20. July 2021 Blog

What is Cloud PBX and How it Benefits Small Businesses

Traditional on-premise PBX systems served businesses well in the past and companies were satisfied with what their on-premise platforms could do… until recently.

The pandemic made obvious what many companies had already started to notice - the capabilities on-site PBX systems are painfully limited. And with the sudden shift to remote working, many businesses started to consider upgrading their current PBX systems to modern cloud-based ones. 

But while cloud-based (or hosted) platforms do have many benefits, such as being far more flexible and offering more features than even premium-class PBX systems could ever give, some businesses are still pretty hesitant. Some worry that their data won’t be safe when they are stored in an online server instead of the company’s main office. Others doubt that online PBX systems can be as reliable as good, old landline connections. Were you thinking the same thing?

Then this article is for you - we’ll explore the pros and cons of adopting a cloud phone system in your company and how you can benefit from moving from traditional PBX to a far more advanced cloud-based system. 

What is a Cloud PBX?

The biggest difference is that Cloud PBX relies on an internet connection rather than on a copper infrastructure installed in the office. This makes Cloud PBX an incredibly convenient option, as the platform can be used anywhere and on any device as long as there’s access to the internet - your employees can take and make calls straight from their laptops. 

And as those platforms don’t require extra hardware, separate storage rooms, miles of wires, or regular IT maintenance, even smaller businesses with tighter budgets can start using PBX systems in their offices. The only costs for them are the subscription fees and eventually upgrading their internet connections if they can’t handle VoIP calls. 

What is inside a Cloud PBX platform?

The main thing businesses will notice when comparing their current systems with cloud-based PBX is the features. Many of their advanced features are also available right away without extra charges. So which cloud PBX capabilities are especially useful for businesses?

  • Call Recording - through cloud platforms, businesses can automatically record and store all of their phone calls. Besides ensuring that agents won’t miss a single detail from their calls, it is also a great tool for managers to monitor current agents’ performance and train new ones.
  • Call Masking - with this feature, your agent’s actual phone number is hidden by a temporary one that works just like any other number, with the difference that it expires after a set time. If your agents have to make many calls a day (for example, when working in deliveries), they can simply use temporary numbers to contact their customers rather than revealing their actual mobile phone caller IDs.
  • IVR Menu - helps your callers find the right agents for their needs by guiding them through different options. It also routes them to the correct departments and allows them to find required information, such as office hours or order status. 
  • Ring Groups - can help shorten customers’ waiting times by notifying all agents belonging to a specific group and connecting the first agent to respond with the caller.
  • Voicemail Transcription - any voicemail you receive can be automatically transcribed and sent to your email inbox as a text file. 
  • Reporting and Analytics - cloud PBX platforms are full of analytical tools that allow companies to keep track of the critical metrics for their businesses. For example, call center managers can quickly check the daily number of answered or missed calls, amount of time spent on a call, and number of calls answered by each agent, etc.
  • Call Monitoring - allows managers to listen to any phone conversation made by one of their agents in real-time in order to provide them with information without being heard by the caller, or even join the call if the agent is struggling. 

What other advantages of Cloud PBX are there?

#1 Flexibility all around

The biggest problem with on-site PBX? Almost no flexibility. Adapting the system to your company’s needs is a long and complicated process, during which you will have to adjust your business to the PBX system rather than the other way round! 

Adding new features or new agents to the system, besides taking a lot of time, usually also means extra costs - and let’s not even talk about trying to switch providers or replace your devices before your contract expires!    

Cloud-based PBX platforms, meanwhile, are focused on being as flexible and customizable as they can. We already mentioned that your employees can work from anywhere and on whichever device they wish. 

As the whole platform is in the cloud, there’s simply no longer a need for them to be glued to their desks in order to take or make any calls - they can work from their homes or nearby coffee shops too. You can customize the platform in any way you need as well - whether you require specific features, new devices, or phone numbers to be added, or more seats for your agents, the process takes just a couple of clicks. The reporting dashboard can also be adjusted to your company - by using sorting filters, you can view the data you currently need and in any way you want.

