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Thursday, 03 November 2016 08:58

10 Reasons to Move to a Hosted PBX

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Whether you’re planning to move your business onto a hosted private branch exchange (PBX) or stick to an onsite solution for the foreseeable, it’s worth knowing the pros and cons of both setups.

With BT set to switch-off ISDN lines in 2025, many businesses are now moving to flexible hosted telephony solutions, which is why we’ve outlined ten ways a hosted PBX can benefit your business.

1. No maintenance costs - An on-site PBX needs ongoing maintenance to ensure that it’s operating correctly, and if any issues should arise a qualified engineer is often needed to handle repairs or roll out software updates. This work eats into a company’s precious budget, and even if there is an annual maintenance cover plan in place, it’s additional cost that increasingly comes under pressure to be axed from shrinking budgets. A hosted PBX, however, is often maintained by the provider as part of the monthly licence fee cost, meaning no surprise repair bills at the end of the month and no additional maintenance outlay.

2. Shift from Capital to Operational Expenditure - Being able to control a business’s expenses on a monthly basis grants a company a valuable degree of flexibility to move money around and plan ahead. Because hosted phone solutions are provided as a service, spend is controlled easily. The only capital expenditure required when moving to a hosted PBX is to purchase the phones themselves, an investment of hundreds rather than thousands of pounds

3. Strong Security - A major concern for businesses considering hosted PBXs is the security of these remote solutions. However, recent research showed that in 2015, businesses who invested heavily in hosted technology saw security breaches decrease by up to 20%.

4. Easy to Scale -Hosted solutions are easy to expand, as they are essentially a subscription service. Busy sales period coming up? Simply add an extra set of licences to your subscription, and remove them when the rush period is over. This scalability ensures that you can always maintain an appropriate service for your business, neither overspending or under-investing in your telecoms.

5. Access to Extensive Hardware Support - Specialist hosted PBX providers have access to extensive hardware systems, which require a significant investment; for example, many PBX hosts will run mirror servers at geographically separate locations to ensure that if one server suffers a malfunction, the second will remain unaffected (and so will your business). Investing in two servers, with one just as a backup, is uneconomical for most businesses, and hosted PBX solutions offer a way to access this security on a subscription basis.

6. Regular Updates - A hosted PBX will be routinely updated by the operators, ensuring that your company has access to all the latest versions of their technology. The responsibility for upgrading an on-site PBX usually rests with the owner, which means that your IT department will be responsible for carrying out updates (or you’ll have to pay for a specialist technician to visit).

7. Disaster Recovery - Both onsite and hosted PBXs offer powerful call routing abilities, and are able to quickly redirect calls from one location to another. However, an onsite PBX has the same vulnerabilities as the rest of your premises’ infrastructure; should you lose power, you might be unable to make use of the PBX at all unless you have an automatic failover plan in place. With hosted phone systems the risk is removed, you can simply redirect calls from one location to another by logging into a web portal, minimising disruption to business operations.

8. Custom Numbers - An on-site PBX is capable of providing custom phone numbers, but setup and management of this relies on your own in-house technical team, and internal pressures can make this a difficult process. A hosted PBX on the other hand is entirely managed by an outside provider; simply request a custom number, and setup will be taken care of for you. This allows you to buy or cancel lines quickly and easily to respond to demands, providing a great degree of flexibility - a hosted PBX is therefore a great choice if you’re looking to enable flexible working for your employees.

9. Full Hardware Setup - Not all communications equipment works properly together, and sourcing all the correct hardware can be a real headache (especially for small businesses, or those with significant legacy infrastructure). Hosted solutions take care of this, as they offer an end-to-end service which includes all the necessary hardware to ensure you’re up and running.

10. Take the load off your IT team - An on-site PBX is a critical point of failure for your business; if it goes down, your entire communications system goes down. Therefore, it’s upkeep becomes one of your IT department’s primary tasks, at the expense of day to day tasks. In addition, any updates and customisation will need to be handled internally, requiring even more time to be dedicated solely to your PBX. Hosted solutions take some of the strain off of your IT staff, allowing them to focus on other areas of your business.

Hosted PBXs aren’t the only solution available, and on-site PBXs certainly have a valuable place in the market - a side-by-side comparison of different telephony option available shows that there is an excellent array of choices for different businesses these days. It’s important for businesses to understand the many areas in which hosted PBXs excel, though, so that they can make informed decisions when creating a communications system.

Gemma Maroney is the marketing manager for communications specialists Solution IP. Connect with them on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter and Facebook for more advice on all things telecoms.

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