The on-site vs. cloud-hosted IP PBX debate continues; the ongoing question of which system will work best for your VoIP solution. Each IP PBX option includes its own benefits and advantages, the key is to determine which is best suited for your business’s unique needs. While it may appear that everything and everyone is moving to the Cloud, this does not determine whether the cloud-hosted PBX option is for you.
In this article, we examine the five main reasons why an on-site PBX system may be the preferred choice when contrasted to the alternate option of a cloud-hosted PBX.
Having full control of one’s own business communication systems is desirable for business owners and operational heads. By providing users with complete ownership of their communications solution, on-premise IP PBXs offer a higher level of control, customization and responsiveness. When using a hosted service, the user has no control over the IP PBX, as everything is handled through the hosted provider. For example, simple tasks like adding a new user can be done quickly with an on-site PBX, no need to contact your service provider and wait for them to make the change (typically at an extra recurring cost). With on-premise IP PBXs, users can also build integrations with software such as CRM systems for a fully unified communications solution. With hosted PBXs, stronger integrations with other systems are often not an option, nor is it customizable enough to target a business’s specific needs.
One of the major differences between hosted and on-premise solutions is the type of monetary investment it takes to implement and run these systems. Customarily, hosted services don’t require an IT team as most of it is already set up and managed by the service provider, therefore businesses often have a low initial cost of ownership. A hosted service is less expensive in the short term, with less startup equipment and set-up cost. However, with monthly subscription fees and other reoccurring costs for added capacity and special features, hosted becomes more expensive over time. Typically, hosted services are a great choice for smaller businesses or start-ups that need to deploy a system quickly and do not have the IT staff to manage an in-house system.
It’s difficult to go a day without reading about a new hack or cyber-attack, so understandably security is a top priority. On-premise solutions offer greater protection for your communication network over hosted, due to the nature of controlling, monitoring and securing your own network. Instead of putting security in the hands of your hosted provider, you’re able to maintain control over your system and network, thus the security as well.
Size is one of the top determinants for hosted versus on-premise. Depending on the size of your organization, your required features, cost and control will vary. Hosted IP PBXs are often good for smaller businesses who don’t have an IT team or system administrator readily available, and when the recurring costs per user won’t snowball into an unmanageable amount. For businesses with simpler feature needs, hosted solutions would be a good fit, as you won’t be needing as many customized features and integrations. While medium to larger businesses often require more control, greater customizations and higher capacity, which makes an on-premise solution preferable.
As is the nature with VoIP technology, a stable internet connection is relied upon to keep our communication systems running. Both hosted and on-premise choices offer different continuity features to make this possible. With hosted, if your internet goes down so does your phone system, although calls can be forwarded to voicemail or mobile phones, as the hosted provider keeps the system running on their servers. If your service provider is experiencing issues, you’re at their whim waiting to get service back up. With an on-premise solution you have multiple options if your internet connection goes out. First, incorporating PSTN lines means calls can still be made, and to avoid hardware downtime from other causes, you can incorporate a redundant or high-availability solution.
As evaluated in the above points, each IP PBX option has its own advantages and disadvantages, the key is to determine which is best suited for your needs in order to create the perfect PBX solution to meet the demands of your business.