Attempting to find the best call recording software for your business can be a daunting task. There are a lot of options out there, add the number of businesses offering call recording and throw in the misperception of on premises vs. cloud based call recording, it can become a confusing task.
As Voice over IP or VoIP technology continues to develop, it is becoming the go-to phone solution for many small to medium-sized businesses. Implementation costs are going down and setup is getting quicker and easier. Cloud based call recording is included by many hosted VoIP providers for a small service fee, but do not assume apples to apples when comparing it to an on premises call recording solution.
This post will clarify the differences between call recording solutions that are in the cloud compared to those that are dedicated to on premises solutions by breaking down the differences between the two in terms of security, features, storage, changing phone providers, integration and costs.
What is a cloud based call recording solution?
The term “Cloud” may be viewed as a misnomer because digital services and data storage does not physically exist in the atmosphere. Digital data and services are stored and administered within a network server, or several network servers, located in a datacenter that exists on the ground. The term Cloud actually refers to services and software users receive via the internet as opposed to locally on their computer system or within their company’s network. The software or service may be accessed through a website browser or a software application installed on a device. A call recording solution may be a software application that exists on the cloud and subscribers to the software may access it through a common interface such as a web browser.
What is an on premises call recording solution?
On premises solutions include equipment, software programs or both that are purchased by a user or business and is managed by the purchaser. This typically means the software, equipment or both are stored and running locally within the company grounds. On premises solutions also require that the purchaser be responsible for equipping the appropriate security, maintaining and updating the technology. An on premises call recording solution may be the call recording software installed on the on premises server.
The blurry line between cloud based and on premises.
While generally a cloud based application simply refers to software using service models associated with cloud applications, such as: SaaS (Software as service), PaaS (Platform as Service) or IaaS (Infrastructure as service). It can also refer to application or device deployed in a virtualized environment. Company provided cloud, so to speak.
Cloud Deployment models commonly defined as:
• Private Cloud – cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization
• Public Cloud – delivered over the public Internet,
• Hybrid cloud – the combination of above. See Cloud-computing comparison
When our customers ask “What is better, Cloud based call recorder or on premises call recorder?”, we have to answer: “The best solution is the one that offers the best outcome/value for you.” You are not selecting a deployment model; you are selecting a solution for your needs. The most important criterion for your call recorder is the ability to record calls from the devices/lines that you need to record. A deployment model is secondary. What you can record with an on premises recorder is often not possible to record with cloud based one and vice versa.
Versadial call recorder deployment models by different recording scenarios and recorded inputs.
|Recorded Input||Configuration scenarios||Deployment model||Deployment Notes|
|Analog/PSTN lines, ISDN PRI and BRI||Scenario 1, 3, 4, 6, 7||On premises||Require close proximity to recorded lines|
|Passive VoIP||Scenarios 2, 5, 6, 15,16||-On premises|
|Require close proximity to recorded SPAN/Mirror|
|Active recording, VoIP||Scenarios 8,9, 10,12,13,14,17,18,19||On premises|
|Require Network accessibility to the recorder|
Security: The cloud is not a cloud.
Data security should be a priority for all companies. Implementing a secure data system is a highly complex task and keeping data secure is another responsibility that continues to become more challenging every day. It is tempting for business managers to turn to the cloud and farm out the responsibility of data security to a third party. Business managers that choose this path should ask themselves: “How secure is my data on this third-party platform?”
Business managers are relying on the vendor to maintain the security on the system when they choose an off premises, or cloud based, call recording solution. The company’s data would be stored at the datacenter provided by the vendor. These datacenters could reside in the USA or in other countries such as India, China, or other locations. Companies that choose a cloud based third party call recording may share resources with other clients of the service provider. It is best for business managers to research the service provider first and ensure they are following proper compliance and best security practices before choosing an off premises service.
