So, what is the cloud?
Below we will talk through what “the cloud” is and give you advice on how to choose a cloud-based phone system. When we use the term “the cloud” our reference is a hosted or cloud-based phone system also known as UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service).
The term “the cloud”, is a bit unclear if you don’t reference something else that gives it a direct meaning. For example, when we watch YouTube or Netflix, these streaming services are running on “the cloud”. When you store all your photos on iCloud or Google Photos, you are using cloud storage. In short, the “cloud” is a server connected to the internet that offers different functionality depending on the applications you use to interact with it.
A hosted phone system is something that many companies feel they MUST adopt in order to stay relevant and competitive. Depending on the overall technology strategy of your company, the cloud may be a great option, but not necessarily the best one. Many business owners feel a hosted phone system is their best and only option and this may not be the case either. This thinking is based on a misunderstanding of the telecom options that are currently available to them. When it comes to business phone systems, you can have a cloud-based system, a premise-based system, or a hybrid of both.
What is a cloud-based phone system?
A cloud-based (UCaaS) phone system is essentially a complete delivery of phone services over the internet. Not to be confused with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) which is just a generic term for the transport of voice packets over a LAN or WAN. A cloud-based phone system does not rely on traditional on-premise hardware to make, route, and record calls – as well as provide a voice mailbox. Everything is off-site in “the cloud”.
What are the benefits of a hosted phone system?
- Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity
If disaster strikes, what is your recovery plan? When your building goes off-line for whatever reason, the cloud will protect your data and will keep you connected to your customers and employees. Find the internet, either at home or at a coffee shop, and you can still access your data.
- Scalability and Flexible Licenses
Scalability is easy with a hosted solution. If you have a distributed workforce with a large geographical footprint, then chances are the “cloud” will make for a great application, and setting up a license is as easy as turning it on and off.
- Simplified Maintenance
With a cloud phone system, software upgrades are part of the contract, making the maintenance much simpler.
How is a premise-based phone system different from UCaaS?
An on-premise phone system historically referred to as PBX, can be configured as VoIP or digital. These systems have an onsite server and receive a dial tone from a traditional telecom, cable provider, or SIP trunk provider. This dial tone will come directly into your location and connect into the phone system. Typically, the user will have a maintenance agreement with a provider or have their on-staff IT manage the phone system.
Can a hybrid phone system be the best of both worlds?
A hybrid-phone system is a combination of both cloud and on-premise technologies for the purpose of convenience and versatility. Perhaps you want to deploy an on-premise server with an application overlay on “the cloud”. Or maybe your cloud solution is used as a complete disaster recovery backup plan. During carrier service interruptions, hybrid systems are capable of providing on-premises connectivity between employees while also supporting cloud connectivity to customers and employees off-premises. A hybrid solution can be a great fit for anyone wanted redundancy with the best of both worlds.
Is UCaaS right for you?
As a business, you don’t want to leave your phone systems up to chance. But you do have a choice. A cloud-based system has become more popular, and there are many benefits to this option. When considering what you need in a phone system, you should thoroughly understand a cloud-based system, it’s pros and cons. At Unified Technologies, we are all about educating you on ALL your options in business phone technology. If you need to talk to any of our trusted advisors about your options click here