#2 Reliability

On-premise systems are known for their reliability, while internet calls used to leave a lot to be desired. No wonder, then, that many companies might doubt whether or not VoIP calls could really replace their regular landlines. Besides, if cloud-based platforms rely on an internet connection and electricity to work, wouldn’t that mean a much higher risk of downtime? 

There’s no need to worry about that - cloud-based platforms are at least as reliable as on-site ones, with uptime usually no less than 99.99%.

So how is that possible if the service is in the cloud and not your own office? Well, reputable cloud-based PBX providers don’t rely on only one operating data center - instead, they have several data centers in separate locations. CloudTalk, for instance, has data centers in 9 globally distributed locations - so even if one of them is down for some reason or the call quality drops below a specified range, our platform will simply switch to one of the other available servers without you even noticing.

And what if there’s a problem on your side, such as a sudden power outage in your area? You can set the PBX system to pass all incoming calls to other phone numbers - landlines or mobiles - and not miss a single one. 

#3 No maintenance needed

One massive advantage of cloud platforms is that there’s no need to buy additional hardware or compatible devices - your employees can use their laptops, mobiles, or softphone apps. But what’s even better is that you don’t need to worry about taking care of the PBX platform either. 

With an on-site PBX system, you either had to call a technician whenever a problem occurred or ask your own IT team for maintaining the devices, cables, and everything else related to the system. Both options were most likely pretty costly. Now your IT team, if you have one, can focus on their other duties, as everything related to the cloud platform is handled by the provider - from monitoring and fixing security problems to implementing new features and responding to any issues. And as a bonus, you will have access to all of the new systems features and capabilities right after they are implemented, with no technician needed and no extra fees either.

#4 Exceptional security

With the amount of news about hacking or ransom attempts and company’s data leaking, you might really get worried about whether or not the platforms working from the cloud are really safe and if they can adequately secure your data.

But there’s nothing to worry about - Cloud PBX providers know how to make their servers impenetrable and keep your data safe and sound. Besides regularly running security tests and patching any possible flaws in their systems straight away, the data inside them are fully encrypted - and the same goes for your calls. If you use strong passwords together with data encryption as well, then there’s little risk of someone eavesdropping on your calls or gaining access to your personal data.

#5 Much lower costs

Last but not least - cloud PBX can really save your company a good sum of money you would otherwise spend on keeping your on-premise system working. Office-wide wiring installation? Not necessary - you only need to install the software, create an account, and set the PBX platform’s options.

Expensive long-term contracts? Not here - with CloudTalk’s pricing, you can start using the platform from $25 a month on a starter plan without a contract (so you can leave whenever you wish), or buy an annual subscription with a 25% discount. Purchasing new devices that are compatible with the on-premise PBX platform? Again, not required, as you can use your office computers or the phones you already have installed. 

Enormous bills for international calls? When using VoIP, the distance doesn’t matter, so you can make overseas or international calls as often as you need. Want to have some additional features, seats, or phone lines added? Adding them will only take you a few minutes at most. Expenses connected with maintaining, fixing, and updating your PBX system? There are none on your side, since the provider is responsible for them. 

Add everything up and the savings to your budget can be pretty visible, which is all the more reason to upgrade your system.

Conclusion

Now that we are in the age of remote work, video meetings, and ever-changing business needs, your traditional PBX system is probably more of a hindrance than a help. It may feel like a big decision, and getting used to your new system might take some time, but after a while, you are sure to notice how much more user- and business-friendly a cloud-based PBX is compared to the clunky on-premise set you are used to.

And the best part - moving your entire company to the cloud is much easier than you may think. If you have any doubts or questions about upgrading your current phone system to the cloud,  just give our CloudTalk team a call. We’ll walk you through the whole process and make sure that all that’s left for you and your team to do is to start using your new cloud PBX - we’ll take care of the rest.