A Cloud / Hosted VoIP solution, the service provider owns and manages most of the necessary infrastructure, equipment, software, etc. in their data center. In most cases, the company only needs to have an integrated access device (IAD) on-premise (e.g. QoS router), any necessary switches and IP phones on the desk. Hosted VoIP service provides all of the features/capabilities of traditional phone systems and, frequently, many more. Services are accessed from anywhere via an Internet connection.
- Minimal up-front costs and rapid deployment – With hosted VoIP, you are up-and-running quickly. Because it is delivered “as a service,” there is reduced capital outlay and investment risk. Monthly recurring charges (MRC’s) are subscription-based and come out of your operating budget. Subscription MRC’s are based on users, seats and/or call paths.
- Best-of-breed technologies and advanced features/capabilities – With a hosted solution, you are ensured access to the latest functionality. SMBs have access to enterprise-level capabilities. Adopting new features/functionality happens almost immediately as upgrades are “pushed” out to the customer premises – you bypass upgrade costs, delays and the need to involve in-house resources. Hosted VoIP easily integrates with unified communications.
- Highly flexible and scalable – Web-based administration enables you to easily and rapidly make changes that would otherwise (with on-premise) involve hardware/software upgrades, in-house IT resources, complexities and delays. You can manage MAC needs, add remote users, and optimize services/features/capacities/capabilities based on up-to-the-minute needs.
- 24/7 monitoring – With service providers monitoring around the clock, performance remains consistently high.
- Redundancy/disaster recovery for voice and data – Most providers offer an embedded continuity plan that protects the integrity of your voice calls and messages.
- Exiting the telecom management and maintenance business – Hosted VoIP eliminates a myriad of headaches, hassles, costs, and complexities that come with managing, maintaining and upgrading an on-premise solution. You bypass the added power expenses. Companies can focus IT resources on other strategic activities.
- Network Convergence – Combine voice and data traffic on the same network to reduce network costs.
- Total Cost of Ownership – Over time, recurring service charges add to operating budgets – diminishing the value of initial CapEx savings. Additionally, bandwidth upgrades could be required to adequately support services.
- System improvements/upgrades are on the provider’s timetable – Although many modifications can be made to services through web-based administration, overall system improvements are out of your control.
- Limited customization – Applications, system specifications and configuration details are largely determined by the provider in pre-packaged offers.
- QoS and service interruption – Hosted VoIP calls are subject to quality problems if not set up correctly. Additionally, in the event of power outages and Internet down time, your system is down locally.
- Loss of control – Letting go of telecom management can be a difficult adjustment – particularly for companies with concerns about records, voicemails, prompts, data, etc. residing on a provider’s external server.