With big changes to UK telephony already well underway, businesses are under pressure to explore alternatives to ISDN. One of the simplest, most convenient and most cost-effective options available in this regard, is a cloud-hosted VoIP phone system.
So what is cloud-hosted VoIP, what are some of the key benefits, and how can it help your business work more productively, both in the office and remotely? This article aims to provide a brief overview of this empowering communication solution, to help you choose the right option for your business as you navigate the upcoming ISDN switch off.
First, let’s start with the basics…
What is a Cloud-hosted VoIP Phone System?
A cloud-hosted VoIP phone system provides a remotely accessible phone system, where the underlying infrastructure is housed in an off-site data centre rather than on your business premises. Cloud-hosted VoIP offers the capabilities and functionality of a full-featured PBX
system, but delegates the responsibility for hosting and maintaining the system's infrastructure to a third-party service provider. All your business needs to do is sign up for a subscription plan and connect to your phone system remotely through any compatible device, via a robust internet connection,
What Are the Benefits of Cloud-hosted VoIP?
Cloud-hosted VoIP phone systems present a compelling alternative to traditional, fixed infrastructure systems, and are ideally suited to businesses with fully-remote or hybrid workforces thanks to their highly flexible nature. To demonstrate how cloud-hosted VoIP could make your business more productive, collaborative, and cost-efficient, here are some of the key benefits of these game-changing telephony solutions.
Unlike a traditional phone system that’s bound by its fixed infrastructure, a cloud-hosted VoIP system can be accessed from virtually any location, provided you have a compatible device in your possession and access to a reliable internet connection.
Cloud-hosted VoIP allows users to access the phone system through their existing devices, by installing software applications called ‘softphones.’ These enable users to access the system on the go, and make use of the many features available to them, including the likes of call forwarding, in-built video conferencing, call queueing and auto attendants.
Leverage a single point of contact for everyone in your business, and seamlessly transfer calls to your team regardless of where they’re working from. Your inbound callers will benefit from a smooth, efficient experience: one that helps your business maintain a professional image.
Access Cost Savings
Cloud hosted VoIP systems can help businesses access a range of cost savings. For a start, the infrastructure-lite nature of hosted VoIP means there are very few capital expenses incurred when getting started. Hosted VoIP is accessible through the data connections you already have, meaning no new cabling is required. And of course, cloud hosting means there’s no need for a costly and disruptive PBX server installation either. To aid usability, you might want to consider purchasing VoIP-enabled desktop phones, but other than that, your new VoIP phone system should be compatible with the PCs, mobile phones and other devices you’re already using.
The ongoing costs involved in a hosted VoIP system are also much more manageable. Affordable call plans make hosted VoIP far cheaper to operate than traditional ISDN products, with internal calls being free, and long-distance calls often coming in at a fraction of the cost. The nature of hosted VoIP pricing also makes it easier to budget for telephony expenses, with price plans that provide cost transparency and predictable billing.
Scale Effortlessly to Meet Changing Demands
The unyielding nature of traditional phone systems often made scaling up a costly and time-consuming endeavour, with the addition of new phone lines often taking weeks to organise and install.
If your business is subject to seasonal staffing changes, or you’re anticipating growth in the years ahead, then a hosted VoIP system could grant access to the scalability you need to stay connected and productive. Most systems feature an intuitive management portal, that allows businesses to add and subtract lines at the click of a button, ensuring periods of increased call demand can always be supported.
Unified Communications for Enhanced Collaboration
Hosted VoIP phone systems often integrate a multitude of communication and collaboration tools into a single interface, a practice known as ‘unified communications.’ This allows users to collaborate seamlessly without having to migrate between multiple application windows, resulting in a more efficient and less cumbersome experience that supports productive remote work.
Many systems also facilitate data integration, with the ability to incorporate essential business applications like CRMs and workflow management tools into the interface. Users can also share and collaborate on files, uniting communication channels like instant messaging, telephony and video conferencing with the critical data employees need to collaborate effectively. Save time, reduce human error and support more productive workflows with intelligent integration that fosters greater engagement among your workforce.
Formidable Cyber Security as Standard
Hosted VoIP providers recognise the priority businesses place on robust data security measures. As such, leading hosted VoIP systems feature a raft of protections designed to safeguard against cyber dangers and defend conversations against malicious eavesdropping. Here are some of the key cyber protections on offer:
· Encryption. Encryption protocols make transiting data indecipherable to anyone attempting malicious interception, keeping your sensitive conversations private and secure.
· Cutting-Edge Data Centre Security. Hosted VoIP providers make use of modern, state-of-the-art data centre facilities, complete with advanced physical and cyber security measures, including enterprise-grade firewalls, physical access controls, advanced surveillance equipment and power/connectivity redundancy.
· Multi-factor Authentication. Robust authentication protocols, like multi-factor authentication, are often provided to help users prevent unauthorised access to their phone systems.
An Extensive Features List as Standard
Hosted VoIP phone systems typically feature a wide range of PBX-style features as standard, including call forwarding, caller ID, call transfer, call holding and voicemail management.
Some systems also feature advanced call routing features, which provide a degree of self-service functionality to inbound callers. ‘Auto attendants’ act as virtual receptionists, allowing callers to navigate a menu to direct themselves to the appropriate extension or department. Interactive voice response (IVR) complements this functionality, enabling callers to issue voice commands or keypad inputs to access the required information or services.
Did You Know Microsoft Teams Can Function as Your Business Phone System?
If you’re a Microsoft 365 customer, the answer to your business’s telephony challenges may be already installed on your desktop PCs. Providing a truly end-to-end business communication solution, Microsoft Teams Phone incorporates call functionality into the familiar, accessible, and intuitive Teams interface, uniting telephony with files and collaboration like never before.
With Microsoft Teams Phone you can enjoy…
· Empowering features and capabilities. Access your phone system through the teams app on any compatible device. Plus, take advantage of smart call routing, voicemail transcriptions, auto attendants, call queueing, call groups, and many more great call handling features designed for the modern workplace.
· Calling that Syncs with Your 365 Ecosystem. Teams Phone synchronises your voice contacts across your calendar and email. Launch calls with a single click and manage your phone system through a user-friendly admin console that’s built into the familiar Teams interface.
· Security and Resilience. As a Microsoft product, Microsoft Teams phone is subject to the same security and redundancy protections as the rest of the Microsoft 365 environment, resulting in a phone system of unrivalled resilience and security.
If you’re looking for an agile, scalable and feature-rich business phone system that will maintain your connectivity through the big ISDN switch off, look no further than cloud-hosted VoIP. Start a conversation with your IT support provider about making the switch to hosted VoIP and embrace business telephony that’s fully equipped for the modern workplace.
BCNS – Managed IT Support, Solutions and Consultancy for Devon Businesses
BCNS is a full-service IT provider, dedicated to bringing the best, tailored IT solutions to businesses across Devon. Our unrivalled knowledge and experience, combined with a commercially aware approach to business technology, ensures your business will benefit from solutions that drive value and empower growth. From best-in-class cyber security solutions to the cloud platforms and connectivity services you need to stay connected and productive, we’ll help you harness IT for strategic benefit across your business. Get in touch today for a friendly, no-obligation chat about your IT challenges. We’d love to hear from you.