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Is a Cloud Phone System Right for Your Business?

While traditional on-premise phone systems still offer benefits, cloud phone systems have become increasingly popular thanks to their affordability and scalability.

cloud phone systems

Email is fine and dandy, but sometimes you just need to get on the phone with a customer or colleague. Gone are the days of switchboards (thank goodness). When it comes to business phones, organizations are typically picking from one of two choices: a cloud phone system or an on-premise phone system. Explore the key features of each to determine which is right for you. 

Cloud Phone Systems

Cloud phone systems, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, operate using the internet and are hosted by a third-party provider. The following outlines the critical benefits of a Cloud Phone System:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: For small to medium size businesses, cloud phone systems typically have lower initial costs because they eliminate the need for expensive hardware. 
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Cloud systems offer high scalability and flexibility. You can easily add or remove lines, access advanced features, and scale your communication infrastructure as your business grows.
  • Remote Accessibility: With cloud systems, employees can access the phone system from anywhere with an internet connection. This is particularly beneficial for remote work scenarios, businesses with multiple locations, and businesses with a hybrid workforce.
  • Automatic Updates and Maintenance: Service providers handle updates, maintenance, and security patches, reducing the burden on internal IT teams and ensuring that the system stays up-to-date with the latest technology.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Cloud systems often integrate with other cloud-based tools and platforms, enhancing collaboration and productivity through features like video conferencing, messaging, and file sharing.

Is There Anything Not to Love About Cloud Phone Systems?

Generally, businesses with a cloud phone system pay a monthly subscription fee based on usage. For larger businesses, this monthly fee can be exorbitantly more expensive than on-premise phones. More to come in the section below. 

On-Premise Phone Systems

On-premise phone systems, also known as Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, involve physical hardware installed and maintained on-site by the organization. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Control and Customization: On-premise systems offer maximum control and customization. Since the hardware is within your premises, you have the flexibility to configure the system according to your specific requirements.
  • Security: Some businesses prefer on-premise systems due to perceived security advantages. With data stored locally, they may feel more confident about data protection and compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Initial Investment: Setting up an on-premise system typically requires a significant upfront investment in hardware, software licenses, and infrastructure. This cost can be a barrier for smaller businesses or startups.
  • Maintenance and Upgrades: Ongoing maintenance and upgrades are the responsibility of the organization. This includes troubleshooting issues, applying patches, and ensuring hardware compatibility. 
  • Scalability: Scalability with on-premise systems can be a bit challenging. Adding more lines or expanding features may require additional hardware investments and IT expertise.

What Else Should You Know About On-Premise Phones?

  • Strategic Design and Installation: When designing an on-premise phone system, it’s essential to not just look at the needs of a business today, but consider the projected growth. Putting more infrastructure in place initially can save a business substantially in the future. 
  • Maintenance Support: Don’t assume maintenance and upgrades have to be handled in-house. The overhead of employing a team with the expertise to manage an on-premise phone system can be cost prohibitive. Working with a third-party maintenance provider can give your business the critical expertise you need, while giving you the ability to focus on what you do best. 

Designing a Phone System to Meet Your Needs

Not all businesses are alike. A lot of factors can go into selecting the phone system that best meets your needs. That’s why we offer complimentary consultations to help you create a customized phone system that maximizes your budget and your staff’s efficiency.