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The CIO and CSO’s guide to WebRTC in the enterprise

Brad Roldan Brad Roldan
Brad Roldan
Sitting man in american flag shirt using smartphone and laptop

We’ve all heard it. WebRTC is disrupting telecom in ways that we could only hope for with the promise of Unified Communications and multi-device presence that never really caught on in the last decade for the masses. Whether or not you believe WebRTC solutions are ready to drive value into your enterprise communications platforms, there is no denying that major players are working hard to either defend their position in online collaboration, or making valiant attempts to drive communications in ways not economically possible before.

For the CIO and CSO of a company chartered with enabling the workforce with technology while protecting corporate secrets, the rapid shift to cloud-based, peer-to-peer, communications can be alarming. While every enterprise has a different profile for risk, four are common elements that we all think about:

Enterprise value

Your communications platform is a key enabler of Enterprise value. Unlike email, social media or print advertising, your communication’s platform brings a human element to customer conversations. In nearly all cases, the very nature of an enterprise business requires access to the PSTN to effectively communicate with the a myriad of vendors and customers that are only reachable by a phone number.

Enabling any knowledge worker to untether from a physical desk without the need for an expensive smartphone or complex BYOD scheme can fundamentally change where and when a knowledge worker can engage with others.

Moving live communications to a web browser can be a powerful enabler, but is it enough?

Access control

Every business is putting an high level of trust in its employees every time a phone call is made.One of the key challenges is controlling access to your corporate phone system. The lure of increased productivity with a “work anywhere, anytime” culture is can easily be offset if there is no method to link access to a single trusted authentication source, like a your corporate Active Directory or LDAP server.

In many scenarios, corporations must manage user access through disjointed, vendor-specific, management platforms. Ask yourself – when an employee leaves, can access to corporate resources be locked down in one click?

Audit trails and compliance

Mature organizations and those hoping to be mature organizations must all contend with regional rules and regulations. Most common among businesses are requirements imposed by SOX (Sarbanes Oxley), PCI-DSS, and HIPAA. While each regulation seeks to protect investors, consumers, and businesses in fundamentally different ways, there is a single commonality. Access to information must be controlled (who can access) and verifiable through audit trails. A similar rule exists for

As you enable PSTN calls through a web browser, you’ll want to know more than just a “from” and “to” number. You’ll want to know who made that call and where. These questions are easy to answer for people with fix desk phone and even mobile phones. The question starts to get more challenging when your communications platform can be accessed from web browser, anywhere in the world.

Investment protection

Whether you’ve moved your communications to the cloud or still hosting your own on-prem equipment, how does a WebRTC solution compliment what you have today. No one wants a “rip and replace” solution for a technology that is still maturing. Rather, the sensible approach is a path that allows for integration into existing, stable infrastructure. An augmentation.

Anyone evaluating a WebRTC solution for the enterprise must seriously consider the potential investment of time and capital relative to the value already derived from existing infrastructure.

Where does Bandwidth fit in the picture?

At Bandwidth, we’re working closely with innovators to advance potentially disruptive technologies into stable, mature services that enterprises can count on.

Is WebRTC really ready for the broad enterprise? Probably not for most, but we see incredible value and potential unlocked for the right use case. Anyone can setup a simple WebRTC implementation between two parties on compatible web browsers. The real challenge connecting these endpoints in a secure manner to the rest of the world that uses phone numbers; the very place where business communications still happens today. Whether you are an up and coming disruptor or a Fortune 500, Bandwidth is ultimately your gateway to connect your core communications platform to the rest of the world.