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Cloud-Based Phone System Features and Benefits

Replace your outdated on-premise office phone system with a less expensive, more flexible, and feature-rich cloud communications platform.

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The rise of cloud-based business phone systems

The limitations of traditional on-premise PBX phone systems

Private branch exchange (PBX) is a type of telephone network companies use to route calls to departments or phone extensions. Traditionally, the system itself is housed on office premises. The system machines are cumbersome and require their own storage room as well as periodic repairs and maintenance. In the past, only large companies had the resources to install and manage this kind of setup for their office phones. This changed with the emergence of cloud technology.

Why switch to Cloud PBX
Cloud phone system for video, call and chat

What is a cloud phone system?

A cloud-based phone system is a business communications solution that is hosted and maintained in the provider’s data centers—not at your office—and is delivered through your internet connection. It features a hosted PBX capability, which has the same routing and call management features of a traditional PBX while using voice over IP (VoIP) to facilitate calls over the internet. It also has other capabilities that traditional office phone systems don’t or can’t offer at affordable prices, like long-distance calling. This cloud solution is often offered as a service, so smaller businesses are able to subscribe to it instead of investing heavily on an expensive on-premise system.

Cloud-based phone system vs on-premise office phone systems

The cloud phone system changed the way companies manage calls and even do business.

Thanks to the system being hosted remotely, companies are able to enjoy the myriad of benefits and advantages that a traditional on-premise PBX setup fails to offer.

Traditional on-premise phone systems

  • Expensive up-front costs for big and bulky on-site hardware
  • Expensive and complex implementation
  • Service and hardware upgrades requiring additional fees
  • New extensions needing new cabling and installation
  • Specially trained manpower required for maintenance
  • Drawn out implementation of service change requests

Cloud-hosted phone systems

  • No expensive, bulky hardware that require a dedicated room
  • Quick installation and setup—it just takes minutes
  • Works with IP phones, desk computers, and mobile devices
  • No cables needed to install; uses virtual phone extensions
  • Updates and upgrades are automatically rolled out to all subscribers
  • Does not require maintenance from dedicated personnel
  • Changes to the account can be done instantly
Employee access RingCentral App on both laptop and mobile device

Why move to the RingCentral cloud phone system

Designed for business use

Get toll-free numbers along with VoIP, conferencing, and caller IDs that you can customize according to your preferences. Enjoy more capabilities like faxing, business SMS, and online meetings without switching services.

Made for flexibility and mobility

Send faxes and texts and make calls from your cell phone or tablet using your business number. Have all your calls for work routed to your device of choice using your office answering rules.

User-friendly deployment

Start using your phone service within 24 hours. Need to add, remove, or change lines? No problem--you can customize your phone system through your online account.

Not hardware-heavy

You only need to sign up to start making and taking calls through the internet. You don't need to deal with cable and other expensive specialized devices to make it work.

Award-winning customer support

Having trouble setting up and customizing your phone system? RingCentral offers 24/7 customer assistance that includes technical support, consultations, and online resources.

Everything you need in one phone system plan

Everything you need in one phone system plan

You get the most robust business communications solution in the industry with RingCentral. No need to have separate bills for voice calling, online meetings, fax, texting, and team messaging--just one itemized bill per month.

A flexible and mobile cloud communications platform

For businesses with multiple locations and dispersed workforces

A cloud phone system serves all locations and your entire workforce by centralizing all your communication channels in one cloud platform, delivered via the internet. With this, all employees from every location—including home offices and workers on the go—share the same robust features from a single unified business phone system.

RingCentral also makes it easy to communicate however you want, including through:

  • Business phone numbers: Choose from toll-free, local, and even international phone numbers. You can even add virtual phone extensions, which can be accessed from anywhere and on any device, not just on the assigned desk phone.
  • Online meetings: Host and join video conferences with screen sharing.
  • Team messaging: Message, assign tasks, and share files to your teammates on one platform.

