When debating whether to purchase a hosted phone system for your business, there are three main points to address:

  • Does your business require physical telephone hardware or would a virtual phone service be sufficient? Will employees communicate with their smart phones instead of regular office phones?
  • If physical telephones were required then which type of service would you prefer? The choice must be made between traditional landline communication from a local phone company or a VoIP system that operates over the Internet?
  • If you would choose a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) system for your business, would you want it to be hosted by a third party provider or self-hosted at your business location?

If you are unsure about your situation then continue reading to gain knowledge about the benefits associated with each system type:

Landline Phone Systems

  • The traditional phone service, supported by regional or local phone companies.
  • Also known as PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Networks), are analog systems and operate via copper wiring provided by the phone companies.
  • To use landlines, an in-house PBX system is required to create multiple extensions and allow for features such as caller directories and call routing.

These systems have infrastructure in place and are reliable, time tested communication methods.  Many businesses are comfortable using these systems.  However, they require maintenance expenditures and have very costly monthly bills.  In-house PBX systems are very expensive to operate and maintain, which sometimes is more of a drawback than its limited feature set.

A landline system is best for large businesses that can afford to pay for the system and employ an existing IT staff.

VoIP Phone Systems

  • VoIP phone systems use a company’s existing Internet connection to operate instead of analog copper wire.
  • VoIP systems offer features that only large businesses are typically able to afford such as virtual attendants, call routing, call queues, computer integration etc.
  • VoIP systems provide remote workers with access to a company’s system from any location

VoIP phone systems provide users with an advanced phone system complete with all the features available from a communication network.  A VoIP phone system is much more cost effective for your business as there is no initial expenditure on hardware and monthly plans are much more competitive than landline systems.  These systems are reliant on your business Internet connection so an outage there could leave your business experiencing downtime.  To counter this, some providers offer a 4G-cell phone connection that takes over in the event of an outage.  These systems are geared towards small businesses that want to project a professional image and require a fully functional phone system without the associated costs.

Self-Hosted VoIP Phone System

  • An in-house system is one where the business owns its own equipment, mainly the PBX (Private Branch Exchange) hardware and performs its own maintenance duties.
  • The PBX system allows circuit switching in a businesses phone system.

Being in control of your own system at all times is the major draw for using a self-hosted system.  The drawback is the large upfront capital expenditure required in getting the system set up. There is also the additional requirement of needing to employ IT staff to service the system.  This type of system is best for businesses who don’t want their system hosted in the cloud and want to be able to access there equipment at all times.

Hosted or Cloud-based VoIP Phone System

  • No maintenance or hardware to be concerned about. The service provider takes care of that.
  • The system is extremely flexible and scalable.
  • Monthly expenditure is affordable and transparent, making budgeting simple.

With a hosted phone system there is no hardware to procure or operate.  Therefore an IT staff is not required either.  Your hosted phone system can be set up and customized internally using the web portal offered online by the service provider.  Your whole business communication network is hosted in the cloud, meaning it is accessible by your employees from any location with an Internet connection.  Also known as hosted PBX, this system can revolutionize the way your business conducts operations.  Drawbacks with a hosted PBX solution are that your company is not in control of its own hardware so if the system experiences downtime, you are reliant on the service provider to get you back up and running.  This system is best suited for small to medium sized businesses that require cost effectiveness and an easily scalable communication solution.

If you are still not sure if your business really does need a phone system, you should take into account that a large degree of a businesses success comes from presenting a professional image to its customers.  Also, efficiency is always increased when your workforce is able to communicate quickly and effectively.  Therefore, every business can benefit from a professional phone system solution.

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