If you’re trying to find a new business phone system, there are numerous questions you need to answer first.
1. Do you want a complete phone system which includes physical office telephones, or could your business make do using a virtual phone service that relies solely on cellular devices as opposed to traditional office phones?
2. Should you do need office telephones, what type of service do you want? You have to make a choice from cloud phone system, which is supplied by the local or regional phone company, as well as a Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, which runs on the internet which is made available from numerous providers.
3. When you purchase a VoIP, do you wish to house the machine in your business (on-premises) or have it hosted through your service provider (cloud-based)?
We can help you answer those questions, but when you are already aware what exactly you need and would like to see our recommendations to find the best business phone systems, visit our best picks page.
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If you’re not sure yet, read on. We’ll fill you in on the pros and cons of each of the following kinds of phone systems:
Virtual phone systems
Cloud as well as on-premises VoIP systems
Virtual Phone Systems
Virtual phone systems work by connecting an enterprise phone line to remote workers on their own mobile or home phones.
Most of these systems function as an extensive call-forwarding solution, wherein calls are moved to each employee’s designated phone (cell or home) each time a customer or client calls the key business number.
These systems include many different features, like automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening and internet based faxing.
Benefits and drawbacks: This kind of service allows businesses with employees working from locations other than the company’s office to present an experienced face constantly. It also gives remote workers use of various phone system features that mobile and home phones don’t offer. The down-side is that virtual systems aren’t a whole-fledged phone system. Your calls remain processed on your mobile or home phone network. Which means you are charged for that ask the virtual system and use up your mobile- or home-phone minutes.
Great for: Businesses by using a large number of remote workers, or sole-proprietor businesses.
Traditional Landline Systems
Landlines in this case are traditional phone systems, typically maintained by a neighborhood or regional phone company.
Landlines, also called public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), are analog systems that run via the telephone company’s traditional copper wiring.
To operate a landline service, you will need on-premises PBX hardware. Here is the hardware that’s accustomed to create multiple extensions and let for phone system features, for example call transferring and call directories.
There are landline systems today that happen to be considered a hybrid with VoIP systems. There exists a traditional phone line that comes in to the business that connects to some business’s data network. The data network inside the businesses is then employed to connect every individual phone.
Pros and cons: Landline systems really are a reliable, time-tested solution that a great many companies are comfortable using. The greatest negative of the systems is most phone system providers are moving from landlines, leading them to be harder not only to purchase, but to correct should something break.
Great for: Large corporations that have your capacity to purchase to cover them along with an in-house IT staff to work and keep them. Also required for businesses without high-speed online access.
VoIP Phone Systems
Rather than the copper wires that landlines employ, VoIP phone systems use the same connection to the internet which a company is already using to acquire online.
VoIP systems provide features that previously only large corporations using expensive PBX hardware had access to, including automated attendants, call queues and computer integration which allows voicemails to get brought to email inboxes and computers to be transformed into “softphones.”
VoIP systems give remote workers usage of a business’s phone system using their mobile phone.
Advantages and disadvantages: VoIP systems provide a sophisticated phone system complete with the bells and whistles. These systems are easily set up and configured, and are significantly cheaper than landline systems. The downside, however, is the fact these systems rely on your web connection. So, if you’re in the community with spotty internet service, this sort of phone system wouldn’t do the job. [See Related Story: VoIP for Business: Why It Makes Sense]
Great for: Smaller businesses who want the functionality of a sophisticated phone system at the reasonable price, and firms that want their remote employees to have accessibility to the telephone system.
Should you determine that a VoIP system will meet your needs, you now have another decision to make. While landline systems make you house each of the necessary equipment inside of your business, VoIP systems provde the option to buy your equipment outright and self-host, or to rent the equipment from the provider and also have the provider house it within the cloud.
On-Premises VoIP Systems
By having an on-premises system, all of the equipment, including the non-public branch exchange (PBX) hardware needed to keep the phone system running, is housed in your business.
On-premises systems call for a large capital expenditure, when you are purchasing the equipment upfront.
While you pay one-time fees for the hardware with a self-hosted system, you spend monthly fees to your SIP trunking, or PRI circuit, that is what’s necessary to allow calls to get made and received.
Your IT staff is mainly responsible for handling maintenance, repairs and upgrades from the system.
Benefits and drawbacks: The advantage of an on-premises system is that you simply are usually in command of your service. You might be relying upon yourself to ensure it is actually ready to go and configured how you like it. The flip side, however, is there is a significant upfront cost, since you have to buy every one of the equipment. Additionally, you require someone on staff who is able to service and look after the device.
Precisely what the experts say: “Plenty of our larger clients with requirement for high availability, high security and customization find yourself with on-premises [systems],” Beth English, founding father of communications consulting firm EE & Associates and current board president of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants International, told Business News Daily. “Some large enterprise-level clients will often select the premises-based solution mainly because they could have the workers to support it, they need a lot of customization, or they may be very interested in privacy”
Great for: Firms that don’t feel relaxed while using cloud and wish total control over their system and access to equipment all the time. Also best for businesses with an in-house IT team that may put in place and keep a VoIP system. Additionally, on-premises systems are better suited for businesses with regulatory or compliance requirements which might be tough to meet within the cloud.
Cloud-Based VoIP System
With cloud-based systems, there is absolutely no maintenance or hardware, apart from IP phones, to worry about. The provider houses, maintains and upgrades all the PBX technology for you personally.
The cloud offers growing businesses the opportunity easily add new lines and provides quick access to latest features.
Businesses typically pay a monthly charge on the per-user basis.
Pros and cons: With cloud-based systems, there is no PBX hardware or dial-tone services to purchase and sustain. Your provider handles that for you. You can put in place and configure 09dexjpky system for your business, all out of your computer. The down-side of a cloud-based system is that you aren’t in charge of the hardware. When the system falls, you need to rely on your provider to obtain it fixed immediately.
Exactly what the experts say: “If a business does not have a major staff and does not have anyone to manage its system, it is actually a excellent option to complement a hosted option,” English said. “[Cloud phone solutions] eliminate the headache of experiencing to preserve your personal phone system.”