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Skype Outage Highlights Consumer App Reliance

The 15-hour outage of Skype on Monday has highlighted the weaknesses of businesses relying on applications intended for personal consumer use, says Outsourcery. Small and medium sized organisations in particular have left themselves vulnerable as they have struggled to keep pace with new communication technologies.

James Henigan, Chief Operating Officer at the UK-based Cloud Services Provider, commented “For many smaller organisations, the blur between personal devices used by employees and office-sanctioned communication tools has meant an increased reliance on consumer apps in the business environment. It is common to see employees using their own personal Skype accounts to make business calls when by doing so, they are not only restricted in functionality but also put data security at risk. The outage of Skype in the last few days has also demonstrated that service reliability, while fine for a free personal-use app, just isn’t of a high enough standard in the business world.”

Skype for Business – Microsoft’s newest Unified Communications offering and the latest iteration of the product formerly named Lync – has many distinct advantages which differentiate it from the consumer Skype product: a financially backed SLA agreement, high resiliency with an uptime of 99.99%, business-grade security, and functionality that enables the integration across the Microsoft product suite and with legacy solutions to create hybrid environments. It is also possible to choose a provider to guarantee where data will be stored in order to ensure data sovereignty, whereas using the consumer Skype product means data could be almost anywhere in the world.

Outsourcery’s Henigan concluded “The fact is that enterprise-grade applications are needed for a reason. Skype is great for consumers but it should not be confused with the far superior capabilities and functionality of its enterprise-grade cousin and the latest in Microsoft’s business productivity suite Skype for Business. Organisational productivity and data security have both suffered in recent days and IT leaders should use the Skype outage to highlight and tackle the issue of consumer-based applications in the workplace.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine