Success stories

Our customers come in all shapes and sizes.

We work with organisations from all walks of life, with different ambitions and requirements. Explore how we’ve helped them reimagine everyday, and align technology with their culture and business goals.

microsoft purview

What is WiFi as a Service?

WiFi as a Service is a subscription-based model and 24/7/365 support that gives you peace of mind knowing your  WiFi is in safe hands. You define the network that you need today, and we’ll seamlessly adjust to the shifts in demand.
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cloud telephony, Microsoft Teams

Supercharge remote working & save money with a cloud telephony system

Covid 19 and remote working has highlighted the importance of cloud telephony solutions like Microsoft Teams Business Voice.
View case study >
microsoft teams

Your modern workplace and the benefits of a cloud-based phone system

The last few months has seen many businesses have to find creative ways to manage day-to-day activities like their telephony systems. Businesses with on-premise phone systems have found home working particularly challenging. Many sales teams have been using personal mobiles (and minutes) as work phone replacements; many receptionists have tried and failed to transfer calls remotely; and most employees have resorted to asking customers to email them instead. At the same time, other companies may have been congratulating themselves for migrating their telephony systems to cloud-based phone solutions. A number of our customers have made this transition, either using direct routing or by going all in with a 100% cloud deployment. For these businesses a cloud-based phone solution has delivered significant benefits – especially with a remote workforce – which include cost savings and simplify technology. As Microsoft Gold Partners our focus has been on deploying Microsoft 365 Business Voice for customers who want a cloud-based phone system specifically designed for SMBs. This solution has the added benefit of integrating into Microsoft Teams; creating an all-in-one communication solution delivered entirely through Microsoft’s reliable and trusted cloud. For those companies who’ve deployed Microsoft 365 Business Voice it has proven to be a simple and cost-effective solution that’s supported their businesses through the pandemic, and will continue to support a digital, potentially remote-first, workplace into the future. Book a Teams Business Voice workshop here > If you’re new to Business Voice, here’s a snapshot of the key benefits for SMBs: Working remotely with Business Voice Businesses already set-up for cloud-based telephony have transitioned to remote working fairly smoothly. Their business phoneline operates as normal, existing phone numbers remain the same and employees make and answer calls from anywhere, on any device. The integration with Teams means that calling, meetings, chat and files are all housed together in a single application, and Business Voice also includes audio conferencing so customers, vendors or suppliers can join a meeting using a dial-in number. Headsets, desk phones and other devices can be added to enable a more seamless set-up. Reducing costs In an ROI-driven world, reducing costs spent on technology is a priority. Using a cloud-based phone system like Business Voice can eliminate PBX maintenance costs, reduce support hours and eradicate upgrade fees. A recent Forrester study highlighted that 3 SMBs using Business Voice had saved over 30% in costs associated with PBXs. Streamlining technology Simplifying technology makes it easier for employees to use and easier for IT support to manage. Employees can enjoy a consistent Teams experience across all devices without needing to switch between software or systems. Business Voice integrated into Microsoft 365 offers a centralised set-up and management system housed within the wider M365 admin portal. As a complete cloud-based phone system delivered through Microsoft, Business Voice is secure and scalable to suit your business. If you’re looking to improve your business’s remote working policy with a cloud-based phone system, or would like to save money and simplify your technology, Business Voice could be just what you need. To explore this in more detail we host regular Microsoft Teams 365 Business Voice workshops (currently online) to explore this solution in depth. If you would like to join our next workshop please register your interest via the link below, or get in touch directly if you would like a trial, bespoke workshop or to discuss this solution in more detail. Call 08456 808538 or email hello@cloudbusiness.com
View case study >
Windows Autopatch

Please sir, I’ve forgotten my login!

In this post Head of Education Services at Cloud Business explores common ICT challenges school IT managers face, and how to address them.
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microsoft purview

What is WiFi as a Service?

Many IT companies are offering their customers WiFi as a Service, also known as Managed WiFi. But what is it and what are the benefits of outsourcing your wireless network to an IT provider? In this post we explain all!

WiFi as a Service subscription service

Instead of having an onsite IT department designing, deploying and managing your WiFi network, WiFi as a Service outsources it to a team of WiFi experts.

Managed WiFi, wireless as a service or WaaS – whatever you want to call it – is a SaaS subscription-based service. In the past, designing, procuring, and installing a WiFi network was a CapEx investment, with maintenance, monitoring and upgrades falling to your IT team.

