Solutions | Hosted vs On-Premise

Hosted vs On-Premise:
How to Choose Between an On-Premises and Hosted VoIP PBX

Voice Over IP (VoIP) telephones are popular options for modern businesses, and they can offer huge advantages.

For example, in one survey, businesses who had access to modern phone system features (such as with a Unified Communications solution) reported a 49% increase in productivity.

But buying a VoIP phone system can be challenging.

 
Hosted PBX On Premises
Phone system where your phones connect through your
Internet connection to a provider that maintains the equipment
at an off-site “cloud” data center.
Phone system where the hardware is kept on-site in your server closet.
Comparing VoIP Features
All UC features included:
• Call control
• Collaboration
• Mobility
• Call management
• Voicemail
• Messaging
• Contacts
• Web-based management
• Call training
• Integrations
• Contact center
• Analytics
All UC features included:
• Call control
• Collaboration
• Mobility
• Call management
• Voicemail
• Messaging
• Contacts
• Web-based management
• Call training
• Integrations
• Contact center
• Analytics
Cost of VoIP Services
Pros:
• Lower setup cost
• No maintenance costs
• OpEx model

Cons:
• Potentially higher ongoing service
Pros:
• No risk of fee increases
• Lower total cost of ownership especially as the system grows

Cons:
• Potentially higher ongoing service
Future Expansion
Pros:
• Your provider shoulders all the risk, work, and complexity
• Growth or retraction can happen quickly
• Software updates happen automatically so you always
have an up-to-date system

Cons:
• None
Pros:
• You have complete control and flexibility—you can even
switch solutions or mix-and-match

Cons:
• Every expansion increases the complexity you have to manage yourself
Control
Pros:
• All the major software updates and maintenance
processes are handled by the provider
• Ability to spend IT resources on other revenue-generating tasks

Cons:
• Your service provider has the actual control over your system – you don’t
Pros:
• You have control over every detail. An easy-to-use solution with
careful management will give you a solution that matches your needs
better than anything else can

Cons:
• All software updates and maintenance processes must be done
by internal IT staff, or outsourced
Flexibility
Pros:
• Service provider may have more resources to implement
a solution you could not afford to do just for yourself

Cons:
• Some cloud options do not scale to large deployments
in a cost-effective way
Pros:
• Some cloud options do not scale to large deployments
in a cost-effective way

Cons:
• You may not have enough internal IT resources or the budget
to make complex, expensive, or highly customized changes
Implementation
Pros:
• Cheap, quick, and easy
• Less dependency required for in-house IT resources

Cons:
• Training required for users, and may or may not be offered
by your solution provider
Pros:
• You will know your system’s capabilities since you are
handling deployment

Cons:
• Deployment time may take longer
• Training required for users, and may or
may not be offered by your solution provider
Recommended For
Any size business that wants to conserve IT dollars; or
a small business or start-up that does not have in-house IT resources
SMBs or enterprises with available IT resources and have the need for
control over their phone system, or want a more customized solution

Download the hosted vs. on-premise infographic for a quick overview

9 Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Business Phone System

Costs Less

Feature Costs

Many hosted phone providers don’t offer the same features in their hosted product as they do for their premises-based solution.

If critical business communications features like call queues, IVRs, and conferencing are missing or cost extra, then the product may not be the right solution.

Ideally, a cloud phone system offering should come with all UC features included so you don’t have to worry about lack of features.

Upfront Cost of VoIP Services​

Hosted VoIP solutions have a low upfront cost and are typically charged as a monthly fee per user. Using VoIP with an on-site server has a higher cost upfront, but then no recurring monthly fee. Above a certain threshold it becomes more cost effective to purchase your own equipment than to pay a monthly fee. 

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)​

A cloud phone system can often have a very low total cost of ownership due to the savings in IT personnel. Additionally, your hosted provider takes care of server configuration and maintenance. 

Depending on the size and structure of your business, this can be an advantage of hosted VoIP over premises-based VoIP.

 

Existing Infrastructure

Consider your current technology infrastructure. Are you using an aged system to connect your phones to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)? 

Legacy connections like Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) can be expensive. You could see a significant cost savings by switching to a SIP trunk or by using a hosted PBX. To help you determine what these savings might look like, use this online ROI calculator.

On the other hand, if you like to keep your existing TDM or POTS lines, then a premises-based solution with telephony interface cards will be the best way to go.

Getting Help​

Once you have narrowed down your choices, it’s recommended that you contact each vendor to further qualify your choice. A professional assessment helps ensure you are getting the best value for your purchase.

If you’re working with companies that are reputable in the field of Unified Communications, then they should have a knowledgeable and accessible pre-sales team to help you navigate your options.

A few questions to consider are:

  • Is your network VoIP capable?
  • Are you getting enough bandwidth from your Internet provider to properly connect to your UC provider?
  • Do you rely on unique technology that needs to integrate with your communications in order to make you effective?
Scalability

Scalability​

Consider how your business may grow in the coming year. If there is potential for rapid growth, you will need to consider how this will impact your purchase. If going with a premises-based solution, you will likely want to purchase a larger appliance than is initially needed to accommodate growth.  With hosted VoIP, new users can be added to the cloud phone system as needed. 

Reversibility (Can You Go Back?)

Regardless of whether your existing system is a premises-based or cloud solution, when considering a move to a new business phone system, it’s smart to ask if the transition is reversible. For example, if you were to change from an on-premise solution to a cloud-based solution, you might think the lack of control over your company’s IT infrastructure is a hindrance. 

Every business is different, so what may be a great benefit for one business could become a detriment for another. Sadly, most hosted providers do not offer a migration path back to an on-premises solution once the transition is complete. A truly flexible solution allows you to move between on-premises, to hosted, to on-premises, and back again – seamlessly and with minimal friction.

Redundancy​

Natural disasters and other unforeseen events can wreak havoc on any business, anytime. In today’s business environment, it’s a necessity to have a thorough disaster recovery and contingency plan. When your business communications go down, the cost is high, not only in terms of lost productivity, but also in lost reputation and sales when your customers can’t get in touch with you. 

Even for a small business, building redundancy into your IT infrastructure is critical. For on-site solutions this typically entails purchasing extra failover hardware (or backup equipment) in anticipation of an emergency. Hosted solutions could provide the answer because when your phone system is in the cloud it can keep your communications up and going even when your main facility is inoperable.

Security

Outsourcing your IT to the wrong partner can bring serious security implications. However, if you choose a reputable hosted provider, they will have the resources to keep your data secure. 

Smaller businesses may find that a hosted provider does a better job of keeping data secure, primarily because of the dedicated pool of resources the provider invests in keeping all of their clients’ data safe. However, if your business must comply with security regulations that require data to be stored on-site, then a hosted solution is probably not the best solution.

Making the Right VoIP Choice

Purchasing the right phone system is important for the success of your business. There are many factors that come into play when deciding between a premises-based and cloud VoIP phone system. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

To make the best decision sign up for a free consultation with a Sangoma VoIP specialist.

They can provide you with additional information, tips, and advice regarding your communications needs to ensure you end up with with the best phone system for your business.

Switchvox Cloud - Hosted
Phone System

Prefer a monthly subscription
Managed in the Cloud

Switchvox On-Premises
IP PBX

Prefer a capital expense
Managed on-site

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