Choosing a new communications platform
When it comes to updating your voice communications there are two primary options. The traditional option is to build and manage premise-based phone system often called a PBX, IP-PBX or Key system. A newer option is to leverage the cloud with a Cloud Voice or Hosted Voice solution.
The key difference between a traditional premises-based PBX and a Cloud Voice solution is where the majority of infrastructure elements are physically located, and who owns and or manages them.
Understanding benefits and limitations of each solution makes it easier to determine the best option for any particular organization. Cost, expansion, and other considerations should be laid out to make it possible to compare Cloud Voice and an on-premise PBX within the same categories to learn of the greatest differences.
A very important consideration for either solution is your businesses Business Continuity/ Disaster Recovery plan.
What is a Cloud Voice Solution?
A Cloud Voice or Hosted Voice Solution is where the main system of the IP-PBX is housed off site at a hosted provider’s location who is responsible for providing and managing hardware and software technology required to provide the services to the end user.
Calls are routed to the Cloud Voice provider via SIP Trunking from the PSTN and to the end user via a data connection. This can be a dedicated data connection or via an internet connection at the end user’s location.
The provider of the Cloud Voice solution charges a monthly fee that can be inclusive of a minute’s package and certain features. Advanced features and applications are usually available for an additional monthly charge.
The end-user desk phones will plug into a POE (Power over Ethernet) switch and the calls, signaling, and features are handled through an IP-PBX server at the provider’s location.
Changes and updates to your system’s configuration, call flows, functionality & user setups are made via a service ticket.
What is a Premise based solution?
A premise based PBX is a traditional PBX system that resides onsite in a location such as a computer equipment room or phone closet. Calls can be routed via traditional phone lines ie: POTS lines, T1 or PRI or SIP Trunking via an internet connection at the end users location. The business will usually have someone on staff to manage Moves, add and changes as well as a phone system provider who will be called out for repairs, upgrades or major changes.
Benefits of a Cloud Voice system include:
- Little or no upfront costs
- Reduced amount of hardware onsite
- Built-in disaster recovery business continuity
- Lower hardware and software maintenance
- Yearly software updates and feature enhancements are part of the service
- Improved performance and reliability
- Pay only for what is used
- Scalable easily grows with your business
- Relocation is simple
With Cloud Voice the loss of Internet or catastrophic event has no effect on operations because calls can be sent to voice mail or a mobile phone. This is because of redundancy within the Cloud Voice providers Data Center that has safeguards including back up power sources.
Benefits of an on premise PBX
- Having on premise PBX gives user control to create, adjust and delete users as desired
- Current carrier does not have to be changed
- Own the equipment / capital expense
- Potential lower TCO over the long term
- Ability for high levels of customization