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How Microsoft Teams Is Changing Remote Work

Enterprises around the world are implementing cloud-based unified communications services to improve collaboration, enable anywhere access, contain technology costs, and secure business continuity. 

The recent health crisis has dramatically accelerated this transition and bolstered Microsoft Teams’ position as the leading cloud collaboration platform. Microsoft reported 75 million daily active users in April 2020, generating more than 900 million meeting and calling minutes daily — and those numbers continue to grow.

The appeal is obvious: Teams offers tight integration with the Office 365 applications many workers are already familiar with, as well as tools for workgroup document collaboration, instant messaging, and internal voice and video conferencing. In fact, Teams is part of a fundamental shift in the way traffic flows across the distributed enterprise.  

We’ve moved away from the model where communications were largely confined to the enterprise core, and traffic was backhauled from remote and branch offices to a central data center across a private WAN. 

Today, ever-increasing volumes of remote office and branch office traffic flow over the public internet. It’s not fair to say this traffic is less secure per se, but this model inherently increases the risk of breaches. Organizations need multiple layers of security to prevent unauthorized access from a larger array of threats.

Beyond the corporate walls

As we use Teams to collaborate more, we initiate those engagements from more places, and use Teams to reach beyond our corporate walls to customers, vendors and partners. Microsoft Teams Direct Routing provides the IP-based connection to a communication service provider for dial tone (AKA SIP Trunks). Direct Routing allows Teams users to gain access to business phone system features to make and receive calls from their computers, smartphones, or Teams phones. Direct Routing also helps preserve the user’s business identity to the outside world, with outbound calls carrying the company’s Caller ID information instead of a personal cell phone number. 

To implement Teams Direct Routing, Microsoft requires the use of a certified Session Border Controller (SBC) and that’s where Ribbon comes in. Ribbon offers the broadest portfolio of SBCs certified for Microsoft Direct Routing. We deliver our Teams-certified solutions from the Azure Marketplace as a virtualized software image, as cost-effective hardware, or as a piece of carrier-grade, high-availability hardware that supports 150,000 concurrent conversations. 

Security and continuity

Regardless of the platform, Ribbon’s solutions come with two decades of experience securing IP-based communications, with tools to improve voice quality, and bring robust access to reporting and administration.  Ribbon also has multiple options for local survivability due to WAN, cloud, and PSTN outages. We also support e911 to ensure employees are protected under the worst circumstances.

Ribbon also understands that not every organization will move exclusively to Teams Calling. We have multiple ways to integrate Teams with an existing PBX or contact center. As an example, our SBC 1000 and EdgeMarc 6000 provide services like simultaneous ringing and physical interfaces (FXO, FXS, and T1/E1 ports) to connect legacy devices and extend local survivability services.

As the threat plane for IP-based communications continues to expand, Ribbon is investing to protect Teams users. The breadth and depth of our solutions is expanding to meet a changing world, while keeping users connected from anywhere.

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