K-12 and higher education institutions are being challenged to offer the modern communication and collaboration capabilities students and other stakeholders expect. At the same time, the COVID-19 crisis has required institutions to rapidly scale up distant learning capabilities, leaving education leaders scrambling to provide students and teacher the same collaborative environment they are used to in the classroom. The pandemic has also brought long-standing concerns about emergency communications to the forefront, including the need for institutions to provide real-time information to students, staff and the community at large. Trying to add the capabilities that support these efforts would strain already taxed legacy unified communication management (UCM) systems. This issue brief outlines the advantages of a cloud-based UCM solution and explains why forward-looking institutions are turning to it to meet the collaboration demands of today and scale for the future.