones and landlines for a small fee. That the fee was only a fraction of what carriers used to charge was a definite contributor to its success.
After Skype became immensely popular among consumers, even businesses started to use it. Employees would download the client onto their work laptops or desktops to stay in touch with colleagues and project teams. A small business or startup could even get away with just using Skype instead of purchasing business class service from operators.
However the scenario today is very different from 2003. There are thousands of VoIP service providers that are competing for your business in the market. Some vendors target specific industry segments while others are customized for small businesses or large multinational corporations. It may be time for your business to move away from Skype once and for all.
When Is It Time to Ditch Skype?
When it was introduced, Skype was one of the best clients available for Internet telephony. It had advanced features that the competition could not beat and quickly dominated the market. But it did not start as an enterprise focused telephony solution and it shows. Many other hosted VoIP services on the market now offer advanced PBX features that are missing from Skype.
Unless you are a very small start up with just one or two employees, your business will soon struggle with the shortcomings of Skype as an enterprise solution. While some employees may want to keep Skype around as an internal communications tool, a dedicated business VoIP service will be a much better alternative for most companies. Since Microsoft bundles Skype with other office products, you may find that switching to a dedicated provider can also give you substantial savings.
What Are My Alternatives?
If you decide it is time to ditch Skype, there are plenty of options available to you. You can deploy VoIP in one of two ways:
- On premise SIP implementation
- Hosted VoIP service
Small businesses generally prefer to go with hosted VoIP services as they are hassle free and required no maintenance. You can quickly get started with VoIP in a matter of hours and there’s no need to invest a lot of money either. You can benefit from all the advanced PBX features that the vendor offers without having to purchase or maintain the underlying hardware, software etc.
One of the biggest reasons to move away from Skype for any business is security and privacy. Although Skype originally started as a peer-to-peer solution, it is now a cloud based service run by Microsoft. It is a proprietary solution that does not use industry standards. There is no clear documentation available on the underlying Skype protocols which makes it difficult for security experts to evaluate how secure the service actually is. While this may be acceptable for private users, businesses should think twice before adopting such a solution.
Most hosted VoIP services are built on SIP which is the industry standard for Internet telephony. It has quickly become the most commonly used protocol and most hardware will work with it. If you purchase services from a vendor that uses SIP, you can be sure that any SIP compatible device will work with it. You don’t have to worry about interoperability, compatibility or upgrade issues. Make sure that the hosted service you choose implements end to end encryption. As long as you take the appropriate security measures for your data networks, there is no danger of eavesdropping or other malicious actions.
One of the hallmarks of hosted VoIP is simplicity and ease-of-use. Even though your business has upgraded to a new technology, the end user will barely notice the difference. Your employees don’t have to change how they answer the phone or make calls either. The pricing plans are easy to understand and you can make changes to your service whenever you want.
If you’re just launching your business, it can be tempting to start using Skype and think about upgrading later on down the line. But laying the foundation right from the start will give dividends down the line. As the company grows, so will your phone service right alongside!