Business phone systems have evolved dramatically from their humble beginnings as rudimentary private branch exchange (PBX) systems to automated switchboards in the 1970s and time-division multiplexing systems introduced in the 1980s, and they remain popular today. However, the internet has facilitated the development of a new generation of phone systems that leverage cloud computing to provide a flexible and feature-rich service.
Today, there are numerous systems available, and businesses must take care to choose the right one for their needs. On-premises phone systems continue to offer unparalleled security and reliability but come with higher upfront costs, while cloud-based systems do not require a big initial investment and offer greater scalability.
Understanding Cloud-Based Phone Systems
A cloud-based phone system, also known as cloud or virtual PBX, is a type of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system that is used on a cloud-based IP network. The business’s phone system is hosted in the cloud.
Calls are made and received using IP or mobile phones, with the voice traffic being carried across the internet connection rather than the copper cables or optical fibers used for making connections in traditional analog phone systems.
The Benefits Of Cloud-Based Phone Systems
There are numerous benefits awaiting businesses that choose cloud-based phone systems, from scalability and cost efficiency to advanced features and seamless integration.
Scalability & Flexibility
One of the biggest draws of this type of system is how efficiently it can be scaled as the business grows. It only requires adding new users rather than purchasing additional hardware as one would with traditional phone systems. For businesses that are experiencing or expecting rapid growth, cloud-based phone systems are a highly adaptable choice. They can also scale down easily as business needs change.
Meanwhile, their flexible features and options enable them to easily accommodate remote workers as well as those who must make frequent phone calls while out in the field. Some system service providers offer free apps that enable employees to use their smartphones as extensions for calling.
A cloud-based phone system presents an excellent way for businesses to reduce their operational costs. Because the phone service takes place entirely over the internet and is managed off site, businesses do not have to invest in telecommunications infrastructure or find places to store it.
Instead, their upfront investment is limited to the IP phones employees use. Cloud-based phone systems are offered on a subscription basis, which provides businesses with greater predictability and budget control.
Advanced Features & Integration
Cloud-based phone systems offer a range of modern features. For example, auto attendant features allow these phones to serve as virtual receptionists that can answer and transfer incoming calls to the right extensions and departments. Call routing, block and allow lists, and voicemail transcription can also make businesses more productive and reduce employee burnout.
Seamless Integration With Other Cloud-Based Applications & Services
Cloud-based phone systems can streamline a business’s entire communications process because they can be integrated seamlessly with everything from helpdesk software, web apps and CRM systems to email inboxes, chat tools, and quality assurance tools.
Considerations For Cloud-Based Phone Systems
Although cloud-based phone systems have many benefits, businesses must consider the quality of their internet, along with privacy and data security, before making a decision.
Internet Reliability & Quality
Cloud telephone systems operate using the internet; therefore, having a stable internet connection is essential for uninterrupted communications.
These systems are not recommended for areas with poor or unreliable internet connectivity. Businesses should also evaluate the bandwidth requirements of the service they are considering to ensure optimal call quality.
Security & Data Privacy
Before investing in cloud-based phone services, businesses need to understand the security implications. It is essential to find out which data security measures their cloud provider has implemented and ensure they will be able to remain compliant with all applicable data protection regulations, as well as industry standards.
Exploring On-Premises Phone Systems
An on-premises phone system works using hardware that is physically situated within the business place, such as in a dedicated phone or server closet. These systems consist of a box that connects to all of the phones used by employees, as well as the cabling that is needed to connect the main box to the phones. They use traditional telephony infrastructure that requires technicians to install and configure in addition to providing regular maintenance.
Benefits Of On-Premises Phone Systems
On-premises phone systems offer businesses greater control, better security and greater call reliability.
Control & Customization
One of the biggest advantages of using on-premises phone systems is the fact that businesses have complete control over the software and hardware they use as well as its configuration. This means they can tailor their system to ensure it meets their business needs.
Security & Data Control
Security is a major concern for modern businesses, and many appreciate the fact that phone systems connected on a physical line at the business itself offer greater security. Cloud phone systems, in contrast, can be vulnerable to hacking because they use the internet.
Businesses can have direct control over the security and data privacy measures they use with their on-premises phone systems, which makes it easier to ensure compliance with all relevant data protection standards and any regulations that are specific to their industry.
Call Quality & Reliability
Although many cloud phone systems boast excellent quality, numerous external factors, including bandwidth and connectivity, can impact the quality of calls on these systems. On-premises phone systems offer better call quality and lower latency thanks to their reliance on local infrastructure. They also have greater reliability and uptime because they operate independently of internet connectivity.
Considerations For On-Premises Phone Systems
Before choosing on-premises phone systems, businesses must weigh the costs involved and the potential for scalability.
Upfront Investment & Maintenance Costs
One area in which on-premises phone systems do not compare favorably to their cloud-based counterparts is installation costs. Significant upfront capital is needed to purchase all the infrastructure, hardware, and licenses required, as well as to install the system and pay for ongoing expenses in terms of upkeep, maintenance and upgrades.
Scalability & Future-Proofing
Another factor businesses should consider when deciding which type of phone system to use is scalability. If they expect their business to grow significantly in the near future, they should ensure the system they use will be able to adapt to changing communications needs.
Learn More About Business Phone Systems From Advantage Technology
Both cloud-based and on-premises phone systems are good choices for modern businesses. Cloud-based options are ideal for those that are not prepared to make a large initial investment and seek advanced features and integration with other systems, while on-premises systems are a good solution for businesses that are seeking greater control over their communication transmissions and better security.
It is important to choose a phone system that aligns with the needs and objectives of the business. The telecommunications experts at Advantage Technology can help your business make an informed decision about the best option to suit your needs. Contact us today to learn more.