Regardless of what browser your website visitor, or what device your application user chooses to connect with your business, you want the experience to be both convenient and secure. The purpose of live chat is to provide that kind of flexible online communication.
Being a natively web-based form of communication, from an IT perspective live chat software must be evaluated by three considerations above all others: availability, security, and agility.
- Availability – can I rely on it to function despite disasters, high volume/usage, etc.?
- Security – can I rely on it to transmit and store data without compromising compliance or creating vulnerabilities?
- Agility – can it help me stay current with industry regulations, technological capabilities, best practice, etc.?
Live Chat Software Availability
Most cloud-based live chat providers will have their software hosted on an industry-standard solution like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. Because of the scale at which these providers operate, it’s very easy for live chat software vendors to accommodate periods of intense activity for your business without having to pay continually for that high capacity during times of less intense usage. Similarly, in the event of a natural disaster, it is easy for the provider to “failover” to another, backup server in a different location to ensure minimal disruption to your business.
While an on-premise solution certainly offers greater control to your IT team (and to the vendor), it cannot compete with cloud-based software in terms of fast, affordable, flexible operations.
Live Chat Software Security
Last year Computer World acknowledged that, while it may psychologically feel less secure to have business data transmitted through and stored on a public cloud, it’s actually the means of access rather than the location of the data that matters most. In terms of access, Network World notes that cloud-based hosting reduces the “surface area” vulnerable to penetration attacks as compared to on-premise hosting. Moreover, by virtue of their business purpose, public cloud providers (e.g., Microsoft Azure) invest a considerable amount of budget and expertise into getting security right, likely beyond the resources of an IT team supporting a legacy system.
Live Chat Software Agility
Whether it’s patching a bug, or pushing out a product enhancement, there’s no long download and install period required for each user when Velaro is updated. After a software update is released (which occurs no less frequently than quarterly for most vendors, and no less frequently than monthly for Velaro), end-users (e.g., chat agents) only need to login, as they always do, to have immediate access to the fully updated software product.
In addition to equipping your users with the latest in software capabilities, this is an effective, convenient way to ensure the software you use to communicate with current and prospective customers doesn’t jeopardize your continued compliance, as the vendor takes care of compliance-related updates for you on the backend.
It seems increasingly the enterprise market is moving in this direction. Gartner had said by end of 2020, “no-cloud” will be as rare as “no-internet.” Given the affordability, scalability, security, and agility of cloud-based solutions, this is not surprising.