How to choose between a cloud and an onsite NBN ready phone system​

One of the buzzwords being thrown around over the past decade when it comes to anything IT or telecommunications is ‘put it in the cloud’. But what does it really mean and should your business make the change? 

Here, we take a look at the pro’s and con’s of a cloud phone system versus an onsite phone system and a simple checklist you can use to make the right decision for your business.

Firstly, what is the difference between a Cloud Phone System versus an On Premise Phone System:

Cloud Phone System;

  1. The main equipment, known as the phone system, is stored and maintained in a data centre by the carrier
  2. Requires CAT5 or above data cabling, because the handsets required are IP. Which means they need to be compatible to run over the internet
  3. Uses the internet to make all phone calls. Even when you want to call someone in the office next to you. The phone call leaves your office, hits the carriers data centre and then bounces back to the office next to you
  4. Generic IP handsets
  5. Remote support only. Because all you have are handsets at your office, so when there are any issues you will typically be speaking to an offshore call centre
  6. You never own the phone system. This is purely a subscription model, where you continue to pay monthly for the rental of the phone system and the lines to make and receive calls from
  7. No software or firmware fees. Because you pay a subscription fee every month, this includes all updates, bug fixes and service requirements.

On Premise Phone System

  1. Requires space to hold the phone system, which is about the size of a PC tower
  2. Can use existing digital cabling or new CAT5 or above cabling. Because most phone systems are a Hybrid and allow for either telephone handset technology
  3. Makes calls within the office without needing the internet. Even though all calls made outside of the business will require the internet
  4. Specific designed handsets to suit the phone system and all the features. Typically resulting in easier and smoother use by the you, the end user
  5. On premise and remote support. Because all hardware is at your office, when there is an issue a technician can come to site and resolve it. For the times when it is a known issue, remote support and troubleshooting is appropriate. Typically a team who has on road technicians will have local in house phone support.  
  6. You can choose to buy your phone system outright, lease it or finance to own. Typically a phone system should last 5-7 years, some as long as 10+. So, the overall cost of on premise versus cloud phone system can become very financially attractive
  7. There are regular updates which improve performance and features. Although not mandatory, typically recommended. If you take a maintenance package from your provider, these are usually included. 

So, how do I decide whether I should get an on premise or cloud phone system? Here are some considerations;

ON PREMISE PHONE SYSTEM

  • We need at least 3 or more handsets
  • We must have responsive, local and on the road support
  • We have old cabling and don’t want to spend the money to recable the whole office
  • We prefer to own our equipment

CLOUD PHONE SYSTEM

  • I’m not sure how long we will need a phone system for 
  • We only need 1 or 2 handsets
  • We have 3 or more handsets, but don’t want to own the equipment 
  • We’re OK with offshore remote support only
  • We have new CAT5 or above cabling

Ultimately, we always recommend speaking to a telecommunication specialist. Because once they get to understand your business and where it wants to go over the coming few years, they can provide the right solution tailored to your specific needs.