When business and IT leaders think about moving their contact centers (or customer engagement centers) into the public cloud, the first thing that often comes to their minds is the control they’ll be giving up. But often, the improved contact center functionality and high availability they get in return is far more valuable.

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It is completely understandable that an organization might be hesitant to hand over the reins of its contact center infrastructure. When systems are housed on-premises, people tend to think that they have the ability to guarantee uptime. But the truth is that cloud contact centers tend to be much more insulated from the factors that cause downtime in the first place.

Here are four ways that the public cloud can improve availability and uptime for enterprise contact centers.

1. Fewer Points of Potential Failure

Although it may seem more secure to have contact center infrastructure housed locally, a surprising number of problems can lead to downtime, including LAN issues, human errors related to configuration or other processes, hardware failures, WAN outages, distributed denial of service attacks, interoperability issues and, of course, natural disasters. Moving a contact center to the cloud effectively lowers the number of things that can go wrong.

2. Redundant Connectivity

Many organizations invest in a second connection to the internet to serve as a backup in case the first connection is somehow severed. However, cloud contact center providers offer unparalleled redundancy, sometimes setting up connections through as many as 15 different carriers. With so many redundant connections, it is highly unlikely that an internet connection will become a point of failure. Potential customers should, of course, do their due diligence. Any cloud contact center provider will report, in some way, about its service level. But it’s up to the customer to dig a little deeper — finding out, for instance, how a vendor defines uptime. It is also important to determine whether uptime metrics are calculated by the vendor companies themselves, or whether an external third party validates the numbers.

3. Third-Party Integrations

Contact centers are not stand-alone systems. They also need to access resources such as enterprise resource management or electronic medical record systems, depending on the vertical. During normal times, organizations with on-premises systems are typically able to support these integrations without much of a problem. But when the unexpected hits — as it did in early 2020, when organizations were forced to send most of their employees to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic — it can be a challenge to provide this access. By contrast, a cloud contact center provider will typically take care of these integrations, ensuring that systems work as expected.

4. Location Independence

This is another benefit that was thrown into sharp relief when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Because cloud contact centers can be accessed via an employee’s login credentials from virtually anywhere with an internet connection, these systems provide easy location independence if a physical office needs to be evacuated due to a natural disaster or other threat. When your employees can do their jobs from home, from a coffee shop or even from their cars, you have unlocked a whole new level of contact center availability.