…is a cloud computing solution for managing delivering and receiving telephone communications.
Traditionally a PBX or “private branch exchange” was an dedicated piece of telephone equipment kept in your communications cupboard that had multiple public telephone lines to/from the main telephone network terminated. The PBX element then provided an office telephone network including the management of telephone extensions.
With the advances in voice over IP (VoIP) or internet telephony, telephone switching hardware no longer needs to be situated ‘on-site’. A hosted PBX solution allows businesses a very simple and intuitive way to manage and deliver telephony to all geographic office locations subject to internet connectivity.
Using the cloud delivery – “Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS)” – model for telephony services frees subscribers from number portability and geographic constraints; for instance, a worker in Glasgow can now make and receive calls from a London telephone number. This aspect of the service is especially useful for companies using serviced office locations who do not wish to subscribe to fixed telephone numbers that are not portable. Here are some advantages of using a Cloud hosted PBX provider:
Freedom from geographic constraints
Your telephone numbers and connection to your company telephone system are not tied to any physical location. To use your business phone to make and receive calls you only require an internet connection and IP Phone or PC / Laptop / SmartPhone.
No hardware or installation costs
Unlike a traditional PBX system installation or telephone switch there are no hardware or installation costs, which the exception of traditional terminals (handsets) should they be a requirement. Using a cloud hosted also PBX frees up your cash flow and provides manageable monthly subscription based billing – also known as a operational expenditure model.
Free “on-net” telephone calls
Calls between users on the cloud-hosted PBX system are free of charge providing substantial savings, especially for multi-site organisations.
Access to enterprise class systems
A cloud hosted PBX provider delivers the latest technology benefits and during the lifecycle of the agreement would continue to maintain and develop telephone system features which would be rolled out to your organisation without necessarily incurring additional costs.
Consolidation of call plans
Unite all your offices onto a single manageable unified call plan, and single bill!
Full PBX features
Services such as voice mail, automatic call routing, audio conferencing and unified communications are generally offered as standard by all cloud PBX providers.
Here are a couple of the main things to consider when looking at engaging with a Cloud-Hosted PBX provider.
VoIP or “voice-over-IP” technologies have greatly advanced in terms of required bandwidth and routing. But remember this is an internet-based service and may require a dedicated broadband line depending on number of users.
Not all hosted PBX providers are created equal with open source PBX and voice platforms allowing many hosting providers to enter this market. Always take references, check financials, check your numbers are portable, and ask for details of provider redundancy in the event of system outage.
Compare call charge plans with your current provider ensuring that charges such as international dial or mobile calls are cost effective.
What devices does your cloud PBX provider support? Do they only support IP phones supplied by the provider or a wide range of SIP-compliant hardphones and softphones?
Service level agreement and support policy
What is the providers support policy? Does it cover system uptime and where does the provider responsibility end? Always confirm scheduled downtime and upgrade windows.
At Compare the Cloud, we’re here to help you get started and to help you identify suitable cloud hosted PBX providers to evaluate and work with. Take a few minutes to tell us about your company in our Cloud Discovery Q&A, and we’ll present you with some informed options – and help you take full advantage of what a cloud hosted PBX system offers.