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Best Cloud PBX System for Business in 2020

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cloud pbx software guide

Table of Contents

What is a Cloud PBX System?

As with any new innovative enterprise technology, the VoIP industrial domain has its fair share of technology and technical jargon. If you are interested in enterprise VoIP systems you would have surely come across the term cloud PBX system and wondered what it means. The phrase also sounds quite similar to a hosted PBX phone system or virtual PBX phone system. Broadly speaking, all these terms refer to the exact same type of service-  phone service with PBX functionality which is delivered online through dedicated or shared data connections.

Let’s make the process of understanding the phrase easier by breaking down “cloud” & “PBX”.

Cloud is an umbrella term for the software & services that run on the internet. Pretty much everything these days runs “in the cloud”.

PBX is an abbreviation for Private Branch Exchange, which refers to a private telephone system that allows an organization to communicate internally as well as externally. It is the system that routes incoming calls, enables you to transfer calls to other extensions, provides business-hour settings to route off-hour calls, customer waiting queues, and hold music.

According to Techopedia, a Cloud (or Hosted) Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is "a telephone exchange system built, delivered and managed by a third-party service provider. Hosted PBX is an IP-based telephony solution provisioned and accessed entirely through the Internet."

Simply put, Cloud PBX is a virtual phone system that provides a secure and reliable business phone system through the internet. It is an IP-based PBX solution provided and accessed completely through the internet. Instead of hosting software on a server, the way digital systems do, cloud PBX hosts all software and data in the cloud.

So basically, companies can rent the virtual PBX system which is hosted and maintained by a 3rd party over the internet.

How Does Cloud PBX Works?

As with all cloud-based technologies, virtual PBX phone systems are dependent on the internet. They are flexible & portable cloud-based telephone systems that enable individuals to receive calls from almost anywhere! They allow businesses to make calls over the internet rather than using old-fashioned phone lines.

The difference lies in the fact that unlike traditional PBX systems that require on-premises hardware, the Virtual PBX system is hosted securely in the server of your VoIP provider. Maintenance and software updates are all managed externally leaving you to focus on your business. Delivered entirely over the internet and managed completely off-site, the deployment and set up is quick and easy, freeing companies from the burden of IT overheads. You can purchase the on-premise PBX system from a service provider and pay on a subscription basis. The following diagram is a simplified representation of how a cloud PBX phone system works:

Benefits of Cloud PBX system

Wondering about the advantages that cloud PBX systems have to offer? The following is an infographic aimed at sorting out the multi-leveled benefits of using cloud-hosted PBX systems.

benefits of cloud pbx system

Read on for an insight into the top 5 benefits of using cloud PBX solutions that are encouraging tech-savvy business owners to make the switch from traditional telephone systems to more feasible online cloud PBX systems.

  • Cloud-based PBX systems cost less:

    The biggest USP of the virtual PBX phone system is the availability of best on-premise phone systems with advanced features at unbelievably low costs! Because PBX features are provided as a service there is little or no capital investment required as even the phones or handsets used by employees can be rented. Small businesses facing a perennial cash crunch find this a major plus point as well as the larger business setups that are looking for cost-cutting avenues. So all you gotta pay for is the hostage space and the bandwidth that you require. Cloud-hosted PBX systems also offer access to high-end features and upgrades for minimal to no cost.

  • Virtual PBX phone systems offer best in class advanced features:

    Cloud PBX systems offer a plethora of features such as voicemail, advanced E-mail, automatic attendants, many unified communication options, traffic shaping such as MLPS which helps in preserving bandwidth. Virtual PBX phone systems can also connect with two different on-site circuits which helps in providing backup.

  • Cloud PBX systems ensure flexibility:

    In today’s changing work scenario where employees are sometimes choosing to work from remote locations your communication systems need to change with the times as well! Cloud-based telephone systems allow users to switch seamlessly between devices, locations, communication channels, and media without causing any interruption in workflow. They also benefit businesses with access to the latest voice features without any hardware updates. Now, how cool is that?!