What’s even better is that you can do all these from anywhere in the world through the RingCentral unified app for PCs and Mac® or for mobile Android™ or iOS® devices.

A scalable virtual phone system

Get a phone system that grows as your business grows. Through an online administration dashboard, you can easily purchase, activate, and assign business phone numbers and virtual extensions to new users or departments. No need to wait for the provider to install new cables and other hardware to have the changes implemented. All it takes is a couple of clicks on your computer or a few taps on your mobile device to get it done instantly.

For businesses of all types and sizes

A cloud telephony solution that works in any industry

Businesses across the globe are switching their phone systems to the cloud because of its ability to adapt to each industry’s communications requirements. And with its ability to serve and connect multiple locations via a single solution, it provides flexible options for companies that need to run their business in unique ways.

RingCentral has proven its worth in more than one industry, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • High tech
  • Construction
  • Legal
  • Real estate

An enterprise-level communications solution within reach of small businesses

RingCentral has enterprise-level features that can match any modern corporate phone system in the market. Aside from top-notch automated call management capabilities, it also boasts HD voice and meetings, team collaboration tools, analytics, and advanced account administration. The best part is that with no expensive up-front costs, even small and medium-scale businesses can implement enterprise-level communications for their company, allowing them to compete against bigger organizations on a more even ground.

A hosted phone system that plays well with other business apps

Has integrations with the most popular and most widely used business apps

RingCentral lets you improve productivity and efficiency by bringing the functions of its industry-leading cloud phone system to the applications you use every day for your business. This eliminates the need to switch from a specific app to RingCentral when you need to send a message, make a call, or have a meeting.

RingCentral offers the largest ecosystem of integrations for apps in the communications and collaboration space, which includes:

  • Google Workspace integrations
  • Microsoft Office 365™ integrations
  • Salesforce® integration
  • Okta integration
  • Box integration
  • Amazon Alexa integration

Features open APIs for integration to your custom applicationss

RingCentral allows you to seamlessly integrate business communications features into your key business processes via open APIs. This can help your organization improve efficiency by automating workflows. Our Data API can give you valuable insights into how you use your cloud phone system and your business applications.

