From Hosted PBX to Cloud PBX

Posted on: 2015-05-11 | Categories:VoIP VoIP Technology

Business organizations looking to implement VoIP are faced with a plethora of choices – they can implement their own customized, on-premise solution with SIP trunking, buy hosted services from a third-party vendor or use cloud enabled VoIP solutions.

For those enterprises that have decided against an on-premise system, the differences between hosted and cloud VoIP may be unclear. Doesn’t hosted mean the same as cloud?

Similarities Between Hosted PBX And Cloud PBX

Before analyzing the differences between hosted and cloud PBX systems, it is important to realize that there are many similarities between the two which can be the cause of confusion.

Both solutions are delivered as services to multiple clients over data networks, require very little or no capital investment on the part of businesses, hardware is centralized in one location and the company doesn’t have to worry about maintenance.

Beyond the similarities however, there are significant differences between the two which affect what might be the better choice for a given organization.

Scalability

Both hosted and cloud VoIP are scalable but there is a significant difference in terms of how much and how quickly. Hosted PBX providers have multiple tiers of service and clients generally are unable to scale up or down in lower increments.

On the other hand, a cloud solution offers true scalability in either direction and enterprises can choose to provision just as much or as few lines/numbers as they need.

Cloud vendors are also able to scale quickly so that additional capacity can be provisioned in a few hours whereas hosted PBX services require considerably longer. A business operating in an agile environment where scalability is a prerequisite is better off choosing the cloud alternative.

Standardization

Cloud VoIP is a standardized offering for multiple clients and utilizes multi-tenant architecture to enable it. The service guarantees, uptime, APIs etc. are also based on standard terms and architectures.

Hosted PBX on the other hand offers a more customizable experience that can be tailored to the needs of individual organizations. This also means that non-standard formats, proprietary protocols may be utilized.

The level of standardization allows cloud vendors to integrate with third-party enterprise tools such as Salesforce CRM, UC software and others. Hosted PBX providers are not able to provide the same level of integration but may be the better choice for a company that is looking for greater customization.

Self Provisioning And Management

This is probably one of the most crucial differences pushing enterprises to choose cloud PBX over their hosted brethren. Though clients do not have to worry about maintaining the phone system, hosted services still require the vendor to provision additional lines or make modifications.

Cloud VoIP solutions are characterized by online dashboards which offer self provisioning and management of existing features. This is why hosted PBX is also referred to as managed VoIP in some cases.

As enterprises find themselves competing in an ever-changing business environment, many hosted PBX providers are incorporating cloud technology to better serve them. Since the cloud offers better scalability, standardization, integration with third party software and online self-management – all aspects which are more in demand than customization or flexibility – cloud PBX services may come to dominate the VoIP landscape in the future.