Hosted (Cloud)

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Is a 'Hosted' or a 'Premises-based' system best for me?

'Hosted' (cloud) phone systems are systems that use 'VoIP' outside lines, and some of the system infrastructure (the main 'brains' of the system) is located at your supplier's premises, while your phones and some other items are still located within your premises. Like the dilemma of leasing versus buying a car, the decision between a Hosted PBX versus IP PBX can be vexing. What are the arguments that favour a hosted VoIP service or the IP premises PBX? How do you know what is right for your company?

It's not just solely about money - features, functionality, and control play a significant role in making the right system choice. The following compares some of the various aspects that will assist you to understand what you need to consider.

Ownership/Financial Considerations


Hosted
You do not own the PBX - the equipment (usually with the possible exception of the telephones and router), are owned and reside at the remote hosted PBX site, not at your location. 

You will usually pay monthly fees ‘per user’ that include the cost of the outside line, and upfront costs are limited somewhat.
By definition, ‘Hosted’ means that your provider maintains control and ownership of your communications (usually including the ‘outside lines’), and they also dictate the ongoing pricing that is being charged.
Premises
The system can be purchased at a slightly higher initial price, although you do have lower ongoing fees, you retain ownership of your whole system, and are not tied-in to have the same party host your system and supply your outside lines. You only need to pay for how many outside lines are needed, not for each ‘user’, which can make a difference to ongoing costs.
Ownership equates control. You decide on who looks after your system, and maintain control over which carrier’s outside lines you want to use at any given time, and who maintains your system. Usually if you look at it as a ‘long-term investment’ the premises system usually works out to be the more cost-effective.

Features Help You Decide


Hosted
They are designed pretty much as a “one size fits all” solution. But if you have simple call handling needs, the hosted PBX provides more than adequate features. 

It may not have all of the bells and whistles, but it typically meets many business’s needs.
Premises
Have the edge in features and flexibility over the hosted solutions. They are designed with a high level of customisation available, features like doing an ‘All Page’ to every phone is always available, but is rarely available on a Hosted system. Other important call handling features like ‘Outside Line’ and ‘Extension’ buttons to see the ‘available’ or ‘busy’ status of same are always available with your premise-based system.

Can I Use my Existing outside Lines?


Hosted
These systems use ‘VoIP’ (or ‘SIP’) outside lines, so you would need to ‘port’ your existing phone number to the Host Company (or have calls diverted) if you want to retain same.
Premises
Most systems allow you to retain your existing outside lines and also use some ‘SIP Trunk’ outside lines. This enables you to transition to VoIP services at your own pace, and in line with your available broadband at any given time. Your main number(s) can be ported into your SIP Trunks when needed.

Choosing the Right System

So which phone system is right for you? Here are the main decision points:
  • If you want total control of your system, your choice should be the ‘Premises IP PBX’.
  • If you have a very dynamic business, you should strongly consider ‘Hosted’.
  • If you want special services or customisation, tilt towards the ‘Premise’ solution.
  • If you want basic services -– calls in, calls out, use ‘Hosted’
Consider the trade-offs and be clear on what you really must have today and in the future.

Need more advice about hosted phone systems? Contact the VeRBL team today.

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