For phone systems that use the cloud, there are many alternatives. Here’s how to locate the ideal candidate for your business.
A cloud-based phone system is a phone service that allows you to make calls online and save data in the cloud.
These devices are inexpensive and dependable, but only if you have a good internet connection.
Although cloud telephony services are common, they are not appropriate for all businesses.
Cloud-based phone systems are one of the numerous small company phone system options that are becoming more and more popular.
They offer dependable service, reasonable pricing, and a plethora of business-friendly features, but they may not be the best option for everyone.
Continue reading to find out more about cloud-based solutions and how to determine whether they are appropriate for your company.
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What is a cloud-based phone system?
A cloud-based phone system is a phone service that allows you to make calls online. Another name for it is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system.
A cloud-based phone system can store data in one or more offsite secure data centers, which distinguishes it from traditional analog phones, which use copper cables or optical fibers to connect two callers.
Cloud-based phone systems can be used with a variety of devices, including VoIP-enabled phones, computer calling software, smartphone apps (such as Google Voice), traditional phones with adaptors, and traditional phones.
A cloud-based phone system is illustrated by private branch exchange, also known as hosted PBX. The cloud is used to store and access all data, saving you time and money by making updating and securing your data simple.
How do cloud-based phone systems work?
Your calls are divided into tiny digital audio packets by cloud-based phone systems, which are then transmitted as data over the internet to the call recipient.
For instance, before the signal reaches the recipient, it is transformed to a standard telephone signal if you are dialing a regular phone number.
In order to route the call through SIP trunking, a cloud-based PBX is utilized.
Anyone with an internet connection can use cloud-based phone systems because of its flexibility in use. Calls over the cloud can be made using:
a regular phone that supports VoIP. You can make calls via the internet using a standard landline phone with an adaptor.
The adaptors can either be plugged directly into your router or into a phone jack in the wall.
A “softphone” on a computer. You can make phone calls via the internet using a variety of tools and services, such as Skype, Google Voice, Apple Facetime, and others.
A cell phone. You can use your smartphone to download programs like Skype or Google Voice to make internet calls.
An exclusive VoIP phone. These phones have an analog appearance, but instead of using a phone line, they link directly to a computer network.
Pros and cons of cloud-based phone systems
As businesses become increasingly accustomed to using digital and internet-based services, cloud-based phone systems are growing in popularity.
However, before choosing whether or not a cloud-based phone system is appropriate for your company, it is crucial to consider all of its features.
Pros of cloud-based phone systems
The main advantage of cloud-based phone systems, like many other cloud services, is their low price.
All of your calls are made over the internet, so you are only charged for internet use as opposed to call minutes or phone service as you would be with a traditional phone system, which further costs for things like voicemail or an auto attendant.
The majority of cloud-based solutions incorporate key functionality with your phone service, allowing you to pay just one monthly fee for all of your communication requirements.
The dependability of cloud-based phone systems is another major selling point. Having a dependable line is essential because most organizations depend on communication with clients and other outside parties.
Because cloud-based phone systems are hosted in various places, you and your data are secure even if a server goes down. Geographic redundancy is a very effective strategy for helping organizations avoid service problems and downtime.
Cloud-based phone systems are a desirable alternative for companies with remote workers or frequent travelers since they offer virtually unlimited flexibility.
No matter where you are, a cloud-based phone can route calls to your VoIP-capable phone if you have an internet connection.
Cloud-based phone systems provide for flexible expansion if your business is expanding.
You may quickly add phone lines, extensions, and advanced features with a cloud management system as needed without having to pay for expert installation or buy extra hardware.
Additionally, updates and maintenance are done immediately in the cloud, saving you time, money, and preventing communication outages.
Cons of cloud-based phone systems
Despite their popularity, cloud-based phone systems have significant disadvantages that may prevent your company from using them.
Because cloud-based phone systems are internet-based, their main drawback is that they can experience internet connectivity problems and outages.
A cloud-based solution might not be suitable for you if your internet access is sporadic or unpredictable and frequently fails or drops.
A cloud-based phone system needs a strong, reliable internet connectivity to operate correctly.
Security concerns are also brought up by being internet-based. Without the right safeguards and measures, cloud-based systems are vulnerable to virus and hackers.
Make sure your internet connection is secure and that the company providing your cloud system has taken security precautions to further safeguard your data.
