If you’re looking for a new business phone system, there are several questions you have to answer first.
1. Do you need a full phone system that includes physical office telephones, or could your small business get by by using a virtual telephone service that relies solely on smart phones as an alternative to traditional office phones?
2. If you do need office telephones, which kind of service do you want? You must choose from office voice and data cabling, which is offered by a neighborhood or regional phone company, along with a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, which runs online and it is made available from a multitude of providers.
3. If you choose a VoIP, do you want to house the machine at your business (on-premises) or have it hosted by your service provider (cloud-based)?
We will allow you to answer those questions, but if you are already aware what you require and would like to see our recommendations to find the best business phone systems, visit our very best picks page.
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If you’re unclear yet, continue reading. We’ll fill you in on the advantages and disadvantages of each of the following types of phone systems:
Virtual phone systems
Cloud and so on-premises VoIP systems
Virtual Phone Systems
Virtual phone systems work by connecting a company phone line to remote workers on their own mobile or home phones.
These kinds of systems function as an extensive call-forwarding solution, wherein calls are moved to each employee’s designated phone (cell or home) every time a customer or client calls the primary business number.
These systems include many different features, for example automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening and internet based faxing.
Advantages and disadvantages: This type of service allows businesses with employees working from locations apart from the company’s office to show an expert face all the time. Furthermore, it gives remote workers usage of a variety of phone system features that mobile and home phones don’t offer. The downside is virtual systems aren’t a whole-fledged phone system. Your calls will still be processed on your mobile or home phone network. Which means you are charged for your contact the virtual system and employ increase your mobile- or home-phone minutes.
Perfect for: Businesses having a large band of remote workers, or sole-proprietor businesses.
Traditional Landline Systems
Landlines in this instance are traditional phone systems, typically supported by a local or regional phone company.
Landlines, often known as public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), are analog systems that run through the telephone company’s traditional copper wiring.
To perform a landline service, you need on-premises PBX hardware. This is the hardware that’s utilized to create multiple extensions and allow for phone system features, including call transferring and call directories.
You will find landline systems today which are considered a hybrid with VoIP systems. You will discover a traditional phone line that comes into the business that connects to a business’s data network. The information network within the businesses is then utilized to connect each individual phone.
Positives and negatives: Landline systems can be a reliable, time-tested solution that a great many companies are comfy using. The greatest negative of such systems is that most phone system providers are moving away from landlines, leading them to be more difficult not only to purchase, but to mend should something break.
Best for: Large corporations who have your budget to pay for them along with an in-house IT staff to work and keep them. Also essential for businesses without high-speed internet access.
VoIP Phone Systems
As opposed to the copper wires that landlines employ, VoIP phone systems make use of the same internet connection a clients are already using to have online.
VoIP systems provide features that previously only large corporations using expensive PBX hardware had entry to, including automated attendants, call queues and computer integration that allows voicemails to be delivered to email inboxes and computers to be turned into “softphones.”
VoIP systems give remote workers access to a business’s phone system using their mobile phone.
Pros and cons: VoIP systems offer a sophisticated phone system complete with all the current features. These systems are typically setup and configured, and they are significantly less expensive than landline systems. The down-side, however, is these systems depend on your online connection. So, if you’re in a community with spotty internet service, this sort of phone system wouldn’t be right for you. [See Related Story: VoIP for Business: Why It Seems Sensible]
Best for: Smaller businesses that are looking the functionality of any sophisticated phone system in a reasonable price, and companies that want their remote employees to have access to the cell phone system.
Should you think that a VoIP system will meet your needs, now you have another decision to produce. While landline systems force you to house all of the necessary equipment inside your business, VoIP systems supply you with the option to purchase your equipment outright and self-host, or even to rent the machine from the service provider and have the provider house it from the cloud.
On-Premises VoIP Systems
By having an on-premises system, each of the equipment, including the non-public branch exchange (PBX) hardware needed to keep the phone system running, is housed inside your business.
On-premises systems need a large capital expenditure, when you are purchasing the equipment upfront.
Whilst you pay one-time fees for all of the hardware using a self-hosted system, you pay fees each month for your SIP trunking, or PRI circuit, which can be what’s required to allow calls being made and received.
Your IT staff is mainly responsible for handling maintenance, repairs and upgrades from the system.
Pros and cons: The main benefit of an on-premises system is that you are always in control of your service. You will be counting on yourself to ensure it can be operational and configured how you want it. The flip side, however, is there is a significant upfront cost, since you will need to buy every one of the equipment. Additionally, you will need someone on staff who can service and look after the program.
Precisely what the experts say: “A lot 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 from the Society of Communications Technology Consultants International, told Business News Daily. “Some large enterprise-level clients will frequently select the premises-based solution because they might have the workers to back up it, they require a lot of customization, or they can be very concerned with privacy”
Great for: Firms that don’t feel comfortable using the cloud and desire total power over their system and use of equipment at all times. Also beneficial to businesses having an in-house IT team that could create and look after a VoIP system. Additionally, on-premises systems are better suited for businesses with regulatory or compliance requirements which may be challenging to meet from the cloud.
Cloud-Based VoIP System
With cloud-based systems, there is absolutely no maintenance or hardware, aside from IP phones, to think about. The company houses, maintains and upgrades all the PBX technology for you personally.
The cloud offers growing businesses the opportunity easily add new lines and supplies fast access to extra features.
Businesses typically pay a fee every month on the per-user basis.
Advantages and disadvantages: With cloud-based systems, there is absolutely no PBX hardware or dial-tone services to buy and keep. Your provider handles that to suit your needs. You can create and configure 09dexjpky system for your business, all from your computer. The downside of the cloud-based system is that you aren’t in command of the hardware. When the system falls, you need to depend upon your provider to get it fixed immediately.
Precisely what the experts say: “If a business does not have a huge staff and lacks anyone to manage its system, it is actually a great option to complement a hosted option,” English said. “[Cloud phone solutions] clear away the headache of experiencing to keep up your personal phone system.”