Reasons Why Cloud Phone Service Beats Local
First, let me start by asking you if you know what cloud phone service is. In short, it’s like any web-based service you subscribe to online like email but this product is telephone service or what the nerds call “hosted telephony”. Hosted is just another word for ‘on the internet’ and while we’re defining things ‘cloud’ and ‘internet’ are synonymous. I’m stopping short of defining Voice over IP or VoIP or calling this VoIP primarily because technically most phone service is delivered over the internet protocol or “IP”.
Ok so now you know what hosted telephony is, phone service you can order and manage on the internet what of it? What’s the big deal? You have phone service with your office’s internet company and it works fine enough. Here are four reasons plus a bonus why hosted telephony beats your local phone or internet service.
Typical local phone service is ordered to a physical address and copper wires are strung from the street into your building, through the walls or ceiling to your desks. The most portability you can get is call forwarding to another phone like a mobile or voicemail you can call in to while on the go. Worst of all, you’re locked into a relationship with a slow, innovation lacking, monopoly enjoying internet/telco that doesn’t understand software (as a service). If you expand your office to a new town or city or expand your operations to support work from home (WFH) or work from anywhere, you now have to try and muddle together a phone solution that ends up leaving everyone using their mobile devices anyway. With hosted telephony, your vendor is location and internet service agnostic, it rides on any internet connection you have and it works just like a smart phone app or desktop application. Your employees and resources can have an office phone where ever they are and on any device they have. And if you still want a classic desk phone, those are supported too – you just need to order any of dozens or more of standards based voip phones that need only be connected to your wifi or plugged into your network.
Sorry for the buzz word but it does mean something. If you’re growing or slowing, add or drop users and phone lines, departments, regions etc as the business grows or contracts. Just like adding or disabling users on your network, you do the same with hosted phone services. Scalable solutions come with the benefit of tighter cost controls so you’re only paying for the services you need. Legacy phone service historically has not been this flexible, at least not without a half day of calls and emails and contract renewals with a sales manager.
Small businesses and enterprises have been able to have advanced features like auto attendants, call routing, call pooling, voicemail, and more by installing expensive hardware in the office somewhere. While these systems were feature rich in the pre-broadband internet era, they soon became dinosaurs once hosted telephony arrived. Now businesses small and large can run feature rich PBX’s without any complex and expensive hardware to install in a closet or data room. All that function lives in the hosted vendor’s cloud accessible through a website where admins and managers can access and configure from anywhere.
Perhaps a summary of the aforementioned reasons but the final reason why cloud phone service beats local is because it’s easy and simple. Order it online, manage it yourself (or with a resource of your own), take it anywhere you want, expand or contract as needed, and leverage all the features a modern phone system has to offer and more. Do this on your time without the hassle of a sales call and take control of a key function of your business. If you have an in house IT or outsourced IT vendor, these resources can easily manage this without having to be physically in your office. With more office being decentralized and working from home, IT can support and provision new users quickly and easily.
I allude to this above but legacy phone service providers know most of their customers don’t know they have an option when it comes to their phone service so they exploit this by locking customers in to long term contracts with a product that is often more than the customer needs and at a higher price. Yes it’s true cloud services do provide price incentives for longer terms than a month to month but it’s usually transparent and easy to break if a change is needed. Still though because the internet brings so much competition, we’re able to get the best product at the best price and have it the way we want.
Intentionally this article is not a review of specific cloud phone service providers, call me if you need a recommendation, however for clarity, this article describes services provided by company’s like RingCentral.com, Microsoft 365 Business Voice, 8×8.com, Vonage Business Voice, and more compared to service by Comcast, Cox, Charter, AT&T, etc.
And finally, there are many very specific features that I didn’t list but here are two biggies… these cloud services also feature SMS texting and efax services. Features may vary by provider but in general it’s ubiquitous. Receive faxes as a PDF in an email or in the phone app and send faxes like printing a document. Very convenient.
Eric is a Business IT cybersecurity advisor, consultant, manager, integrator, and protector who founded EVERNET in 2007. Eric co-hosts a podcast called “Finance and Technology Insights by Brian & Eric” on YouTube. Eric is a regular contributor to the EVERNET blog, writing about the latest technology news and providing his expertise in cyber security prevention and management.