Why you should be paying careful attention to comms compliance

When I talk to enterprises about their communications strategy, most tell me they’re well on their way to embracing the cloud.

They’re sold on the benefits and understand the table stakes a provider must bring – in terms of operational efficiency, agility, flexibility, and network capabilities – to present a viable alternative to legacy carriers and the PSTN.

But one conversation that still causes friction is around the ‘C’ word that puts the jitters in any enterprise decision-maker: Compliance.

Sure, from technical and financial perspectives, cloud communications plays are a breath of fresh air for businesses accustomed to working with partners in the mean old world of legacy telecoms. As-a-service models enable real-time provisioning, offloaded infrastructure management, and instant global scale.

On these topics, you’ll find plenty of providers that talk a good game. Take away the compliance piece, though, and you’re sure to come unstuck.

The migraine-inducing effects of non-compliance

Instant global scale sounds great on paper, but without cast-iron guarantees of long-term service stability, it’s just another bullet point in a sales presentation.

What does working with a non-compliant provider look like for enterprises? Worst-case scenario, we’re talking service disconnections without warning that affect entire markets with dreaded downtime, not to mention the possibility of lost phone numbers.

Just imagine a customer dialing your number only to be told their call cannot be completed.

The implications for customer experience and brand advocacy are as obvious as they are terrifying. It’s no different than your website going down for every customer — actual and potential — in a particular country.

You’re faced with the unwanted task of migrating to a new provider in a mad dash to minimize downtime. Enterprises just can’t afford to deal with service disconnections or lost numbers.

And yet, these are not hypothetical scare stories I’m telling to keep you up at night. This is very much the reality for many of the businesses I speak with when they migrate to the cloud.

A gordian knot of compliance

It’s not hard to see why cloud communications providers typically lag on compliance. Like any new industry driven by disruption, technology tends to outpace the ability of lawmakers to keep up.

But regulators have a habit of getting there eventually. Just look at the myriad legal challenges facing leading disruptors in the sharing economy. In communications, it’s the same, and regulations are only getting tighter, especially in the EU and Asia.

Building compliant communications infrastructure and services in a single market takes years of dealing with local regulators and huge legal expertise in the peculiarities of a given territory.

It’s no small undertaking. Doing it across five, 10, 15, 20, 50 or more countries? That’s a headache that most providers don’t want, especially in the heavily regulated markets that tend to offer global businesses the best avenues for new growth.

Incumbents are happy to focus on the country or region where they best know the lay of the land and buy coverage in other places like anyone else.

Cloud providers typically don’t have the legal frameworks or relationships with regulators and carriers in place to establish the requisite levels of compliance on a global scale, no matter how attractive their technical credentials.

Building on a compliant foundation

Bandwidth lives at the intersection of compliance and technology. It’s taken us 15 years to build a fully-compliant footprint of enterprise-grade services in 65+ markets – providing instant, compliant, and global scale for contact centers, business telephony, conferencing platforms, and embedded communications.

Our compliance-as-a-service model gives you everything you need to run compliant telecoms out of the box.

How can we help?

Bandwidth’s unique Compliance Operations team can help minimize your regulatory burden at global scale with local regulatory knowledge in 65+ countries.