WiFi as a Service turns this investment into an operational expenditure, with monthly billing covering everything from RF surveys, network design, procurement and installation, to ongoing maintenance, network monitoring, upgrades and technology refresh*.

Benefits of WiFi as a Service

Budgeting is a key benefit of a Managed WiFi service. The desire to move away from CapEx investments to OpEx is a common reason for purchasing this service. However, there are other benefits including:

  • Provides on-demand upgradability
  • Enables limitless scalability
  • Facilitates predictable payment schedules
  • Aligns costs with consumption, increases capital efficiency
  • Eliminates business risk
  • Increases network security
  • Freedom from depreciation cycles and term commitments
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Enterprise financial ratio stability
  • Superior 24/7/365 support

Perhaps the greatest advantage is that it puts the responsibility for performance, maintenance, and risk management into the hands of highly experienced experts. Freeing up your IT team to focus on other priorities.

Security and WiFi as a Service

WiFi network security is a critical concern for all organisations. This involves implementing appropriate security controls, authenticating and tracking users and monitoring the network for potential breaches. 

As with any other security service or solution, it’s only as good as the people who deploy and manage it. If you don’t have the skills or sufficient resource internally, a Managed WiFi services gives you access to a team of experts to protect your WiFi networks and defend against threats.

Next generation technology

If you need to make changes to your WiFi network, WaaS makes it easy. For example, adding new access points to expand the area covered by your network is straightforward and the cost reflected in your monthly billing. 

Upgrading your wireless tech is also easy. Depending on your contract, your IT provider will manage the installation of new technology, replacing legacy, every 3 – 5 years.  

Is Managed WiFi a good fit for your organisation?

Any organisation that requires a high-performance WiFi network can get value from this service. However, it’s particularly beneficial for those organisations where a fast and reliable WiFi network is required across a large square footage.

Retail outlets and shopping centres, commercial buildings and coworking spaces, healthcare settings, university and schools, leisure and hospitality sites, and manufacturing premises and warehouses, are good examples of where WiFi as a Service delivers significant value.

If your organisation needs to provide wireless connectivity across a large site, with multiple users (employees, visitors, customers, contractors etc.), and if the impact of downtime, poor performance and WiFi dead spots affects the bottom-line, outsourcing may be your best option.

To find out more about WiFi as a Service or to speak to our team about whether it’s a good fit for you, click here >

*depending on the IT provider and what their WiFi as a Service scope

cloud telephony, Microsoft Teams

Supercharge remote working & save money with a cloud telephony system

Covid-19 and remote working has highlighted a key issue with traditional PBX telephone systems, they prevent rather than enable businesses agility. 

In recent weeks, employees have had to find workarounds that allow them to communicate with customers, suppliers and colleagues, such as using their personal mobile or requesting that communications are limited to email. Phone systems that are designed around closed networks and fixed locations, cannot deliver the agility and mobility needed now – and arguably will be needed for the foreseeable future. 

Cloud telephony resolves these issues and delivers more 

The cloud brings opportunities that enable businesses to communicate 21st century styleIn recent years we’ve seen interest in cloud telephony solutions increasing, but in recent weeks this interest has increased dramatically!  

Just as Covid-19 and widespread remote working has accelerated the adoption of digital collaboration tools like Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, suddenly customers are experiencing real-life use cases for cloud phone systems. 

As many businesses make decisions to take a remote-first approach to the modern workplace, cloud telephony is an important enabler during this pandemic:- and to drive future agility and mobility. 

Book a discovery workshop with Cloud Business to explore Microsoft Teams Business Voice > 

Cloud telephony for a post-Covid world 

Many businesses are moving their entire telephone systems to the cloud, doing away with the on-site infrastructure that a traditional phone system requires, and of course the associated expense of the initial setup, ongoing maintenance and potential upgrades. In addition, as hardware becomes out of date, it becomes increasingly expensive to maintain. 

However, there are voice cloud solutions that will integrate with existing on-premises systems – and so even businesses wanting to continue using an existing PBX system, handsets and phone system features can do so seamlessly 

Cloud voice solutions are available in various plans, creating flexibility to allow any business to take advantage of the benefits offeredSolutions can come complete with calling minutes included, or as a withoutcalling option, enabling businesses to source a telephony carrier of their choice – or use an existing PBX system 

Cloud voice solutions support a wide variety of devices. For those businesses wanting to continue with the classic desktop handset, no problem. But it’s worth noting that headsets are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in busy open-plan offices and in busy homes where employees are working alongside the rest of their family. Businesses can choose devices to suit their needs, and mix and match for individual employee preference.  

