By Emily Faracca – On
How do you know if your business phone system is "cloud-based"?
When it comes to types of business phone systems, cloud-based will probably be your most low maintenance choice.
A cloud-based business phone system simply means that the server is hosted off site in a secure data center. It's almost synonymous with VoIP as it means phone service that is delivered through the internet. To put it simply, it means a group of phones that work together, typically in a business setting, to route calls using an internet connection.
Although there are some providers claiming to offer "free" cloud phone capabilities, you shouldn't expect to benefit from this service. Your business phone system is not something you'll want to skimp out on. It can be the most valuable investment you choose to make (or not make) - and a reliable phone service can maximize your benefits or cost you dearly.
Think about the cost of your service dropping a call with an important client, or being unable to access an important voicemail message, or even worse, missing it altogether. Having easy access to your phone's data means having access to your business.
Benefits of a Cloud-Based Phone System
There are significant cost savings associated with switching to a cloud-based phone system. According to onsip.com, small businesses that switch to VoIP save on local calls on an average of 40 percent. The cost of international calls is reduced by almost 90 percent. No matter what your volume and usage, it's almost guaranteed that you will pay less each month than you would with a landline service.
Another benefit associated with switching to "the cloud" is mobility. As we discussed earlier, you don't need to be at your desk to utilize your business phone system. Instead, small business and cloud based phones go hand in hand, anywhere. You can work from home and access the service, or you can take a call while off-site and access the service.
It's a way to centralize data and minutes so your phone bill doesn't shock you each month. You know exactly what you can expect to see. Geographic flexibility means that whether your employees are scattered across the country or simply across the neighborhood, you are all operating under the same system.
Another benefit is Geographic Redundancy. This is a fancy term for what simply means that there are different servers that are a mirror replica of the others in what is known as a decentralized setup. Think about it this way - a man who has a great deal of money and hides it in different places all over the world. If one of his stores gets robbed, he has plenty of backup. In the same way, if one of the servers go down temporarily, there is plenty of backup. Because of this set up, there is a very small chance that your service will ever be disrupted or a call will be dropped.
When shopping for a service provider, ask them what the downtime of their service is to get a sense of how much a disruption can affect service. If they have a "good" geographical redundancy, listen for a number as close to zero as possible.
Similar to VoIP, you won't have to pay for equipment maintenance, installation, mechanical malfunctions, or IT hours to keep your system up and running. All of these issues will be dealt with by your service provider, wherever their site is.
With that in mind, be sure to prioritize the customer service of the provider you are considering. Most cloud companies should have a dedicated customer support team that is easy to get a hold of and can take your questions at any time. A knowledgeable professional, as you probably know, is a lot better to deal with than an automated service that puts you on hold frequently and passes you from one representative to the next.
Cloud-based systems are in many ways the future of business phone systems. As more and more small businesses turn to them, they take advantage of a new kind of flexibility and reliability. Dropped calls and lost voicemails are not something your business should have to think about or deal with - it is 2019, after all.