Many businesses are now used to taking advantage of the benefits VoIP services offer at their own premises. The advent of cloud-based VoIP will bring further rewards, but there are issues which might mean you will need to weigh up whether it is right for your business.
Let’s look at both the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP in the cloud to see whether it is a good fit for your company.
The Advantages of Cloud-Based VoIP
Reduced Upfront Costs:
Because the VoIP network is not based at your premises you have no costs in terms of infrastructure. The only equipment you will need to purchase is your IP phones and some routing kit.
In contrast to an in-house system, there are no restrictions on the number of people who can connect and adding new users is a far simpler process.
Accessible from Anywhere:
One of the biggest advantages is that the VoIP system becomes accessible from anywhere in the world as long as you can connect via broadband. This means that your staff can as easily use the system while travelling as they can while sitting at their desk.
Management is Outsourced:
Your IT department no longer has to worry about the management of your VoIP system. This reduces the workload on the department; lowers costs, and means less time expenditure carrying out maintenance on a VoIP system.
The Disadvantages of Cloud-Based VoIP
There is a question mark about the security of cloud-based VoIP, particularly if it has to be accessed via a wireless connection. This may cause unease for some businesses and their clients.
Lack of Ownership:
While many businesses will enjoy the perks of not having to purchase and maintain a VoIP infrastructure, for others not owning the system might cause concern. Only you can weigh up whether you view it as an asset and whether you, therefore, want to maintain ownership.
Reliance on a 3rd Party:
The lack of ownership leads into the final potential disadvantage which is your greater reliance on a 3rd party. This naturally means you will have less control over their actions than your in-house staff. You will need to place a lot of trusts in your providers and ensure they keep good lines of communication open with you and react quickly when you need changes made to the system. While some businesses will take issue with this, others will be glad it’s out of their hands.
These pros and cons really call into question many of the issues which you will need to address as a business. You need to weigh up what factors are most important for you in terms of costs, control and ownership. A small business may have an easier choice to make as they won’t always have the staff to support an in-house system and, therefore, the benefits of VoIP in the cloud are clear. Larger businesses may prefer to retain a greater level of control.
Issues surrounding security can be addressed by choosing your provider carefully; ensuring any Wi-Fi network you use is secured, and making certain your data is protected by authentication and encryption.
In terms of business connectivity, the clear benefit of being able to use cloud-based VoIP anywhere in the world might mean that over the long term this is something which will give companies who utilise it the edge. This guide to business connectivity highlights the importance of flawless connectivity for businesses as clients demand ever greater contact with the businesses they use and because many of these clients will be based internationally, global access will be a prime advantage.
Whether you use VoIP services only on your own premises or whether you access them through the cloud, the high level of connectivity VoIP offers your business means this is a technology which will continue to be valued, whatever its future evolution.