With an on premises server, there is complete control over access. The company manages the security of the architecture and the quality of the security relies upon the expertise of the business manager or the employee hired to maintain the system. The company may tailor several factors such as compliance policies, external access can be blocked entirely and the data can be made accessible only within the intranet. Restrictions and security protocols can be tightly controlled because the company only needs to provide access to their internal users, are not concerned with providing a server environment that needs to accommodate a wider audience and other companies access to the same server. The greatest benefit is that all data resides in-house. This mitigates the risk of losing or missing out on data due to internet service outages or poor-quality third-party cloud service providers.
It all comes back to the value of the data. Storing phone calls in the “cloud” will pose a higher risk than opting for an on premises solution.
Features: What can I do with all these recordings?
When a hosted VoIP provider offers call recording, it is usually an add-on to the phone system itself. The features provided with the included call recorder are typically basic in nature (search and play-back).
Their focus is providing phone service, an IVR system, managing phone extensions and groups, and not necessarily a focus on recording the calls, and for that matter, not focused on providing a user interface to interact with recorded calls.
In comparison, on premises call recording companies focus solely on call recording as their primary function. The user interface is designed around call recording and not on accessing settings to your PBX or auto attendant. Playback of calls is done within the software with no downloading. Calls can be live-monitored, edited, muted, flagged, noted, scored for quality control, emailed, extracted, and more. Typically, the user interface and functionality of on premises solution is designed to provide the best call recording software experience and interaction with the recorded calls.
Storage of all your calls
Due to the limited storage on hosted call recorders, providers limit the number of calls that can be retained on their servers. Companies subscribing to their service have to periodically perform a mass download of all the calls for a given period, in fear that the call recordings will eventually be removed. As a result, business managers typically end up with a huge folder of randomly downloaded and stored calls and no user interface to search and sort for specific recordings.
An on premises recorder stores all calls locally. Hard drive space is only limited to what is installed in the original server, and many times, the software can auto-archive the recordings to networked hard drives. This creates virtually unlimited storage. Additionally, depending on the type of on premises solution chosen, users can always access and search the calls with the call recording user interface. This allows unlimited access to the company’s call recordings and the ability to run past searches and reports on years of stored data.
Typically, the best call recording software providers allocate enough storage to meet a company’s specific requirements, be it 6 months of retention to 20 years of retention. Storage of these calls as well as maintaining an easy way to track down specific calls should be an important consideration when purchasing.
Changing Phone Providers/Systems
Hosted phone providers are not in limited supply. A quick google search will show businesses have many options when it comes to phone and service providers. A business may choose Company A as their service provider only to discover a year or two later the service is not meeting their expectations. Thus, changing to another hosting phone provider becomes a priority. However, the business is now limited to looking for a phone provider that also provides call recording if the business were recording with Company A. Additionally, calls stored on Company A will need to be removed and downloaded on premises. Storing and then later accessing such recordings may prove to be a bit of a burden.
Contrast with an on premises recorder, changing phone systems is a fairly easy and straight forward task. If the business was already recording, Company A’s service change to Company B is a simple reconfiguration of the on premises call recording solution. Additionally, the business is not limited by only choosing a hosted provider, it may decide to bring the phone system in-house, and by doing so, changing on premises recorder over is also a simple matter of reconfiguration. With an on premises recorder, businesses are not tied to a specific phone provider, thus, an on premises recording solution provides more flexibility to businesses with in the future.
Integration With Other Software
Businesses that want to integrate with other internal systems, such as a CRM or accounting software may find a hosted call recording solution limited as to how they integrate. If the CRM or software is already on premises, trying to integrate with cloud software may prove challenging. As mentioned before, most cloud based call recording solutions are considered an afterthought and not the main product line. Thus, built-in API’s may not be available, nor a dedicated staff that works on customer integration with third-party software.
On premises call recording is designed to be available to other third-party software because APIs are typically readily available. Since call recording is the main product line, there usually is a dedicated department geared towards custom development for integration.
The cloud is not be as private as most people think. Government agencies send thousands of requests for information to Google and Microsoft each year which they comply without the knowledge of their customers. Information requests by government agencies have been growing every year and are made public to be viewed on Google’s Global requests for user information page and Microsoft’s Law Enforcement Requests Report. Using a small cloud vendor will not prevent government agencies from acquiring the data because governments have requested information from them and, as the smaller players, are more willing to give up the information than to engage the services of their high-profile attorney to stop such action.
