Communication is one of the most important aspects of conducting business. Technological advancements in business telephone systems continue to improve business communication.
So, here’s a comprehensive guide on cloud PBX phone systems for businesses.
Table of Contents
- What is a cloud PBX?
- How do cloud PBX phone systems work?
- Why do businesses use cloud PBX phone systems?
- How do you used a cloud PBX phone system?
- What are the pros and cos of cloud PBX phone systems?
- Frequently asked questions
What is a cloud PBX?
A Cloud PBX is simply an internet telephone system – it allows customers to make and receive calls, as well as administer the telephone system from anywhere in the world. With a cloud hosted PBX solution, the provider is in charge of housing the PBX equipment and the provision of your phone service. It differs from a traditional phone system in that the infrastructure is housed in data centers, whereas traditional systems used to be through analogue lines and hardware that’s stored on the premises.
What is the difference between a cloud PBX and VoIP?
There isn’t necessarily a difference; both Cloud PBX and VoIP use the same core technology, but the differences lie within the perceived uses of each, consumer and business. A Cloud PBX is typically run by a private company and is a secure platform built with B2B communication in mind, and VoIP is synonymous with using platforms such as Skype and more recently, Whatsapp for personal contact purposes over the internet for free.
What is the main purpose of cloud PBX phone systems?
Cloud-based telephone systems facilitate greater control over your business communications. By using one, you can manage your business’s entire communication system, in real-time, and from practically anywhere. They essentially provide more flexibility in terms of scaling your operations and ensuring that your business can function without the restrictions associated with older telephone systems.
How do cloud PBX phone systems work?
Cloud-based phone services are hosted entirely in the cloud – this means that all Private Branch Exchange equipment is hosted on off-site servers and can be accessed on-demand via the internet. Cloud-based telephone systems break calls into small digital audio packets. The packets are then sent as data via the internet to the recipient. If a call is made using an ordinary phone number, the signal is converted to an ordinary phone signal prior to reaching the recipient. A cloud PBX solution is used to route calls through session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking. They can be used by anyone with a reliable internet connection. You can use devices such as a computer, a smartphone, a dedicated VoIP phone and even a traditional phone with a VoIP adapter.
Why do businesses use cloud PBX phone systems?
Businesses are switching to cloud-based phone systems for a number of reasons. Here are the main reasons why:
Regardless of the industry, businesses are always looking for ways to make their operations leaner. One of the biggest attractions of cloud PBX systems is that they are extremely budget-friendly. They reduce the upfront costs of investing in equipment and regular maintenance, as most installations only require the purchase of IP phones. More of an operational expenditure than capital expenditure. Because the system works on a per-user basis, businesses have the option of upscaling by purchasing additional licences. This pricing model also allows businesses to have greater control of their budget. Traditional systems also tend to charge extra for features like an auto attendant. Auto attendant is typically included in a standard cloud communication system package.
As we just mentioned, cloud-based phone systems have grown in popularity due to their ability to help businesses scale operations. Your business can grow, and so can your cloud phone system at the same time. Older telephone systems require more hardware if you want to scale up, whereas cloud telephone systems simply don’t. All you have to do is add new users, whether they’re in-office or fully remote workers. This is why it’s the best business phone system for those looking to grow rapidly.
Limited maintenance & administration
A cloud-based phone system is a dream for anyone who’s not the most tech-savvy. They’re hosted off-site, centrally managed by service providers who can visit your site to implement systems and talk you through how everything works. The system is also updated by the service provider, meaning a company will have a business phone system that’s always up-to-date without having to invest much in it. Administering cloud phone systems is also incredibly straightforward, so long as you have an internet connection. It can be done remotely, from anywhere in the world, at any time.
Cloud phone systems are the perfect way to unify your communications, placing them into a single point of access. Unified communications can lead to consistent and easier communication with staff and customers, just by allowing them to use their preferred channel. Businesses often don’t factor in the number of communications they miss out on, simply because a person can’t use their preferred medium.
Mobility & flexibility
Because a cloud business phone system can unify communications, a business’s branches, headquarters and remote staff can benefit from all the features of the system. Some business phone system providers even offer softphone apps. These apps allow users to make and receive calls via desktops and mobile devices, in addition to the IP phone. The result of this is more geographical flexibility and a more organised way to manage incoming and outgoing phone calls.
