The SMB Guide to Hosted VoIP  

Increasing productivity using hosted VoIPIntroduction           

The cloud has enabled many businesses to cut down on IT costs in recent years. Not only has it changed the way that we license and access software, but it has provided a low cost means for businesses to have a fully-functioning IT infrastructure without the need for parting with huge sums of cash up-front.

In many ways, the cloud has helped to level the playing field when it comes to accessing technologies which were previously only accessible to large enterprises. The cloud tends to use a monthly payment model, so little to no capital expenditure is required in the first instance. Further to this, it’s easily scalable and highly flexible, which means that it’s only ever necessary to pay for what you need and it can easily grow with your business.

Changes to Business Telephony

But it’s not just IT that has seen profound changes take place, thanks to the cloud. Business telephony too is undergoing a transformation, with hosted VoIP being a highly popular choice for businesses of all sizes. VoIP does away with the need to have an expensive, onsite, telephone system installed as it uses the internet protocol to make and receive calls. This means that in most cases, it can be installed quickly, easily and cheaply, with the business simply needing to purchase VoIP handsets and perhaps new routers.

Whilst VoIP is not a new technology, in recent years it’s seen improvement which have meant that there is no degradation of call quality. VoIP can and does offer similar features to a fully-fledged PBX system and can be used by any business of any size.

Cost Advantages

The biggest advantage to businesses lies in cost. Traditional telephone systems are expensive both to install and maintain. VoIP, on the other hand, doesn’t require any ongoing maintenance and can be deployed at the click of the mouse. However, cost is just one of the benefits offered by choosing hosted VoIP.

Further benefits include:

  • Ability to work from anywhere, using the same number
  • Improved productivity through collaboration features
  • Reduced risk of downtime
  • Ability to use a number of different devices to access calls
  • Fully featured business telephony system at a fraction of the cost

As hosted VoIP is managed for you, and doesn’t rely on standard telephone lines, expensive downtime is greatly reduced. The majority of suppliers offer a disaster recovery plan that’s hard-baked into the SLA (Service Level Agreement). This often offers a guarantee that systems will be functional again within a certain timeframe. As downtime costs can quickly run into the £1000s, this can immediately cut costs for the business.

Improved Productivity

Less downtime does also mean that staff can be more productive. However, hosted VoIP improves productivity in other ways too. Staff can easily work from home some or all of the week when necessary and take calls as if they were in the office, on the same number. This means that businesses can also cut costs when it comes to staff located in the office. Further to this, remote working is proven to make employees more, not less, productive. Giving staff the option to work remotely improves company culture through trust and it’s thought that this improves morale which in turn boosts productivity whilst lowering staff turnover.

Further to this, the features included in a hosted VoIP system facilitate more effective collaboration, which again, has been proven to boost productivity. Overall, the cost savings and revenue improvements which can be facilitated due to hosted VoIP are significant and can help small businesses to better control cashflow.

Hosted VoIP – A Startup’s Dream

For those businesses that are just getting off the ground, hosted VoIP over traditional PBX is a no-brainer. Startups do of course have to watch every penny that is spent, even if they have had a substantial amount of investment. Hosted VoIP allows for a full telephone system to be employed immediately, without investing large sums of cash.

The benefits afforded to remote workers also mean that it’s possible for the budding startup to outsource whilst allocating numbers that appear to be in the central office’s location, but can be anywhere in the country.

Security

As with any cloud service, some businesses worry about security when it comes to hosted VoIP. This is unnecessary; for the most part the cloud is more secure than your average office environment and security is a central part of the suppliers business. Data centres tend to be highly secure, be backed with a comprehensive disaster recovery plan and even have onsite physical security to protect equipment.

Should anything (such as a server) fail in a data centre, then it’s usually the case that data will simply be routed to another part of the system and the customer won’t even notice any downtime.

To avoid VoIP fraud, you should ensure that your supplier uses server encryption to authenticate the network. Routing calls through hosted VoIP will, in most cases, reduce the risk of fraud and malicious attack. However, you should ask your supplier about security and if it makes up a part of the SLA before you sign on the dotted line.

Hosted VoIP for Business Agility

Hosted VoIP may not be the solution for all businesses – some will inevitably want some control and as such choose to have an onsite VoIP system installed. In these cases, it will be necessary to ensure that the business has a good level of security on their own network in order to reduce risk.

Overall, hosted VoIP offers a means for SMBs to have a fully-featured, business-grade telephony system installed at a fraction of the cost of traditional PBX systems. However, the benefits don’t stop there, VoIP improves productivity and allows for more effective and efficient remote working. Due to the ability to scale up and down very easily, hosted VoIP can grow with your business and you only ever pay for what you need.

Ready to reap the benefits of hosted VoIP? We provide the JolaPhone hosted VoIP service, a world-class VoIP system that provides a great alternative to traditional systems. Get in touch to find out more, our sales team will be happy to talk you through the best options for your business.