What is Hosted PBX?

A hosted PBX is a cloud-based virtual PBX telephony network that delivers calling platform features within a company. Since the solution is cloud-based, the private branch exchange functionality is hosted and managed by the cloud phone system service provider rather than through an analog connection.

Hosted PBX solutions provide small, medium and even enterprise organizations with an advanced cloud telephone system while minimizing cost. Given that it’s a hosted solution, you have scalability to grow or shrink to meet your specific business requirements.

Businesses save on expensive equipment and hosting charges with a hosted solution. The hosted PBX provider does all of the heavy lifting so you do not have to, without compromising the quality of your service. These cloud-based solutions rival both standard telephone service as well as on-premise VoIP solutions.

Hosted PBX providers deliver the same standard of service, features, and functionality through the cloud. Cloud-based PBX providers maintain their own data centers to offer services to a massive number of businesses. Providers typically have multiple data centers in different locations to ensure service all around the world.

Remote data centers also offer redundancy in case of any outages.

Why Use a Hosted PBX Over On-Premise Solutions?

The main advantage of setting up a hosted PBX is that setup, hardware, security, and reliability are handled by the provider. There’s no need to spend extra money on the infrastructure, IT, or switches to power your system.

Adding additional phone lines can be done quickly through the online portal. You’re not limited by the number of available phone jacks in your building’s server or telephony room. Utilizing a Hosted PBX even provides flexibility and mobility unrivaled by other systems.

If anything goes wrong, it won’t be up to your team of Tech Support to handle the situation, but rather your service provider will be on the case. Most of the time, they’ll solve issues before you’re even aware of a problem. Between cost savings, flexibility and ease of use, choosing a hosted PBX provider is an easy step to ensure your business will maintain a high level of quality.

What to Look for in a Hosted PBX Provider

Features

The features in your private branch exchange system determine the scope of what you can do with the system. When comparing providers, one of the easiest factors to locate and compare is the comprehensive feature lists found on the provider’s website.

There should be a breakdown of every feature offered on the different plans. This first step offers an easy introduction to the services and allows you to write off providers that don’t suit your price point and telephony needs.

Here is a listing of key features that you’ll find with most providers:

  • Auto-attendants and IVR
  • Automated greetings
  • Advanced call forwarding
  • Call queuing
  • Call recording
  • Paperless faxing
  • Unlimited extensions
  • Conference calling

Reliability and Network

The features included with your service won’t matter without a solid, reliable network. If the provider’s servers go down, your phones go down. The provider you choose must have a redundant and robust network with a high service level guarantee. Providers should guarantee over 97% uptime.

Find a provider that operates data centers in multiple locations. You need redundancy around the world but you also need an east coast and west coast data center in the U.S.

If one goes down, your calls can be rerouted to the backup without interruption. Enter a service level agreement to ensure the status and reliability of your service.

Customer Service

If your provider’s servers go down or you have any other issues with your service, you need consistent and accessible customer service. Certain providers will offer U.S. based customer service while others are based abroad. Some providers even offer 24/7 customer service, but may limit this to their higher paying customers.

Flexibility

As one of the major benefits of adopting a hosted PBX, you would want a provider that is as flexible as the service can be.

With a hosted solution scaling up and down is very simple. A provider that allows this flexibility at little to no cost will be much easier to scale with. When it comes to expanding not only users but also features and overall service, you need a flexible service.

Some providers may charge fees extra for adding lines, removing lines, or turning features on and off.

Hidden Costs

No one wants to be ambushed with hidden costs or cancellation fees. Many providers will supply transparent price quotes. However, keep an eye out for any extra fees or charges you may not have expected.

Cancellation fees can also occur if you decide to interrupt your service before an agreed-upon date.

Benefits of a Hosted PBX Solution

Cost Savings

Initial setup, ongoing maintenance, and upgrade costs are high with a standard PBX. A hosted cloud PBX removes most of the extra fees associated with establishing and running your phone system on-premise.

Ease of Use and Setup

As the initial setup is handled by the service provider, there won’t be many headaches on your end to get your system running. Adding lines or changing features is as simple as logging into the online account management portal and ticking different boxes.

Location Flexibility

With desktop softphone applications and even mobile phone applications, your workers can access your phone system from anywhere. You’re no longer tied down to just your desk phone, as you can also set one number to ring every device.

Scalability

Your system won’t be limited by what hardware you have on presence. You can scale your system either up or down at the flick of a switch to best fit your needs.

Credibility

When you use hosted PBX, your business projects your professional image with a robust fail-proof phone system. It will come packaged with features normally reserved for large enterprise systems, like an auto-attendant and call routing. These robust features can make even a small operation look like a substantial enterprise.

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