Another major benefit of moving telephony to the cloud is the ability to integrate with regularly used office toolsInstant messaging is a growing business phenomenon and bringing together chat, file sharing, and calling into one platform gives workforces the ultimate unified solutionhelping to enhance productivity. 

Over the last few months, we’ve supported a number of customers deploy Micrsoft Teams Business Voice, combining all the benefits of file sharing, instant messaging, video and audio conferencing with a unified cloud telephony solution. 

If you’re using Teams and would like to explore this option, we host regular discovery workshops to help you see whether it’s a good fit for your organisation, answer your questions and discuss different options. Click on the link below if you’d like to book one of these events. 

microsoft teams

Your modern workplace and the benefits of a cloud-based phone system

The last few months has seen many businesses have to find creative ways to manage day-to-day activities like their telephony systems.

Businesses with on-premise phone systems have found home working particularly challenging. Many sales teams have been using personal mobiles (and minutes) as work phone replacements; many receptionists have tried and failed to transfer calls remotely; and most employees have resorted to asking customers to email them instead.

At the same time, other companies may have been congratulating themselves for migrating their telephony systems to cloud-based phone solutions. A number of our customers have made this transition, either using direct routing or by going all in with a 100% cloud deployment. For these businesses a cloud-based phone solution has delivered significant benefits – especially with a remote workforce – which include cost savings and simplify technology.

As Microsoft Gold Partners our focus has been on deploying Microsoft 365 Business Voice for customers who want a cloud-based phone system specifically designed for SMBs. This solution has the added benefit of integrating into Microsoft Teams; creating an all-in-one communication solution delivered entirely through Microsoft’s reliable and trusted cloud.

For those companies who’ve deployed Microsoft 365 Business Voice it has proven to be a simple and cost-effective solution that’s supported their businesses through the pandemic, and will continue to support a digital, potentially remote-first, workplace into the future.

Book a Teams Business Voice workshop here >

If you’re new to Business Voice, here’s a snapshot of the key benefits for SMBs:

Working remotely with Business Voice

Businesses already set-up for cloud-based telephony have transitioned to remote working fairly smoothly. Their business phoneline operates as normal, existing phone numbers remain the same and employees make and answer calls from anywhere, on any device.

The integration with Teams means that calling, meetings, chat and files are all housed together in a single application, and Business Voice also includes audio conferencing so customers, vendors or suppliers can join a meeting using a dial-in number. Headsets, desk phones and other devices can be added to enable a more seamless set-up.

Reducing costs

In an ROI-driven world, reducing costs spent on technology is a priority. Using a cloud-based phone system like Business Voice can eliminate PBX maintenance costs, reduce support hours and eradicate upgrade fees. A recent Forrester study highlighted that 3 SMBs using Business Voice had saved over 30% in costs associated with PBXs.

Streamlining technology

Simplifying technology makes it easier for employees to use and easier for IT support to manage. Employees can enjoy a consistent Teams experience across all devices without needing to switch between software or systems. Business Voice integrated into Microsoft 365 offers a centralised set-up and management system housed within the wider M365 admin portal. As a complete cloud-based phone system delivered through Microsoft, Business Voice is secure and scalable to suit your business.

If you’re looking to improve your business’s remote working policy with a cloud-based phone system, or would like to save money and simplify your technology, Business Voice could be just what you need.

To explore this in more detail we host regular Microsoft Teams 365 Business Voice workshops (currently online) to explore this solution in depth. If you would like to join our next workshop please register your interest via the link below, or get in touch directly if you would like a trial, bespoke workshop or to discuss this solution in more detail.

Call 08456 808538 or email hello@cloudbusiness.com

Microsoft teams business voice workshop

Windows Autopatch

Please sir, I’ve forgotten my login!

Our experience in the education sector gives us some real insights into the key issues affecting IT departments in schools. It’s a challenging environment as on one hand there is a drive to equip schools with technology that will give students the best chance of meeting Government standards in maths, science and literacy; whereas on the other, schools have to manage tightening budgets and criticism that IT does not improve performance and results*. 

Key challenges of integrating ICT into education

As Head of Education Services at Cloud Business I share your pain! Talking to Heads of IT and Network Managers at schools on a daily basis I know that forgotten logins and updating software are the least of your concerns.

Are any of these challenges familiar…?

