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3 things to consider when moving to Microsoft Teams

This content is provided by Ribbon.

With the current work-at-home environment we find ourselves in, communications platforms have found universal appeal in helping us conduct video meetings and collaborate on shared documents. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the growth of Microsoft Teams. Coming into 2020, Teams had about 20 million active daily users – that number is now 75 million and growing.

Many Teams user communities first make use of the video, chat, and document sharing capabilities inherent in the product. As the utility of the Teams grows, integration of traditional voice services becomes of interest. This can make strong economic sense, as eliminating support and maintenance expenses for older phone systems and unifying around Teams as a single platform is efficient and cost-effective.

With that in mind, here are some things to consider as you make the move to make the move to Teams. Note that many of the suggestions here apply to other communications system transitions, not just Teams.

1. An SBC is your best friend. A Session Border Controller, or SBC, is an essential element in any voice implementation. SBCs are firewalls for voice, acting as a gatekeeper between your network and your trunking provider (in Teams, third party trunking providers offer what is called Direct Routing, for which an SBC is a required element). In addition to firewall-like functions, SBCs are on the lookout for malicious activity like denial of service attacks or toll fraud, and can shut that activity down before damage is done. (Side note: Ribbon is among a select number of vendors whose SBCs are Microsoft Teams certified, JITC certified, and are found in some of the most mission-critical applications in the US government.)

In addition to security and fraud protection benefits, implementing an SBC has another major benefit – assisting in migration. Since an SBC is a connector between networks and network elements (phones, PBX, cloud-based Unified Communications servers) it enables you to execute a phased approach to Teams deployment. This is particularly true if you intend to keep your current PBX as the underlying call control for some of your user base. Additionally, many customers will not want to rip and replace existing desk phones – an SBC can extend the life of these devices and reduce the cost of a Teams migration.

2. Plan for the unexpected. Most IT shops effectively plan for unseen events at their primary facilities and data centers, but what about the branch locations? At one time, Microsoft offered a capability called a Survivable Branch Appliance (SBA), but it was not widely adopted due to its cost. With a full “in the cloud” solution like Teams, disaster recovery at the branch is a bit easier by having a solid redundant connection like 4G wireless. There are lots of inexpensive ways to accomplish this, although you might want to consider Ribbon’s EdgeMarc 6000. In addition to having an embedded 4G modem, the 6000 monitors link performance and can move calls between primary and secondary access links in degraded network conditions.

3. Fraud is everywhere. We all read the news, so we know data breaches are a constant threat to government and corporate networks. While infiltration into servers and business applications get the most attention (and not doubt, they should), your voice network also requires the same level of protection. SBCs do most of the heavy lifting in voice security and they do a great job deflecting infiltration attempts. But what if someone gets inside by figuring out a password or other means? To have that extra level of protection, you need a tool that uses AI technology to look for patterns and spot anomalies. FraudProtect from Ribbon is an excellent way to take that extra step to protect your critical infrastructure.

Moving from one voice platform to another is never an easy undertaking. Ribbon has decades-long experience with helping enterprises and communications service providers implement, transform, and secure their networks. These include many of the largest enterprises and governmental entities in the world. Learn more about Ribbon and our offerings by visiting rbbn.com.