Times are a bit tough for many businesses these days, which is why cost-cutting and avoiding long-term liabilities have become a necessary focus. One of these major costs is telecommunications – everyone needs access to a telephone and every business needs a telephone system that streamlines their unique work-flow. This means installing and maintaining a pretty expensive Private Branch Exchange (PBX), right? Wrong! There’s an easier, more affordable and much less risky way to keep your business connected – it’s called Cloud PBX.
What is Cloud PBX?
Cloud PBX is the future of telecommunications for business – it’s a cloud-based phone system. You could even call it an internet phone system because it is based on similar technology. Hang on a minute, what is the Cloud? Reduced to its most basic terms, the Cloud could be used synonymously with the Internet. Think about how you store data now – on your computer’s hard drive, on an external hard drive, a flash disk, or even a CD or DVD. But have you noticed the subtle shift to storing things online? The most obvious example is an application like Google Mail – unlike a traditional email application like Microsoft Outlook, which stores your emails on your computer, Gmail stores them ‘out there’, in the Cloud. Increasingly, we’re storing information here, rather than on physical data storage devices, and this is known as Cloud Computing. It seems like an abstract concept, but remember that the Cloud isn’t ethereal nothingness. In fact, your data is stored on huge servers, often referred to as server farms. For instance, Google has several super-secure server farms which store all your Gmail and Google Docs data.
How does a Cloud PBX differ from a traditional PBX?
Much like we needed to store data on a physical storage device, a traditional PBX system relies on a physical PBX box. Your PBX connects your staff’s telephone extensions to each other, and to the outside world. A Cloud PBX, on the other hand, has no use for physical objects to do this job – the nerve centre of this telecommunications system is based in the Cloud, that is, on a super-secure, super server maintained by a hosting company, like Fat Budgie. It then plugs straight into your office network, easy as that. While Cloud Computing and Cloud PBX all sounds very futuristic, you’re probably wondering why on earth you should make the switch, aren’t you? In short, you should opt for a Cloud PBX because it will streamline your business.
The Cloud PBX solution
- With Cloud PBX there’s no cost of ownership or maintenance – a traditional PBX is a considerable investment (all that hardware) plus there are ongoing maintenance costs (repairs, upgrades and the like).
- A Cloud PBX is easy to maintain and upgrade – if you want to add new extensions to or upgrade the software or hardware on a traditional PBX, you have to call out a technician. This is not only costly, but time consuming, as you wait for them to find a window in their busy schedules to attend to you. Updates to your Cloud PBX, however, are automatic and happen in the cloud.
- A Cloud PBX is not geographically bound – with a traditional PBX, moving offices is a real schlep; you have to uninstall your telephone system, move the PBX hardware and re-install on the other side. All of which requires an expensive technician! With a Cloud PBX system, however, just unplug your IP handset, move and plug it in at your new destination.
- A Cloud PBX won’t become redundant – when you’re old PBX is outdated and can’t handle any more upgrades or extensions, what do you do? That’s right – buy another (more expensive) one! Not so with a Cloud PBX, which is hardware-free and is continually evolving for your benefit.
- Cloud PBXs are scalable – this means that it’s oh-so-easy to add extra extensions (as many as you like). When you need to add capacity, simply order another IP handset and add this new extension for just R50 – you simply plug the handset into any network point in your office! No need for a technician!
- A Cloud PBX frees up space – without that big, bulky PBX box sitting in your server room or reception area, you have space for something way more important!
- A Cloud PBX saves on your telephone bill – calls between any national branches within your business are free!
It’s a simple equation: You + Cloud PBX = better business!