RingCentral open APIs include

  • Voice API
  • Messaging API
  • Meetings API
  • Fax API
  • Data API

RingCentral MVP™* plans for your small business


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Message, Video, Phone
/user/month **
Everything in Essentials, PLUS
  • No limit on number of users
  • Business phone numbers in over 100 countries
  • Unlimited internet fax
  • Unlimited audio conferencing
  • Video meetings with up to 100 participants
  • Up to 24-hour meeting duration
  • Quality-of-service reports
  • Popular integrations including
    Office 365, Google Workspace, Slack,
    and more
  • 24/7 support
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Message, Video, Phone, Open API
/user/month **
Everything in Premium, PLUS
  • Device status reports
  • Device status alerts
  • Unlimited storage***
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Annually: $19.99/user/mo
Monthly: $29.99/user/mo
Annually: $24.99/user/mo
Monthly: $34.99/user/mo
Annually: $34.99/user/mo
Monthly: $44.99/user/mo
Annually: $49.99/user/mo
Monthly: $59.99/user/mo
Business phone or toll-free numbers
One phone number for calling, team messaging, and video meetings access.
Each user gets a dedicated phone number at no additional cost. Essentials edition doesn't include video meetings.
Toll-free minutes
Inbound Toll-free minutes
Toll-free minutes are per account regardless of number of lines. Additional minutes are always available for automatic purchase, which bill at 3.9¢/min.
Learn more
In addition to unlimited outbound calling minutes, every account gets a set number of toll-free minutes for inbound calls. You can transfer an existing toll-free number or get a new one.
The number of inbound calling toll-free minutes per account is shown in the chart on the right. Additional minutes are always available for automatic purchase, which bill at 3.9¢/min. There are also bundled offers available that can reduce the cost to 1.9¢/min.
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Unlimited calls within the US/Canada**
Unlimited calling/phone calls within the US and CA. Plus, choose from affordable and convenient international calling plans that fit your business. Terms and conditions may apply.
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Unlimited Business SMS**
Use your business phone number to send unlimited one-to-one or group SMS/MMS.
Automatically convert voicemail messages into text form so users can screen messages easily and respond to the most important call first.
Visual voicemail and voicemail-to-email
Access voicemail messages from your desk and mobile phones, email, desktop app, and online account.
Learn more
Team messaging
Collaborate more effectively with colleagues, clients, and contractors with team messaging, task assignment, calendar sharing, and more. Also, utilize out-of-the-box integrations with Jira, Asana, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and more.
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Document sharing
Access documents and files stored on your computer or your Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, and Dropbox accounts and easily share them with your team members.
Call management and phone system
Sophisticated call management, enabling you to configure your phone system across the entire company, regardless of location or device. Optimize communication with custom admin and user configurations online or using the mobile app.
Call management features include:
  • Answering rules
  • Call forwarding
  • Call transfer
  • Call screening
  • Call flip
  • Call logs
  • Presence
  • Notifications
  • Shared lines*
  • Call park
  • Intercom*
  • Paging*
*Not available with Essentials.
Learn more
Mobile apps for iOS and Android
Whether you're an Apple or Android user, you can use your smartphones and tablets to make and receive calls, join and host meetings, team message coworkers and partners, send and receive faxes and texts, set up and join conferences, and configure phone system settings, notifications, and voicemail.
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High-definition (HD) voice
To consistently deliver the highest HD quality possible, RingCentral utilizes the Opus Interactive codec for audio and video, as well as the G.722 codec for audio.
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Call log reports
Get a complete record of all your inbound and outbound calls and faxes. View the name of the caller, the number or extension dialed, as well as the time, date, and duration of the call.
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Phone rental options: desk and
conference phones
Rent any desk phone or conference phone for a low monthly price.
Contact sales for details and pricing.
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Add Video Pro and Video Pro+ users
Administrators can add Video Pro and Video Pro+ users from within MVP.
Unlimited internet fax
Send and receive faxes from your computer, mobile device, Microsoft Outlook, cloud storage providers (such as Dropbox), and more.
Learn more
Unlimited audio conferencing
Host an unlimited number of audio conference calls, with up to 1,000 attendees per conference. Each user gets unique host and participant access codes.
Video meetings and participants
Hold video meetings with screen sharing, in-meeting public and private chat capabilities—anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Maximum number of participants varies by the video platform:
