Before the existence of the internet there were not too many methods of communicating in a fast and efficient way.
If you were not face to face with a person, you would make a telephone call or perhaps write a letter and although we still use the telephone, or more favourably in the last 10 years, our mobile phones, letters are becoming much more of a legacy way to formally communicate.
With emails, it is an almost instant receipt, much unlike the use of paper letters, hence the reason for many businesses to migrate to a “paperless” office, which of course has its own advantages and disadvantages. With voice communication, if the intended contact was not available at that specific moment, a voicemail or answer-phone message was left. A significant improvement to this is the use of email messages that can be sent through to a user notifying them of their missed call. This is a major step forward from the previous voicemail approach and now there are even text-transcription-emails whereby the voice message you leave is actually transcribed into text and emailed to the intended recipient. Continuing with the importance of email communication, when a user logs in to their PC, a categorical list of messages are available (rather than sifting through paper mail-in trays) which can also be stored and filed for as long as is required. This can be achieved via simple web-hosted email, or more advanced Exchange Email using Business Servers.
Email communication is in essence, a much easier and more manageable way to communicate with the world and undoubtedly the most important and fastest way for businesses to communicate.
With the increasing development of mobile integration over the last 5 years, emails can now be sent and received from mobile devices, which is extremely necessary when away from the office. For businesses, having a way to communicate with staff, customers and contacts whilst using the ability to synchronise with their PC email client is also a useful and practical tool to stay connected in an organised way.
Moving forward with technology and the internet, documents and emails can be shared and accessed using local server networking, Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections and remote working. With more savvy businesses realising the need to move to a server infrastructure enables all company information to be stored and accessed without infringing on confidentiality or security.
Of course, the growing concern about the internet is security and people often wonder if their data will be safe from unauthorised access to it. However, security on the internet is forever growing with bigger and more sophisticated ways to protect you and your information by such technologies as firewalls, proxy servers and again VPN. Other worries are that data may be lost or significant industry-specific retention and archiving periods are not maintained, however enterprise-level backups can be implemented at a local or network level for any size budget and can be set to meet both a user, company or regulative-body need.
The use of social networking is also an effective and fast-growing-respected method of communication, especially due to that fact that companies and individuals can socialise online for free and more importantly to businesses, companies can advertise to a vast audience extremely quickly. Of course, social networking opens up its own world of privacy and security issues which is becoming ever more evident in recent twitter-related news stories.
Ultimately, the way people communicate today is within the digital framework and although it is important not to forget the days when postal strikes and mail delays brought businesses to standstill, it is important to understand that the requirements to sustain our increasing dependency on electronic communication will mean more advanced levels of security, faster and higher rates of infrastructure implementation and more pressure on IT companies to ensure data and communication is safeguarded without impacting on future scalability and performance.