How do you use a cloud PBX phone system?
A cloud-based phone system will come packed with a number of features. These features go far beyond just call forwarding and receiving. Leading providers typically allow a business to use their phone service for the following:
This is usually the primary use of a cloud telephone system. It allows users to forward a call to a certain destination under tailored conditions such as ‘when busy’ or ‘always.’ For example, if you choose not to answer a call, it can be sent to a colleague or to voicemail.
Handling return calls
Cloud PBX phone lines can be routed to select individuals. In this sense, it can be used to ensure a client is redirected to the salesperson that they previously dealt with. This is particularly useful in cases where the client’s line was unexpectedly interrupted.
With SIP forking, you’ll be able to have multiple SIP endpoints registered to one extension number. This means that incoming calls can ring on many different terminals at the same time. So, you can essentially take the call on any device you like.
Cloud phone systems allow users to create blocks and allow lists. People on the allow-list can freely make calls, whereas people on the block list cannot. This makes the system more secure and reduces nuisance calls.
Interactive voice response
With an interactive voice response, or IVR, the automatic system interacts with users using pre-recorded messages. They can also be customised to respond to touch-tone keys or voice commands. The main benefit of an IVR is that it can save your business countless time.
Video conferencing is an extremely important aspect of conducting business these days. All it takes is sending out invites to the appropriate individuals, after which, you can host video calls in no time.
What are the pros and cons of cloud PBX phone systems?
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud-based phone systems:
- Allows for seamless upscaling and downscaling
- Helps businesses maintain a strong industry presence
- Very flexible and feature-rich
- Can substantially reduce business expenses
- Operational expenditure rather than capital upfront expenditure
- No geographic boundaries like with on premise systems
- Can be hacked if security is not kept up to date
- The quality of a call depends on your internet connection
Frequently asked questions
The benefits of using a cloud phone system are clear, and the pros outweigh the cons. In the context of the United Kingdom, switching to a PBX system may be a smart choice, particularly for small businesses. This is in light of the switch to remote working and businesses having to be more flexible. With the turn off of the traditional ISDN based phone network in the UK in 2025 it is more important than ever to move your business to SIP cloud based technology.
At United Telecoms, we are experienced in providing cloud PBX systems for small startup businesses. We always take the time to assess each business’s unique requirements, based on factors such as team size, future growth plans, volume of calls and future predictions and how your existing infrastructure is working.
The best cloud PBX phone system for SMEs is one that can meet current demand whilst providing scalable infrastructure that will allow the business to grow with ease. Again, our experienced team can work with SMEs to learn exactly what they need from a cloud PBX system based on their current requirements and what they are likely to need going forward.
The cost of cloud PBX systems will vary according to the needs of your business. The team at United Telecoms will aim to understand exactly what your business needs from a cloud PBX system and help to find you the right package at the right price. Just get in touch to organise a consultation, over the phone or via an on-site visit.
If your system goes offline, your company’s PBX will still be available. The cloud-based nature of these systems means that providers can deploy backups and fail-safes across their network.
Installing a cloud-based phone system can drastically streamline business operations. More specifically, it can improve customer service and product support. They come with a whole host of features that can enhance your internal systems and help scale your business. If you think that a cloud phone system is for you, then you need a reliable service provider to ensure that your system is installed properly and to your specifications – we can help. United Telecoms specialise in providing Cloud PBX phone systems that meet the demands of businesses, whether you are an SME or a large enterprise.
Cloud phone call systems are well-integrated with Office 365. Microsoft has what is called a “Phone System” to enable call control and PBX capabilities in the Office 365 cloud. As Microsoft Teams is the native Communications tool of Microsoft 365, please refer to the MS Teams integration FAQ below.
Thankfully, cloud phones also work with Microsoft teams. This integration is also courtesy of Microsoft’s “Phone System.” Microsofts ‘Call2Teams’ is an add-on to Office 365 and allows you to connect a cloud PBX system, or SIP Trunks, with Microsoft Teams relatively easily. We can help with setting up this kind of integration – just get in touch.
Cloud-based phone systems can be integrated with your CRM system. However, the possibility and efficiency of this may vary between service providers. CRMs such as Salesforce, Zendesk and Hubspot all facilitate certain integrations, so it’s just a matter of finding one that works for you and with the CRM you are using in your business.