A Comprehensive Guide to Cloud Phone Systems
Communication plays a crucial role in the success of any business. In today’s fast-paced and global business environment, having a reliable and efficient communication system is more important than ever. However, traditional on-premise phone systems are unable to meet the growing demands of the modern world. That is why more and more companies are making the switch to cloud-based phone systems.
What is a Cloud-Based Phone System?
A cloud-based phone system, also known as a hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange), is a telephone system that operates through the internet rather than through traditional telephone lines. It is a virtual phone system that uses cloud technology to route calls, manage voicemails, and provide other telecommunication services.
In a cloud phone system, the PBX, or switchboard, is housed and maintained by a third-party provider instead of being located on-premise. This means that businesses can save money on hardware, software, and maintenance costs, as well as enjoy a more flexible and scalable solution.
How Does Hosted Phone System Work?
A hosted phone system allows businesses to manage their telecommunication needs through the internet. It uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to make and receive calls, send and receive messages, and access other features such as voicemail, call forwarding, and call routing. There are two main options for hosted PBX systems: cloud phone systems and PBX SIP trunking.
Cloud phone systems are a type of virtual PBX that allows businesses to connect with a VoIP data centre virtually over the internet. Each user is assigned a virtual extension and has access to features such as voicemail and video conferencing. This type of hosted PBX is easy to manage and is suitable for businesses of all sizes.
PBX SIP trunking, on the other hand, allows businesses to keep their existing on-premise PBX while sending communications over the internet. SIP trunking utilises Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and packet switching to break down telecommunications into data packets and then reconvert them back into audio data. This type of hosted PBX is suitable for businesses with an existing IP-PBX.
Regardless of the type of hosted PBX you choose, both options allow for communication to be made and received from any location with an internet connection. Cloud phone solutions provide businesses with a cost-effective, flexible, and scalable solution for managing their telecommunication needs.
How is Hosted Phone System Different from On-Premise Phone System?
Telecommunication is a critical aspect of any business, and choosing the right phone system is crucial to ensuring efficient communication. Cloud-based phone systems and on-premise phone systems are two common options for businesses, but understanding the key differences between the two is important in making an informed decision. Here are some of the main differences between hosted and on-premise phone systems.
- Cost: An on-premise phone system requires a significant upfront investment, including hardware, equipment, and installation costs. The business is also responsible for ongoing maintenance and repair costs. In contrast, a hosted phone system is more cost-effective as the provider handles all hardware and infrastructure costs, and the business only pays for the services they use.
- Scalability: A cloud-based phone system is more scalable than an on-premise phone system. The provider can add new lines or features as the business grows without requiring the business to purchase additional hardware. In contrast, an on-premise phone system requires the business to purchase additional hardware to accommodate growth.
- Maintenance and Support: An on-premise phone system requires the business to manage and maintain the system, including hardware, software, and network issues. In contrast, cloud phone solutions are fully managed by the provider, who is responsible for ensuring the system is always up-to-date and working optimally.
- Flexibility: A hosted phone system is more flexible than an on-premise phone system, as it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This makes it ideal for businesses with remote workers or multiple locations. In contrast, an on-premise phone system is limited to the physical location where it is installed.
- Features: A hosted phone system typically includes a range of advanced features, such as call routing, call forwarding, call recording, and more. In contrast, an on-premise phone system may not have the same range of features, and the business may need to purchase additional hardware or software to add new features.
What are the Benefits of a Cloud Phone System?
- Cost-effectiveness: As mentioned earlier, a hosted phone system is more cost-effective than an on-premise system, as the provider manages all hardware and infrastructure costs, and the business only pays for the services they use.
- Scalability: Cloud-based phone systems are highly scalable and can accommodate growth as the business expands. The provider can add new lines or features without requiring the business to purchase additional hardware.
- Maintenance and Support: The provider is responsible for managing and maintaining the system, ensuring that it is always up-to-date and working optimally. This eliminates the need for businesses to hire in-house IT staff to manage the system.
- Reliability and Flexibility: A cloud-hosted phone system is designed to provide high levels of reliability and uptime, ensuring that businesses always have access to their communication services when they need it. Moreover, you can access a cloud phone system from anywhere with an internet connection, making it ideal for businesses with remote workers or multiple locations.
- Advanced features: Cloud phone systems typically include a range of advanced features such as call routing, call forwarding, call recording, and more. This can help businesses to improve their communication and enhance their overall productivity.
- Disaster recovery: A cloud phone solution provides businesses with disaster recovery options, ensuring that they can still access their communication services in the event of a disaster.
How to Choose Cloud Phone Solutions?
- Call quality: The call quality of a hosted phone system is an essential aspect to consider. It should provide clear voice quality, minimal background noise or interruptions, and should be reliable. The quality of the connection should be consistent, even during peak hours, to ensure that all calls are handled efficiently.
- Scalability: As your business grows, your cloud phone system needs to change as well. Ensure that the hosted phone system you choose is scalable, meaning it can grow with your business. It should be easy to add or remove users as needed and should allow you to increase or decrease the number of lines as necessary.
- Call routing: The call routing options are critical for any hosted phone system. This feature allows you to route calls to different extensions or departments based on specific criteria, such as the time of day or the caller’s number. The system should also allow you to forward calls to mobile devices or external numbers if necessary.
- Automated attendant: An automated attendant is a voice-driven menu system that greets callers and directs them to the appropriate person or department. Ensure that the hosted phone system you choose has a flexible and customisable automated attendant that can be configured to meet your specific business needs.
- Integrations: Consider the integrations that the cloud-hosted phone system offers with other business tools, such as your CRM, project management software, and calendar. Integrating your phone system with other tools can streamline your workflows and increase productivity.
- Customer support: A hosted phone system can be a critical component of your business, so it’s important to choose a provider that offers reliable and responsive customer support. Ensure that the provider has a team available to answer your questions and resolve any issues in a timely manner.
- Pricing: Last but not least, consider the pricing of the cloud phone solutions. Make sure that the cost is reasonable for the features and capabilities you need. It’s also important to understand the pricing structure, such as if it is based on a per-user or per-minute model.
The Bottom Line
A cloud-based phone system is a modern alternative to traditional on-premise phone systems that operate through the internet. It utilises VoIP technology to make and receive calls, send and receive messages, and access other features such as voicemail, call forwarding, and call routing.
Cloud phone systems offer cost-effectiveness, scalability, maintenance and support, reliability and flexibility, advanced features, and disaster recovery as compared to on-premise phone systems. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from switching to a cloud-based phone system as it provides a flexible and scalable solution for managing their telecommunication needs.
With the growing demands of the modern business environment, a cloud phone system is a valuable investment for any company looking to improve its communication and overall productivity.
As a leading contact centre as a service provider (CCaaS), TelcoDataCloud can offer you a cloud-based phone system with outstanding features. Get in touch with us now to understand how we can help you grow your business.