Most small businesses are using some kind of cloud services, such as storage, disaster recovery and email systems. But there’s another business tool that few small businesses realize can be moved to the cloud — the company phone system. When you break it down, phone system functionality is just an application and voice transmissions are a form of data. As a result, your phone system can be cloud-based just like virtually any other component of your IT infrastructure.
Cloud-based voice over IP (VoIP) telephony offers a number of business advantages that are consistent with other cloud services when compared to an on-premises solution:
- Minimal upfront costs. Many businesses are already using VoIP-compatible phones, and the only other hardware investment may involve some switching and routing upgrades. Capital expenses with cloud-based VoIP are minimal.
- Lower operational costs. Managing, maintaining, upgrading, supporting and securing your phone system – and all associated costs – become the responsibility of the service provider.
- Pay as you go. Pay for the seats and services you need now and add more as your company grows and business needs change.
- Enterprise-class technology. Take advantage of the service provider’s sophisticated telephony technology and features – the kinds of tools few small businesses can afford to purchase themselves.
- Faster time to value. Changing to cloud-based VoIP telephony is simple, fast and seamless, enabling organizations to quickly deploy the new system and its productivity-boosting features.
- Improved security. Long a major roadblock to cloud adoption, security is actually more robust with a cloud-based phone system, which uses a private internet connection to secure conversations.
One common misconception about cloud-based IP telephony is that the voice quality is inferior to a traditional copper line. Most of these problems were more accurately attributable to connectivity issues. A network with Quality of Service (QoS) can prioritize voice traffic to ensure high quality calls. Organizations evaluating cloud-based phone systems should worry less about false misconceptions and focus on cost savings, functionality, simplicity of use, and choosing a provider capable of aligning a system with your business needs.
There are several concerns with a cloud-based IP telephony solution that you don’t encounter with an on-premises system. When you move your phone system to the cloud, you’re basically turning over control to a third-party provider, and you must rely on Internet connectivity to keep your phones working. As users and usage grows, so will your monthly costs, and you’ll be tied to the hardware and software used by your provider.
With an on-premises system, you have total control of your phone system. A growing business has the flexibility to make changes whenever necessary. If you have well-defined processes, on-premises telephony ensures that your system is aligned with those processes. If you need contact center functionality, cloud-based solutions haven’t quite caught up to their on-premises counterparts.
Cloud-based and on-premises VoIP telephony both have their pros and cons. If you’re looking to reduce capital costs, conserve strained IT resources and add new features to your phone system, you may want to consider a cloud-based solution. Contact Atlantic-IT.net, your outsourced IT department, to learn more about how your organization can benefit by moving your phone system to the cloud.