Until fairly recently, all PBX and UC technology was on-premises. While this model has served us well in the past, it doesn’t support the way we work today. On-premises solutions are expensive, resource-intensive and difficult to upgrade and scale. They are also a barrier to hybrid working — something many companies have embraced.
Distributed and mobile teams need flexible solutions to communicate and collaborate. Cloud-based services provide the answer, which is why they’ve seen tremendous growth in recent years. In fact, spending on cloud-based services has now overtaken investment in on-premises solutions. So if your company hasn’t made the switch yet, you need to read on.
What are the benefits of the cloud?
Cost and scalability
The cloud can reduce business costs because you pay as you go and only for the communication services and licences you need. There’s also little or no capital expenditure.
You can scale your service up or down easily, adding or removing users when needed. This can be a major benefit if your communication volumes fluctuate a lot throughout the year.
The pandemic really highlighted the importance of business continuity. UCaaS allows people to work from any location and remain productive, thanks to capabilities like mobility, conferencing, web collaboration and single-number reach.
Cloud providers also supply off-site backup, redundancy and disaster recovery. These are often too expensive or difficult to provide for on-premises solutions.
When developers create new functionalities within cloud systems, users can access these immediately without having to deploy new servers or software. This enables your organisation to be more agile and stay ahead of the curve.
Integration with other business apps
Unlike on-premises PBXs, open cloud platforms make it easy for companies to connect their communications to other business apps, such as CRMs, ERPs, and productivity applications like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365. UCaaS also lets you integrate capabilities, including messaging, video and analytics.
Multinational organisations can more easily access global services with cloud-based services at lower costs. That means your workers can communicate and collaborate seamlessly on the same platform regardless of location.
How to choose the right type of cloud
There are various cloud options to choose from, so which is right for your business? It depends on your requirements and your budget.
- Multi-tenant or ‘pure cloud’ is the most cost-effective, easiest to deploy globally, and requires minimal IT support. You’ll share resources, capacity, and costs with other companies using the service provider’s data centre. However, it offers low levels of customisation.
- Multi-instance cloud provides each user with its own virtualised software instance on shared hardware. It offers greater levels of customisation and security but at higher costs. It also takes longer to deploy than multi-tenant and is less scalable.
- Private cloud uses virtualised software in your own data centre and therefore offers the highest levels of security and customisation. It’s the most expensive option, though, and doesn’t provide economies of scale, agility and other cloud benefits.
- Hybrid cloud combines elements of on-premises and cloud services. It’s often used for highly regulated businesses or to gradually transition companies away from on-premises, but you’ll need to give up some cloud benefits. It’s also more expensive to manage than multi-tenant.
We’ve completed a whistle-stop tour of the key benefits of cloud-based communication services and given you the headline pros and cons of each type of cloud. But if you’re keen to learn more, download our dedicated eBook on the subject, ‘Hybrid Work: Why it’s time to move your on-premises PBX to the cloud’. It gives you lots more detailed advice.
Originally published 24 Oct, 2022, updated 25 Jan, 2023