PBX systems have gained a lot of popularity in recent years and nowadays they are often used by small companies and businesses that are looking for an affordable and reliable way to maintain a virtual telephony system. However, picking the right PBX for your small business can be a very tricky task, so we strongly advise you to take a look at the tips below. We’ve gathered a collection of advices that will hopefully give you a better idea about the pros and cons of cloud-based & on-premises PBX systems and which of them is the better choice for your needs.

Calculate the Total Cost

Calculating the exact cost may be tricky, especially if we are talking about long-term usage. However, there are some things that you need to know before you make a decision. On-premises PBX systems are usually very affordable to maintain, but they require a huge upfront investment that many small companies may be unable to afford. On the other hand cloud-based systems rarely require an upfront payment, and all you’ll have to pay is a monthly subscription. Another great thing about cloud-based PBX services is that you can scale them up or down instantly, so they often give you better value for money, but we’ll talk more about this in the next point to help you choosing a good PBX service.

Functionality & Flexibility

Cloud-based and on-premises PBX systems are pretty much the same in terms of functionality. Of course, everything depends on the plan/hardware you’ve chosen, so you always need to carefully read every detail about the offer you are considering. Cloud-based PBX systems usually have a fixed per-user price that basically results in a flexible & easy-to-plan service. On-premises PBX systems are more flexible when it comes to functionality and features, because you have complete freedom when it comes to purchasing the hardware you’ll need.

Ease of Customization

On-premises systems are naturally more difficult to customize, so you’ll probably have to pay trained and certified staff to take care of any changes you want to make. On the other hand, cloud-based systems are usually customized by the provider, so you can save money and still get the functionality you are looking for. However, if you need advanced customization, then you’ll probably better off opting for an on-premises PBX system.

Performance & User Experience

Both systems manage data traffic differently, and this may play an important role in your final decision. On-premises PBX systems usually prioritize traffic excellently, so you’ll rarely suffer from drop calls, bad connection quality or similar problems. On the other hand, cloud-based PBX solutions often fail to properly prioritize data packets and the final result is rather disappointing. Of course, this only happens when the system is under heavy load, so smaller companies won’t have any issues with cloud-based PBX systems as long as they choose the correct plans. Keep in mind that some hosted PBX systems offer the special Session Border Controller that can do miracles when it comes to improving data quality, so check if your contractor offers this service.

Support Quality & Cost

If you already have an IT staff working for you, then they might be able to take over the maintenance of your on-premises PBX system. On the other hand, if you are lacking in the IT department, then you’ll certainly have to spend some money on the services of certified specialists who’ll make sure that everything with your PBX system is running smooth. On the other hand using a cloud-based PBX system doesn’t include extra expenses for technical staff, because your provider will take care of all hardware and software related issues.

Focus on Network Quality

You can’t have a good on-premises PBX system unless you have excellent network quality. In the best case scenario you’ll have just one DHCP router/server, and all of your switches will be in excellent quality. This will allow you to enjoy signal of the highest quality which will result in a smaller number of dropped calls, and a very good call quality.

Bandwidth Isn’t Everything You Need

The amount of bandwidth that you get with your on-premises PBX system or cloud-based system is important, but don’t underestimate the importance of good connectivity as well. A steady connection paired with normal bandwidth will give you better performance, than huge bandwidth paired with a low quality connection. If you don’t often use simultaneous connections, then it is better to opt for the offer that gives you better connection quality instead of massive bandwidth.

Low Cost Isn’t the Best Choice

As a small company, you might be tempted to opt for the most affordable offer you can find as a part of small business promotion within affordable range, but this decision may turn out to be more expensive than you think. How would you feel if you were spending hundreds of dollars a month for a service that doesn’t meet your needs and requirements? In our opinion the PBX system must be reliable & meet your needs, so it is better to spend a few extra dollars for a service that actually satisfies you.