Costs vary from hosted to on premises because there is a plethora of factors. Most hosted call recording can be a lower entry point. The cost is typically a month-to-month expenditure, rather than an initial capital investment for on premises solutions. Additionally, the servers are maintained by a third party for hosted call recording. However, with the steady reduction in the cost of hardware, the cost for maintaining a server has gone down. In fact, the cost of in-house hardware is significantly less when compared to an equivalent cloud-based server.
Although a subscription model is appealing because of the low initial cost business manager must bear in mind that this cost is continuous. In addition, the hosted company has the ability to raise their rates at their discretion. On premises solutions also may offer a subscription model or term license model, however; most offer a one-time fee. Thus, the licenses are owned once purchased and the recorder will continue to operate as long as the server is properly maintained. Hosted subscription based offerings are designed to turn a profit for the hosting company over time and, typically over a period of 3-5 years, a business will have put more money into a hosted subscription solution than a one-time purchase solution.
Therefore, hosted and on premises have their pluses and minuses when it comes to costs. However, such differences can be overcome depending on the type of purchase options the call recording provider has as well as how the internal IT operations are managed.
When searching for the best call recording software providers, solely based on cost alone, a company may end up paying more. If the recording solution does not offer all of the previously mentioned features and support, the company may end up choosing a solution that is not the right fit long term and be right back purchasing a new system.
Cloud based vs On premises
Is on premises or cloud based call recording the better technology? The table below illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of both technologies.
|Affordability||Initial upfront costs are lower. Monthly costs typically take form as subscription fees which include maintenance and support reducing employee manpower costs.|
This may appear to be an advantage, however; the long-term costs may be more in total if the business would have purchased an on premises solution from the beginning.
|Initial installation fees may be higher however; the cost may even out over time. Companies that plan to stay in business for a long period of time should calculate and consider the long-term savings|
|Customization||Cloud based solutions often do not include customizable options. Subscribers often must use a default, or off the shelf, application.||Businesses have more control over on premises applications. This allows them to customize applications much more than a cloud-based system.|
|Access and Performance||Requires a connection to the internet. If internet services become offline, access to the application will not be available. If the internet connection is poor, it will affect the quality of the recording.||Runs independently and does not require access to the internet.|
|Storage Flexibility||Limited to the hosted provider. If the company chooses another phone service provider, the calls must be migrated to the new system.||On premises recorders store all calls locally. This allows businesses to switch phone providers without loss of data or ease of access.|
|Storage Surge Costs||Rapid scaling of cloud storage may become costly. The more space a business consumes, the higher the cost. If storage is not monitored and data is not reduced, storage fees may surge quickly.||An on premises recorder stores all calls locally. Hard drive space is only limited to what the business has in the original server, and many times, the software can auto-archive the recordings to networked hard drives which create virtually unlimited storage.|
|Security||When working with a cloud-based solution, the company is entrusting the provider to keep the data secure. This runs the risk of unauthorized personnel accessing the data.||There is a lower probability an attacker will be able to infiltrate and siphon data in an on premises solution. The business may also install additional protection tools greater than a cloud-based system can provide.|
The Best Call Recording Software – Conclusion:
Versadial Solutions receives a lot of inquiries from businesses who initially added call recording as an add-on by their provider. Some are happy with the outcome and feel that a simple recording add-on is suitable to meet their business needs. Others feel the usage is limited and cumbersome and they expect more from the call recorder to improve their customer service, reduce liability and boost their overall business productivity.
Choose the solution that fits the needs of the company. First, select a call recording solution which is capable to record calls from the devices/lines that you need to record. Second, select deployment model(s) which offers the best outcome/value for you. Next, make sure that a call recording solution vendor provides a vast compatibility and deployment flexibility in case your specific needs change. Let’s say you changed phone system model or telephone service provider. Now imagine pleasant surprise to find out that you can reuse your current call recorder, as opposed to shopping for new one.
Last Updated on October 21, 2021