Should Your Next Phone System Be Cloud Based?
In the third blog of this series, Call Quality and reliability issues for Cloud based systems, we discussed the importance of call quality when switching to a cloud based system. This included making sure your network is capable of handling the demands of an internet VoIP system to avoid dropped or degraded calls. We also covered what your provider should offer in terms of quality assurance, with a list of five factors that could affect your communications system. Reliability issues were covered, including the importance of a service level agreement (SLA) that provides “Five 9s Reliability”: 99.999% performance with multiple geographically dispersed redundant data centers to eliminate single points of failure.
One of the major advantages of a cloud based system is that a significant part of it is software. This allows for regular performance upgrades at much lower cost than upgrading physical equipment. Be sure you are aware of your carrier’s policy on software upgrades, though. Many companies provide free upgrades as they improve their software over time and add new features to attract new customers, but some may charge an annual fee or even a per-upgrade fee. Make sure you know your potential providers policy in advance.
Equipment is also an obsolescence consideration, but another advantage of a cloud service is that it allows employees to use their own devices, such as smart phones and tablets, which they tend to regularly upgrade on their own. A downside is that you own, rather than lease, office hardware so when your desk telephones or computers become obsolete, you are responsible for purchasing new equipment. As we covered in our second blog, Is your network ready for Voice over Internet Protocol? making sure your current phones, computers and network are capable of handling a new VoIP System will mitigate much of this issue.
Another big advantage of a cloud based system is the ease of scalability. When you first move to a cloud system, you only purchase what you need for your business, and as mentioned before, you are always using the latest updated technology at that point. As you grow, you can simply add the peripheral devices you need. But remember, most service providers do charge a fee for installation or set up of new devices when you do expand. They may also charge for the opposite: if you need to downsize. As we continue to emphasize, always be sure you are conscious of what charges you will be responsible for if anything changes in the size and scope of your business or network, and not just on the growth side.
Before you make an investment in a cloud based communications system, be sure your network is ready to handle the speed and quality required for voice communications. And before you commit to a service provider, be sure you understand their SLA and all other costs you will incur for growing or downsizing your system. Always consult with a reliable, trustworthy expert in the communications field. SoundTel will be pleased to answer any questions you may have and can help you decide if moving to the cloud is the right decision for your business. Call 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493 for a free communications analysis.
Our next (and final in this series) blog on cloud based systems will cover Flexibility and Remote Access.