Are your VoIP communications winging their way through the cloud?  If the answer is “No”, let’s see how cloud computing can maximize the utility of those state of the art VoIP phones you have.  Or perhaps you’re thinking about purchasing VoIP phones and wish to consider a cloud-based solution for their optimum use.

Going onto the cloud, simply put, is employing host-provided hardware and software remotely by way of the internet (referring here to a “public”, rather than a “private”, cloud), thereby transferring the infrastructure costs and the burden of applications management and risk to the host.  In effect, the user purchases on-demand software for a monthly fee based on usage, paying only for the level of service the business requires.  This makes the cloud an ideal vehicle for small to medium size businesses that prefer not to invest large sums of capital for the acquisition of hardware and software nor incur the relentless periodic expense of maintaining those assets.

There is a matter of trust involved in all of this, since by employing the cloud a user is relying on a hosted server in a remote location.   So, it is critical that users have confidence in the provider’s ability not only to deliver quality service at a reasonable price but to maintain a secure operating environment.  Toward that end, the provider must satisfy users that its service plan includes a set of security policies, layered technologies and controls to protect infrastructure and data from attack and must include provisions for system back-up and disaster recovery.

With respect to business telephone systems, specifically, the principal benefits of migrating to the cloud are: (1) the cost savings it yields and (2) having access to the latest, most productive telecommunications technologies without the financial and operational risks of owning them.  Since providers share resources with many clients, the resulting economies of scale produce fees that obviate the need for a user to own and maintain hardware and software, thus precluding the need to purchase the latest version of hardware every few years and incurring the expense of installing updated software releases.  And that frees up IT staff to re-deploy their resources to other, profit-generating aspects of the operation.

What you likely want in terms of telecommunications technology is something that is easy to deploy, easy to access and easy to use.  In every respect, the cloud meets those criteria. Moreover, the cloud is an efficient way for a company to respond quickly to changes in levels of business activity and lends itself to timely, effective scaling to meet growth demands or, for example, to contend with any seasonal variations peculiar to the business.

More and more, utilizing cloud-based solutions for telephony and unified communications has become an accepted technology, particularly as the use of mobile devices has grown so quickly.  These days, with great numbers of employees on flexible work schedules, and many at home or at remote sites, cloud-hosted business telephone systems fit the bill, as they offer applications to phones at any place and at any time. As a consequence, employees working at home or at a remote facility are equipped with every technological advantage that their colleagues residing in a central location enjoy.

Cloud computing accommodates voice and data and can integrate both to provide such features as auto attendant, voicemail, music on hold, call routing, call forwarding, dial-by-name directory, unified messaging, virtual extensions, faxing, remote access and a host of management reports.

Planning a move?  If your VoIP telephone system is on the cloud, there is no need to be concerned about scheduling technicians to remove hardware and re-install it at a new location.  Just activate those IP phones and let the cloud does the rest.

Consider, then, the advantages of a cloud-based VoIP telephone system for your operation, do a cost-benefit analysis, get comfortable with the idea of a hosted service solution and, after all of your concerns are satisfied, take flight.