Hands down, the most important factor in deciding between phone technology for business is the type of equipment you already have. Despite what you may think, the functionality of virtual phone systems and cloud-based systems is strikingly similar, but the costs are vastly different. When it comes time for you to make a decision, here is what you need to know.
What You Need
The major difference between a virtual phone system and a cloud-based system is the location of the hardware. With a cloud based system, a third party provider holds all of the servers where your software is installed, and you access it remotely via the internet. In a virtual phone system, the servers hosting your phone software are local to your office. The software itself is largely unchanged, but you are now responsible for maintaining the hardware on your own.
What It Costs
What It Costs
Typically, the setup of a virtual phone system requires the purchase of the server hardware up front, as well as the software license. By contrast, a cloud-based system usually includes a monthly rental and service subscription, but minimal up front costs. If you are a small business looking to upgrade from an on-premise or land line system, the cost of purchasing the hardware can be quite prohibitive while the cloud option is more affordable. On the other hand, if you are a business that already has some server space available, you can take advantage of the hardware you already have to host your phone system. This brings the cost of a virtual phone system way down compared to other phone technology for business and may make it more affordable than paying a monthly fee for use of a cloud server.
If you're still on the fence about whether a virtual phone system is right for you, it's important to understand what you do gain from the virtual system. Since the hardware and software are local, your phone system is less likely to experience outages caused by Internet issues. This is a common problem that is not covered by the cloud provider since it is usually the fault of the intermediary Internet provider. If your business requires a high level of reliability at all times, the extra money to buy your own servers for a virtual phone system could be well worth the investment. This is especially true if you can't guarantee the quality of Internet service you will get.
Phone technology for business has come a long way. While many people are moving to the cloud today, virtual phone systems remain an important piece of company communications strategies across the nation. Depending on the equipment you already have available to you, the cost of a virtual phone system can vary greatly from case to case. If you do choose a virtual phone system, you can be assured a higher level of reliability all around.