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Business communication has come a long way since traditional landline calling. Today, it’s all about internet-based phone systems, aka, VoIP. But before investing in VoIP phones, you need to determine how you plan to deploy them -- in the cloud or on-premises. Let’s dig into the differences between the two options.

Installation and maintenance

On-premises VoIP phone systems are installed at your company’s office, typically managed and maintained by your own personnel. While you can hire a third party to manage the phone system for you, what you can’t avoid is the hardware cost of setting up your VoIP phones.

Cloud-based VoIP, on the other hand, means all the software and hardware are hosted and maintained by a VoIP provider. Other than the physical phones, everything else is provided virtually, which means you won’t be bothered with expensive hardware costs nor will you need an in-house staff to manage the system.

But since all support requests must be addressed by your VoIP provider, service responsiveness and flexibility are crucial as they can directly impact your daily operations.

Security

You might think having on-premises VoIP is the obvious choice when it comes to security, and in one specific case that’s very true. If you have vast IT resources, deploying VoIP on-premises gives you better security control since you will know your system’s capabilities as well as every nooks and crannies.

But for small- to medium-sized businesses, cloud-hosted VoIP remains a favorable option because every aspect of security is taken care of by a provider whose reputation rests on maintaining the most stringent security measures. They are well-versed in identifying vulnerabilities, reducing the area of attacks, and protecting all entry points.

Control

On-premises solutions give you better control of your VoIP phones since you can design systems suited to your needs without relying on a third-party. This makes it a popular choice for larger enterprises with dedicated IT technicians needed to customize and manage the system.

With cloud-hosted VoIP, you relinquish certain control to your service provider, which is the price you pay for the convenience of professional deployment and maintenance. This, however, doesn’t give your provider the right to monitor your calls or conduct any activity that breaches your business’s confidentiality.

Scalability

With on-premises VoIP systems, you rely on your in-house personnel to add or remove features to accommodate your changing needs. There are various backend processes involved and every expansion often increases the complexity you have to manage yourself.

With a cloud-hosted solution, you’ll have an entire team of technicians at your beck and call so features can be added or removed as needed. If you’re anticipating future changes, cloud-hosted VoIP will be more effective in the long run.

Whether you’re looking to host your VoIP phone systems on-premises or in the cloud, we can help make the process quick and painless. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to advise.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

The days of needing a landline to stay connected with your customers are coming to an end. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) lets you make calls over the Internet. Benefits include cost savings, scalability, and mobility. However, there are certain drawbacks to consider before switching over.

What is VoIP?

VoIP converts analog audio signals into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet. With VoIP, you can use the Internet to make phone calls rather than relying on the phone company. VoIP calls can be made through the use of analog telephone adaptors (ATAs), computer-to-computer connections, or IP phones.

ATAs allow you to connect a standard phone to your computer with an analog-to-digital converter. ATAs often come free with the purchase of VoIP service and setup is simple. Computer-to-computer connections are another way to use VoIP. This solution requires a computer with a microphone, speakers, sound card, and Internet connection. You'll also need VoIP software, but it is typically free or low cost.

The most popular VoIP solution for businesses is IP phones. IP phones look identical to normal phones. However, they have an Ethernet connector allowing them to be connected directly to your network.

VoIP Benefits

Compared to standard telephone service, VoIP saves you money. Operating costs for VoIP service providers are much lower than those for traditional phone companies. These savings are passed on to you. VoIP also provides a suite of free features including caller ID, call waiting, call transfer, and three-way calling, for which most phone companies charge extra. Furthermore, long distance VoIP calls are cheap or free, depending on how the call is placed.

VoIP also helps you scale. As your company grows, you won't have to install new phone lines. You can use your existing broadband and simply buy more handsets.

In addition to scalability, VoIP offers flexibility. IP phones and computer-to-computer connections let you make calls almost anywhere you go. As long as there's an Internet connection, you can hold a conversation. Apart from making phone calls, you can also use VoIP for video conferencing. This allows you to stay in touch with employees and clients, no matter where they're located.

Many people shy away from VoIP due to rumors of inferior sound quality. However, the opposite is true. VoIP typically provides better sound quality than traditional phones, but it does depend on the quality of your Internet connection.

VoIP Drawbacks

The most obvious drawback to VoIP is reliability. Traditional phones just work, while Internet services frequently has hiccups or downtime. These issues can cause latency, jitter, and packet loss during VoIP conversations. VoIP also depends on your own electricity. A power outage means no phones when you use VoIP. This is particularly problematic if you need to dial 000 for emergency services.

Although VoIP provides outright cost savings, you may need to hire personnel to manage it. Simple VoIP systems require little technical know-how, but larger VoIP systems need to be installed, configured, and maintained by experts. If you have more than just a few employees, you'll probably need the assistance of a VoIP expert.

Another thing to consider is your internet service. VoIP will add extra load to your current internet connection. Ensure your internet service has enough bandwidth capacity to allow for this extra load. Also, ensure your IT provider has installed a business-grade router or firewall that can properly treat VoIP and other internet traffic with the correct priority.

Lastly, VoIP's increasing popularity has unfortunately attracted hackers. Hackers may intercept VoIP calls or even bring down the phone system. The best defence against these attacks is to follow best practices, install a business-grade firewall, apply regular security updates, and monitor for exploits.

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