Should my business phone system be onsite or in the cloud?

Developments in digital technology mean that you can now make phone calls over the internet using a cloud-based phone system. That might sound impressive. But what does it mean for you?

Well, this new technology has its advantages. But it’s not the be-all and end-all. Like anything, it has its limitations and it may not be right for your business.

So how do you decide if you need a cloud-based or an onsite phone system?

Helping you choose the right type of phone system – VOIP, PBX, SIP or IP. 

You probably know someone who works in IT or the telco space who’s not shy about giving you their opinion. I certainly have a few acquaintances like that.

But if your IT friends are anything like mine, they probably make recommendations based on what they’re familiar with rather than what’s best for your particular situation.

So in this article, I’ll go a bit deeper into the differences between cloud-based and onsite phone systems.

And I’ll give you a few pointers to help you decide which system you should go with.

Cloud-based phone systems for your small to medium business

In a cloud-based phone system, calls travel over the internet rather than the traditional phone line. All settings and information are stored offsite in your provider’s data centre.

You don’t own the phone system, but instead rent space on it. Because you’re sharing the phone system with thousands of other users, your costs may be lower.

A cloud-based phone system usually offers similar features to an on-site system. But you will need to use IP (internet protocol) handsets which may require new cabling. And that can cost you.

And because a cloud-based phone system runs over the internet, it will place extra demand on your internet connection. So if someone in the office is watching cat videos, that will fight with your phone system for bandwidth.

You should also be aware that cloud-based systems don’t offer onsite tech support. You’ll have to report issues to an offshore call centre who will attempt to fix the problem remotely. (And I’m sure we all have a story we could tell about that.)

Onsite business phone systems

At the risk of stating the obvious, an onsite phone system is located onsite at your premises. These systems require minimal space and you can choose to buy or rent the hardware.

Because the system information and settings are all stored in your office, you have full control over the security of your calls and your IT network.

An onsite system lets you use digital or IP-based handsets so you don’t need to spend money upgrading cabling. It also places less demand on your internet bandwidth, so you can stream more cat videos. And internal calls don’t require any internet connection at all.

Onsite systems generally offer a wide array of features, from the simple to the complex.

And unlike cloud-based systems, onsite system providers offer local tech support and can visit your premises to fix issues.

How do I choose the right phone system for my company?

Okay, so know you know a bit more about the two types of system. But how do you decide which one you need?

To help you make the choice, I’ll ask you three questions:

1)  Do you have a reliable internet connection with a minimum download speed of 20Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 10Mbps?

Yes –  You can run a cloud-based system with more than three handsets.

No – You can run a cloud-based system with fewer than three handsets. If you need more than three handsets we suggest an onsite system.

2) Are you comfortable receiving technical support from an overseas call centre and not having local technicians?

Yes – A cloud-based system will suit you.

No – An onsite system is better for you.

3) Do you have more complex requirements like a call centre, detailed call analysis or call recording?

Yes – You need an onsite system.

No – A cloud-based system will suit your business.

Need more help?

I hope I’ve made the differences between cloud-based and onsite phone systems a bit clearer for you.

If you have more questions or you’d like advice you can talk to our solutions specialists at Expert Telecommunications.

They can help you choose the right technology and explain how to go about upgrading your phone system.

Call us on 03 9474 0044. Or email us at