  • Cloud PBX systems are easily scaled:

    So whether your business is considering upsizing or downsizing, you will not have to pay for any unused resources, be it lines, numbers, or seats. This flexibility and ability to scale whether up or down is afforded by none other than hosted PBX solutions.

  • Cloud PBX systems ensure reliability & backup:

    A hosted PBX phone system can be counted on for providing clear reception of each call, without lagging response times or delays or lapses in call quality. In case of any misfortune, disaster, or power outage the virtual PBX system ensures that your flow of communications can continue even in such unforeseen situations.

Features of Cloud PBX systems

Cloud-based PBX systems offer the following hot features such as:

  • Cloud recording

  • Virtual Attendant (IVR)

  • Call Groups

  • Voicemail Transcription

  • Reporting and Analytics

  • Online User-Interface

  • Call Queues

  • Live Call Monitoring

  • Call Whisper

  • Call Barge

  • Automated Call Distribution, etc.

Which industries gain maximum benefit from using Cloud PBX systems?

Though VoIP technology enjoys widespread adoption in many industries all over the world, some industries benefit more due to their nature of work. So basically, any organization that relies on making large volumes of national & international calls stands to benefit from adopting virtual PBX systems.

  • Customer service

  • Hospitality

  • e-Commerce

  • Financial Institutions

  • Travel Agencies

  • Real Estate

  • Healthcare

Which are the Top 3 Problems Encountered When Implementing Cloud-Hosted PBX?

problems in implementing cloud pbx software

  • Insufficient bandwidth:

    Before implementing a cloud-based telephone system, one needs to ensure that whether your existing network can handle the extra bandwidth required to run the chosen system.

  • Improperly trained staff:

    Change is never easy and even though hosted service providers are responsible for the upkeep & maintenance of the system, there will still be a learning curve associated with implementation and the time required for everyday users to get comfortable with the most of your cloud-hosted services.

  • Ensuring security:

    Hacking, toll fraud (criminals hijacking your phone system to place thousands of calls at your business’ expense) & phishing attacks are serious issues that can be countered with the most effective tool, education. Businesses also can rely on monitoring from their managed service provider to alert them if anything suspicious is taking place over your PBX (such as flagging atypical calling activity).

Troubleshooting PBX Phone Systems in 5 Steps

  • Check all device connections:

    Ensure that your devices are connected to a power supply and the network. Check if all of your hardware, including phones, routers, and adapters, are plugged in correctly, including the power cords and network/telephone cords.

  • Reset your PBX and your hardware:

    Reset your PBX hardware by unplugging the main cord for a minute. Reset your equipment (phones and routers) as well by unplugging all power cords for 10 seconds. Once you plug everything back in, wait for all the lights to turn back on. This will clear any fundamental issues that may have caused poor call quality. If any of your devices haven’t powered back up, flag it for repair or replacement.

  • Run a bandwidth speed test:

    With a speed test, you’ll learn if your network is compatible with VoIP. Inadequate bandwidth and other connectivity issues limit the number of VoIP phones you can have. There may also be an issue with data packet transmission.

  • Confirm your router has prioritized VoIP traffic:

    Ensure that your router is able to prioritize VoIP traffic and your network configuration should be set up in the right way to enable it.

  • Use the logs in your PBX:

    Log into your PBX dashboard to view any errors that may have happened with your PBX. Look for a section that shows you a log of events & messages about your PBX.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • It enables users to communicate within their company or organization as well as the outside world using different communication channels like Voice over IP, ISDN or analog.
  • Some major components of PBX systems include, but are not limited to; internal switching network, microcontroller, logic cards, switching and control cards, power cards, stations or telephone sets, switchboards.
  • They connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) over plain old telephone service (POTS), which physically connects voice and fax calls via copper wiring. If you have an analog PBX system and wish to connect it to digital channels such as VoIP, you will need to use an adapter.
  • PSTN stands for Public Switched Telephone Network. This network is also referred to as the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS).
  • SIP phones, also known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones, are IP (Internet Protocol) telephones that enable your internet service provider to integrate basic phone capabilities with web, email, online chat, and more through IP network.

Shrushti ChawaraBy Shrushti Chawara | Last Updated: October 29, 2020

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