Premium with RingCentral Video (up to 200)
Standard with RingCentral Video (up to 100)
Up to 100 people
per video meeting
Up to 200 people
per video meeting
Up to 200 people
per video meeting
High-definition (HD) video
RingCentral delivers crystal-clear HD quality video and voice.
Learn more
Quality-of-service reports
Gain the ability to proactively review overall RingCentral system health and diagnose quality issues impacting users. A holistic overview of quality measured by location, endpoint, codec, ISP, and more enables easier monitoring and faster troubleshooting.
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Popular integrations including Office 365,
Google Workspace, Slack, and more
RingCentral offers the largest ecosystem of integration apps in the communications and collaboration space to maximize productivity and efficiency. Get integrations for bots, AI, analytics, archiving, automation, productivity, and more.
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24/7 support
Unlimited chat and phone support.
Multi-level auto attendant
Answer callers automatically with customized greetings, and ensure every call is directed to the right employee or department.
Learn more
Auto-attendant is a virtual receptionist service that greets your callers and routes them to employees, departments, or to any phone in the world (i.e. an employee's mobile phone, an office deskphone, or a virtual phone on the RingCentral app).
With the multi-level auto attendant feature, you can create rules to handle incoming calls for multiple office locations or language selections. For example:
“Press 1 for our New York office. 2 for Chicago office. 3 for Los Angeles office.” OR
“Press 1 for English. Marque 2 para Español.”
Professional implementation
Get the most out of RingCentral with a portfolio of professional and personalized services, ranging from planning, designing, and implementation to project management, ongoing support, and consulting.
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Call recording
Automatic call recording: Set your RingCentral phone system to automatically record inbound and outbound calls for individual users or inbound calls for departments.
On-demand call recording: Allows Users to manually record phone calls anytime using an IP Phone provisioned with RingCentral, Forwarding Number, or RingCentral Phone for Mobile.
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Compatible with RingCentral Rooms™ (add-on)
Turn any space into a conference room.
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Single Sign-on
Users can log in to RingCentral automatically with their corporate credentials. Reduce the IT cost of assisting in password recovery and benefit from a central authentication point that securely accesses your RingCentral service from any device.
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Multi-site admin and management
Get the flexibility to manage and support your branch offices based on their unique operational needs.
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Up to 8-digit extensions with site codes
Simplified intra-site dialing for large multi-site customers.
Hot desking
Allows users to log in to shared phones to access their own RingCentral extensions, voicemail and greetings, and other features.
Hot desking lets employees share office desk phones while keeping their separate extensions, greetings and voicemail access.
It enables companies to save costs of desk phones while still letting their employees remain productive.
Advanced call handling including whisper, barge, and more
Advanced call management controls (monitor, whisper, barge, takeover) to allow authorized users to listen in on employee calls with clients to monitor the conversation, provide coaching, and facilitate discussion.
Other features include overflow call queues, user groups, and role-based access control with customized roles/permissions.
Real-time analytics
Gain real-time insights into your RingCentral system and gather business-relevant data, alerts, and reporting metrics.
Popular CRM integrations with Salesforce, Zendesk, and more
Bring the functions and features of RingCentral MVP into your business apps such as Salesforce, Zendesk, Microsoft Dynamics, ServiceNow, etc.
Learn more
Industry-specific integrations with Canvas, Smarsh, and more
Bring the functions and features of RingCentral MVP into your vertical's business apps such as Canvas, Smarsh, etc.
Learn more
Developer platform and custom integrations
RingCentral APIs let you create your own custom applications and seamlessly integrate business communications into your key business processes, so you can automate workflows, drive efficiency, and gain valuable insight from communications data.
Visit Developer Portal
Device status reports
Monitor hard phone registration status globally and gain visibility into your devices' history.
Device status alerts
Set up automated monitoring rules and receive notifications when devices are offline.
Unlimited storage***
Store an unlimited* amount of documents, spreadsheets, presentation files, contracts, invoices, images, videos, and recordings.
*Retention period applies.
Store an unlimited* amount of content within your RingCentral app. This could be documents, spreadsheets, presentation files, contracts, invoices, images, or videos that you send as attachments within messages; or these could be the recordings of your video meetings.
*Retention period applies.
How does a cloud-based phone system work?