IT infrastructure

Many schools are faced with legacy issues as old PCs, laptops and servers are no longer fit for purpose. The problem is knowing where to invest IT budgets to get the best ROI, and having realistic expectations about the longevity of your school’s IT infrastructure. This is an education process in itself, as often members of the school Board do not appreciate that IT infrastructure is an on-going investment, here lies the reason for your legacy issues… Getting a high level of IT investment is the first hurdle; the next is keeping that investment current through replenishment.

Many schools are looking at alternatives to making large investments in IT infrastructure. For example, leasing IT equipment with a five-year replacement cycle and / or moving infrastructure into the cloud. Our experience with schools like Little Heath in Berkshire, whose ICT infrastructure is fully virtualised, is that there are clear savings to be made by reducing the total cost of ownership of IT estate, and moving to a more flexible and scalable virtual solution. This removes the problem, and cost, of running and updating platforms out of the school’s ICT estate.

Mindset challenge: For some School Boards the concept of reducing the school’s ICT estate and having monthly service fees for a virtual solution instead, is a hard to grasp. Network managers need to be able to demonstrate that the total cost of ownership of purchasing, running and maintaining IT infrastructure can be far higher than utilising virtualisation. If your school is looking to partner with an IT service provider, they will be able to provide you with this evidence.

Internet connectivity

Broadband connectivity continues to be a major challenge for schools, even after incentives such as the Harnessing Technology Grants that was available a decade ago. The difference between connectivity experienced in the home environment compared to school can be marked, with students and staff finding that poor performance prevents them from using technology effectively. We hear of teachers aborting attempts to get online during lessons and students making slow progress when using the school’s WiFi. Furthermore poor bandwidth also impacts on school admin systems such as payment and catering systems.

The problem is that many schools have insufficient bandwidth that causes overloading issues and WiFi blackspots. Many schools would benefit from new access points, continuous monitoring of the network and failover services to maintain connectivity at all times, ensuring that demand from end users is managed and bandwidth is controlled.

While an ICT technician could not be expected to do this, as well as managing all the other demands on their time; this is a key area that could be outsourced to a managed service provider and have a real impact on teaching and user experience within the school.

CPD and training

A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)* published in 2015 suggests that investing heavily in school computers and technology does not improve performance and results. Controversial stuff. However, in defense of ICT suites around the country one of key problems for schools looking to accelerate learning with technology is training.

Or the lack of.

In a British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) 2011 report, 54% of secondary and 45% of primary schools thought that more than half of their teachers still needed training to use digital content; while 71% of primary and 68% of secondary schools thought more than half their staff needed training in learning platforms.

Training costs money, but it’s essential if the investment in technology is to deliver the results desired. While those teachers who deliver Computing Science in schools naturally require regular CPD, in an arena that is constantly evolving all staff need training to enable them to get the most out of technology.

Safeguarding

Another important issue for schools is that of safeguarding students whilst also allowing them access to the Internet, email accounts and other digital networks. At Little Heath School, Cloud Business closely monitor network access as part of our network management service. A diligent and robust approach to security is required and also includes monitoring of Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD). Many schools benefit from students using their own smartphones or tablets, rather than the school’s own equipment, and these need to become part of e-safety policies.

Schools may have robust e-safety strategies in place but should be aware of this rapidly changing landscape. Students are often the first to access to new digital technology and platforms before the school is even aware of them, and so safeguarding requires a very proactive approach.

If you school are looking to partner with an IT managed service provider – safeguarding and security should be high on the agenda.

How to address these ICT challenges

There are no easy answers when the solutions generally require funding, but there may be better ways to manage your IT budget and deliver value for your school, students and staff.

  • Virtualisation can be a very cost effective solution reducing the cost of ownership of desktop infrastructure, applications and servers, and removing the problem of legacy IT;
  • Leasing computers also offers many benefits, again removing the issue of outdated hardware;
  • Sharing technical support among a group of schools. We’re increasingly seeing schools with good IT provision supporting feeder schools and other partnership schools in this way;
  • Managed service desk is a good solution for those schools who do not have on-site IT support all the time, ensuring that IT issues are addressed quickly without disrupting teaching. It can also help free up IT departments’ time allowing those key members of staff to focus on more productive areas of their role;
  • Training is essential if you are to get value from your IT assets. If you can save money, and time, by using some of the solutions above you could focus more on training and supporting teachers in the classroom.

To talk about how Cloud Business can help your school implement, run and maintain IT in a cost effective, flexible and responsive way, please get in touch.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34174796

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