Phone Systems in the Cloud: Why Your Business Should Consider A Hosted Phone System

For businesses looking to buy or upgrade their phone system, an immediate question arises: should I opt for an onsite solution or a hosted one?

There are pros and cons each way. And the right answer will depend on your business’s needs and objectives. To make life easier for those currently assessing their options, this article gives an overview of both onsite and hosted phone systems, before listing the benefits of each.

VoIP Telephony

Onsite Phone Systems (A Very Brief History)

Sometimes referred to as a Private Branch Exchange (PBX), onsite phone systems are the traditional way of conducting business telephony. PBX systems serve private organisations in two primary ways.

Firstly, they provide a connection to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) – which allows incoming and outgoing calls from without the organisation to be connected.

Secondly, they concentrate central office lines and provide intercommunication between telephone stations within the organisation, therefore bypassing the PSTN.

When PBX technology was first brought to market, it allowed businesses to save money on internal calls, and gave them access to a range of features – such as hunt groups, call forwarding and extension dialling.

During the 1990s, two developments occurred which spurred further advances in PBX technology.

One was the growth of the internet and other data networks. Many companies began to transfer large amounts of data internally, and required systems capable of carrying this out. It made sense to use these same systems for telephone calls, too – two birds, and all that. Hence the development of voice over IP PBX or IP-PBX.

An IP-PBX uses Internet Protocols (IPs) that can communicate and integrate with other applications to carry out telephony services. As well as consolidating data systems, IP-PBX systems offer lower prices and more features.

The other development was the need to manage efficiencies. Many businesses realised that handling their own telephony system was not one of their competencies. By offloading this work, they could further drive down costs and become more streamlined. This gave rise to…

…Hosted Phone Systems

Hosted Telephony

A hosted PBX is a PBX delivered as a hosted service. Also known as a virtual PBX, cloud telephony system or, simply, a hosted phone system, such solutions eliminate installation costs, reduce operation and maintenance costs and minimise workload.

The market for hosted phone systems is still growing, and more and more businesses are transitioning to them. Such businesses enjoy a large feature set (including voicemail, faxing, automated greetings, conference hosting, and so on) without the hassle of managing the system.

There are three ways that hosted phone systems can be implemented.

  • Over the PSTN
  • Over the Internet
  • Or using a combination of the two

With a hosted phone system, your number is not tied to a geographical location. This means, if you relocate, your number can come with you at no extra cost and without inconvenience. Hosted phone systems also increase flexibility by making it easy for employees to take calls from different locations, and are therefore conducive to homeworking and are beneficial for frequent travellers.

By taking advantage of today’s technology, hosted phone systems give businesses the opportunity to eliminate unnecessary management. Here are some benefits of hosted phone systems vs onsite phone systems.

Cloud Phone System Advantages

This table may seem a bit one-sided. Even though, at Elite Group, we’re in the business of selling hosted phone systems, we don’t believe this is unfair. We also provide onsite telephone systems, so we have no reason to be biased.

That said, we truly believe that, for the vast majority businesses, moving to a hosted phone system can be highly beneficial. Unless your business is required to retain full control of its telephony system – and we understand that that is critically important for some businesses – it’s worth considering going hosted. Give us a call to find out more.

Elite Group is the leading unified communications provider. We are expert providers of hosted, hybrid and onsite telephone systems.