Building your own phone system can be an intelligent business decision. Still, you need to consider some of the pros and cons of building and running your own IP-PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange) relative to using cloud services managed by a third party. An on-premises business IP phone system is a critical investment for your organization. However, it requires ongoing maintenance and support to function optimally. Regular system upgrades, monitoring and troubleshooting, security, hardware maintenance, and user support are essential to ensure your company’s VoIP services, such as web conferencing and chat, run smoothly. Investing in ongoing maintenance and support can minimize downtime, reduce the risk of security breaches, and ensure your employees can communicate effectively.
Cloud Service Options Versus On-Premises Options
Both on-premises and cloud service options have similarities in how things get set up. You obviously need VoIP phones, which must be installed and configured. Almost every cloud-based phone system includes other capabilities, like chat, IM, and voicemail-to-email. Employees need an introduction to the new system too. Finally, administrators need to be introduced to the management dashboard they will use to add phone numbers and review costs.
A VoIP phone system that runs on your network needs additional work, such as setting up the PBX. This involves physically installing one or more gateway devices in your server room. The phone system may be complete at that point, but you may also want to enable web conferencing and chat or integrate enterprise software like Salesforce and Exchange with other VoIP services. As stated below, there are other pros and cons of building an in-house IP phone service.
The Pros and Cons of Creating Your Own Phone System
Hosting your own IP phone service can be a viable choice. Here are the reasons why:
- Control: With an on-premises IP-PBX, the organization has complete control over the system’s features, upgrades, and maintenance. This control level can appeal to organizations with specific needs and requirements for their phone system.
- Security: An on-premises IP phone system provides increased protection since the system is located on the property and behind your corporate firewall. There is no reliance on external providers or data centers to safeguard data and voice traffic.
- Cost-effectiveness: It can be cost-effective for organizations with many employees since the cost of purchasing and operating the system can be distributed over a more extensive user base.
As with most technology decisions, there are disadvantages to hosting your own IP-PBX. The cons of building your own IP-PBX include the following:
- Initial Cost: The upfront costs of setting up VoIP services on-site can be substantial. Additionally, the organization must invest in ongoing maintenance, updates, and repairs.
- Limited Flexibility: An on-premises system may not be as flexible as hosted VoIP services can be since the system is limited by the organization’s physical infrastructure. Adding new users or expanding the system’s capacity may be challenging without incurring additional costs.
- Dependence on In-House Expertise: The hardware and software require in-house operating, maintaining, and troubleshooting expertise. The organization will need to invest in training and development for IT personnel to manage the system effectively.
The Biggest Disadvantage – Ongoing Support Costs
The biggest con for some business owners will be the ongoing maintenance and support required. A vendor would carry out all or most of the following tasks. This side of having an in-house phone system includes three ongoing responsibilities:
- Regular System Upgrades: An IP-PBX requires upgrades and patches to function optimally like any software or computer system. Regular upgrades ensure your system is updated with the latest features, bug fixes, and security patches. It also provides that your system is compatible with the latest hardware and software technologies.
- Monitoring and Troubleshooting: A well-maintained IP phone system requires regular monitoring to detect and resolve issues before they escalate. System monitoring involves monitoring network traffic, system performance, and system logs. When a problem arises, troubleshooting is essential to identify the root cause and resolve the issue promptly.
- Security Maintenance: IP-PBX systems are susceptible to security threats such as hacking, malware, and denial of service attacks. Ensuring that your system is secure requires ongoing security maintenance. This includes implementing security patches, configuring firewalls, and conducting security audits.
- Hardware Maintenance: The hardware components of your PBX require ongoing maintenance to ensure they function optimally. This includes regular cleaning, replacing worn-out components, and upgrading hardware components to support new technologies.
- User Support: Providing ongoing user support is essential to ensure employees can use the system effectively. This includes training new employees, providing ongoing training on new system features, and providing support to resolve any issues users may encounter.
For larger businesses, the added maintenance and support burden and the higher “startup” cost of building a VoIP phone system may well pay off. Owners of smaller companies may be better off subscribing to cloud services for voice, chat, and conferencing.
Building Your Own IP Telephone System Can Pay Off
Creating your IP phone system offers lower costs for services, greater security, and better performance. In-house hardware also brings some added costs for maintenance and support. For some businesses, especially larger ones, it is worth the added cost to have greater control over the phone system and related software than cloud services offer. If you would like expert assistance to build your own or use a hosted VoIP service, contact the experts at DirecTech to set up a free consultation.