How does a cloud-based phone system work?

In the past, the ability to install a proper office phone system is exclusive to large enterprises and corporations. After all, you would need to pay a large capital upfront just for the hardware needed to make it work. That does not even count the complex cabling and special manpower needed for the actual installation.

Now, every business, big or small, has access to an automated online business phone system

But how does a cloud-based phone system work? How is it able to do what only expensive traditional on-premise systems are able to do?

To answer those questions, you need to have some understanding of the technology. The cloud phone system is actually a collection of different technological components working together to create this online telephony system.

These components include:

VoIP for transmission of voice calls

While cloud phone systems can work with regular telecom carriers, most modern business phone systems use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) as its voice call component.

It is actually a set of protocols (SIP, RTP, etc.) working together to transmit voice data across networks, including the internet, in real time. This allows it to work in a way that’s similar to how the public switched telephone network (PSTN) works.

But because it uses computer networks, it is more flexible and more mobile than PSTN.

Virtual PBX for managing calls

This is the core of a cloud phone system. The virtual PBX feature is responsible for the proper routing of incoming calls to the right department or extension. In the past, your on-premise systems had large PBX boxes that have to be maintained by specially trained professionals.

But as was said before, it changed with the arrival of the cloud, where it became possible for the service to be hosted remotely. This brings us to the next component.

Cloud phone system provider’s data center

The main difference between on-premise and cloud-based phone systems is how they are hosted. And believe it or not, it makes a ton of difference.

As mentioned previously, on-premise systems are hosted internally and exclusively serve the specific office of the organization where their hardware are set up. This means each individual location could need its own set of expensive equipment—and that is why only large corporations were able to use it.

With a cloud hosted phone system, everything is scaled up. Instead of being housed in a single server in a small room, the service is hosted in multiple servers in multiple data centers to ensure redundancy and reliability.

Also, instead of being delivered via a private network, it is delivered via the internet, which can be accessed by everyone within the secured network.

The SaaS vs SaaP model

Another main factor that separates cloud phone systems from on-premise systems is the software as a product (SaaP) vs software as a service (SaaS) concept.

Instead of selling the product exclusively to businesses under the SaaP model, cloud communications providers opted to develop and maintain their product in house and provide it to businesses for lease or on a subscription basis through the SaaS model.

Aside from removing the need for upfront capital costs, it also removed the need for professional maintenance. In addition, all upgrades and updates are rolled out to all users instead of being offered separately (often for a fee).

These are the components that make cloud phone systems what they are. More than the technological advancements, it is the hosting and delivery methods that really pave the way for this revolutionary change in how businesses communicate.

Why RingCentral is the best cloud phone system provider (according to experts)

Why RingCentral is the best cloud phone system provider (according to experts)

RingCentral is the leading provider of global cloud communications solutions. Its cloud phone system has paved the way for over 350,000 companies across many industries to successfully make the switch to the cloud.

With RingCentral’s flexible offerings, organizations seeking cloud-based options to replace their old phone systems can find a solution that can be built and scaled according to their business requirements.

Aside from granting subscribers unparalleled freedom from the limitations and expenses of on-premise setups, features such as powerful collaboration tools, easy call management, integrations with business apps, and contact center capabilities are what attract more and more customers to RingCentral.

Still not convinced? Read on to find out what other reputable organizations are saying about RingCentral:

A Leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS, Worldwide

RingCentral is recognized as one of the leaders in the Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), Worldwide report. Moreover, RingCentral is also positioned furthest in the Leaders Quadrant for completeness of vision and ability to execute.

IHS Markit ranks RingCentral #1 in the 2018 North American UCaaS Scorecard

RingCentral is also ranked #1 in IHS Markit’s 2018 North American Unified Communications as a Service Scorecard. This recognition was achieved due to RingCentral’s market share position, business growth, product capabilities, and continued traction among mid-market and large enterprise businesses.

TMC 2018 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award

The RingCentral Video was also named winner of the 2018 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award presented by Internet Telephony Magazine. The award honors the most innovative unified communications solutions in the industry, and the RingCentral app was selected for its mobile-first, intuitive user interface and robust capabilities.

2018 API World Award for Communications APIs

RingCentral was also awarded the 2018 API Award in the Communications APIs category by API World. RingCentral was chosen based on three criteria, which are:

  • Has attracted attention and awareness
  • Is generally well-regarded by the developer and engineering community
  • And is a leader in its sector for innovation

These recognitions show that RingCentral is not only loved by its subscribers, but is also respected by its peers in the industry.

If you want to know more about RingCentral, you can call ((888) 222-5511).

Important details and disclaimers
SMB Holiday Promotion:

*Void where prohibited or restricted. Offer valid until October 31, 2021. Discounts based upon list price published prior to Offer start date. Free Month(s) Conditions subject to the quantity of years purchased under qualifying RingCentral MVP plans purchased, and between 2 and 399 digital lines required. Additional Terms and Conditions apply.