It’s vital to keep in mind that some VoIP and cloud-based phone systems might not guarantee compatibility for 911 dialing if you’re worried about access to emergency services.
This is due to the fact that, unlike traditional phones, cloud-based phone systems are not geographically bound, making it challenging to precisely track a 911 call.
Since clients can set a physical address that appears when they dial 911 on their IP phone, VoIP and cloud system providers must have Enhanced 911, or E911, enabled.
Not all cloud or VoIP providers, however, provide this service because doing so requires them to work with traditional phone companies that manage access to the public telephone system and 911 operators.
This can be a challenging situation because cloud-based phone system providers and the public telephone systems are direct rivals.
Asking the provider directly is the best method to learn whether 911 service is offered by a VoIP provider automatically, whether it has to be engaged, or whether it is not supported at all.
Last but not least, buying new IP phones or adaptors to convert your company’s substantial existing traditional telephone equipment into cloud-enabled phones can be very expensive.
If it makes financial sense for you to pay to convert your current system or buy an entirely new service, take into account the equipment you already have.
Features to look for in a cloud-based phone system
A cloud-based phone system’s abundance of capabilities, which are typically included in your subscription, is a significant benefit. These are the main characteristics you should search for:
Voicemail – You can get messages from missed calls with this functionality, which is usually standard with cloud system packages.
Messaging – Also referred to as “team collaboration,” this feature enables a variety of forms of collaboration, including document editing, screen sharing, file sharing, and conferencing.
Do not disturb – All incoming calls are routed to voicemail when the phone is set to do not disturb.
Caller ID – You can identify who is calling thanks to caller ID. Caller ID only shows you the caller’s number; caller ID with name gives you both the caller’s number and name. This can be useful for differentiating between important and spam calls.
Ring groups – Teams that take calls from the same consumers can benefit from the utilization of ring groups. Each team member will be informed whenever the phone calls.
Call forwarding – Users can call another number using this feature.
Online management – The majority of cloud-based phone systems have an online administration system or portal that allows the administrator to add users, set numbers, make ring groups, and view call data. Users can create call-forwarding routes, check voicemail, and access company directories.
Unified communications – Real-time collaboration and the integration of all communications services, such as CRM, live chat, analytics, and more, into one application are made possible by unified communications, also referred to as a single cloud solution or comprehensive cloud platform.
Voicemail-to-text or email – A helpful function that converts audio voicemails into manageable emails or text formats is voicemail-to-email or voicemail-to-text.
Automated attendant – An auto attendant handles incoming calls to your company automatically and connects callers with the appropriate party.
How to decide if your business needs a cloud-based phone system
Whether you’re thinking about switching systems or beginning from scratch, there are a lot of things to think about when deciding whether a cloud-based phone system is the correct choice for you. Here are some important first things to think about:
Equipment. Exist IP phones that can be quickly integrated into a cloud system? Or do all of your phones have the old-fashioned design and need a desk phone adaptor? Consider carefully as your current equipment may have a significant impact on prices.
Costs. Equipment aside, you must decide which features you pay for in your existing system, which features you need and don’t need, and which features you prefer in your new system. Check to see if these features are already part of your bundle or if you have to add them on.
Reliability. All aspects of internet connectivity are required for cloud-based phone systems. Avoid selecting a cloud-based phone system if your internet connection is not reliable and secure. A conventional landline might be a better choice.
Your company. A cloud-based phone system can be an excellent choice for small and medium-sized business owners looking to save money on installation and maintenance while maintaining ongoing flexibility that enables your communication system to change along with your company.
Control. Since calls are routed through a provider and data is saved via a hosted server, a cloud solution may not be the ideal option if you prefer or demand total control over your system and data. Businesses that handle sensitive data could also have problems with inadequate security.
How to locate a provider of cloud-based systems
Finding a provider is the next step after deciding that a cloud-based phone system is something you want to pursue.
You must determine which provider best meets your needs by comparing the features and packages that each one offers at various pricing points.
The best strategy to choose the greatest service is to conduct careful and exhaustive research.
Read evaluations of businesses, check to see if any have free trials, and ask other small business owners in your sector for advice.
See our evaluations of the top business phone systems. Some of the most well-known cloud-based services and hosted VoIP companies are listed below: