“The Cloud” or Hosted (They’re the same thing, really)
You see this phrase advertised everywhere you turn nowadays, from subway and bus print ads to TV commercials. While the idea and what is conveyed in those ads may seem ambiguous, the “cloud” is very real, and something you have been using for years without even knowing it.
The phrase “cloud” is another term for hosted technology. It simply means that information and processing capabilities is stored off-premise (not on a local device). Your Gmail, Yahoo, and other internet email services are a hosted technology because they use servers that do not exist on your computer, to store your emails. You access your email, their attachments, and archived messages through the internet by connecting to Google’s servers. The advantage of hosted technology is that servers are maintained in a controlled central location, can be easily serviced, and resources can be shared more easily.
You’ve Been Using Hosted For a Long Time!
Emails, files, and other data isn’t the only thing that can exist in the cloud. Voice exists in the cloud too. Your cell phone voice mail uses hosted technology. The voice mail system and messages don’t actually exist on your device; you dial into your voice mail box, which resides on your carrier’s servers elsewhere, to access all of the features that would not be possible to house on your slim and sleek cell phone.
Hosted Business Phone Systems
Understanding cloud, or hosted, technology on your cell phone is just the first step toward taking advantage of hosted voice services on a business level. Entire phone systems, including their full suite of features, can be hosted, and will allow you to reap major benefits. McEnroe Voice & Data has chosen to partner with Star2Star to offer our customers a unique hosted product that will not only save you money, but make your organization more efficient. Among its many accolades, Star2Star is the only hosted provider that had 100% uptime in 2011 AND 2012 (not 99.9999%, but 100%).
The Pros of Business Phone Systems
Let’s start with the first major benefit of hosted; the one that grabs everybody’s attention: cost savings. The initial capital investment put into a hosted system is far less than a traditional, premise-based PBX. The PBX and its associated servers and processors are the most expensive part of investing in a new phone system. And since your PBX is hosted, you can take advantage of the cost savings that resource sharing provides. A hosted phone system can often be a quarter of the price of an on-premise PBX. The second variable in cost savings comes to you each month, when you cut your phone bill IN HALF. A hosted phone system runs over your data network, often requiring only a T1 connection for your office. Imagine how great it will feel to call Verizon and cancel all of your voice services. We at McEnroe Voice & Data save our hosted customers an average of 45 – 55% off their monthly bill. This cost savings typically pays for the new system by itself.
The second major benefit of implementing hosted is getting rid of your fear of technology obsolescence. A hosted system resides at a central server whose software is constantly upgraded and monitored. Gone are the days of worrying if you’re running the up-to-date version. Your hosted system will be as up to date 10 years from now as it was the day we installed it.
The third benefit that McEnroe’s unique hosted solution provides is sharing lines over multiple locations. This is cost savings and efficiency rolled into one. Instead of having rigid and dedicated lines per office, you now have hosted lines that can be allocated across your entire network, as needed. Instead of having 10 lines for each of your 3 locations, you can now cut down to 20 lines total, and share them. What’s more, if all 20 lines are in use, our hosted solution will allow you to “burst” and use another line from the cloud. Imagine your customers never getting a busy signal or being sent directly to voice mail.
The Cons of Hosted Phone Systems – Watch Out!
Nearly 95% of hosted solutions you find in the marketplace are all the same solution, just branded differently. Beware of hosted services that price per seat or user. The charges will typically be $35 – $40 per phone, with an iron-clad contract that leaves you incredibly exposed. These type of hosted solutions all use the Broadsoft network and provide little to zero quality control, which will leave you dropping calls, and experiencing jitters and latency. Another huge disadvantage to these systems is that you actually pay for inter-office calls.
Why is Star2Star Different?
With Star2Star, instead of paying for each user, paying for inter-office calls, and having ABOLUTELY ZERO on-site quality control, you could be enjoying FREE INTER-OFFICE CALLS (including other branches, even across the country), and a quality control StarBox router that interfaces with off-premise Star2Star servers to proactively monitor your system. After evaluating several hosted solutions, we’re proud to offer Star2Star to our customers because it not only makes the most sense in concept, but we have also seen the cost savings, efficiency improvements, and positive feedback from our customers.
If you think you may be paying too much for your telephone service, allow us to conduct a complimentary bill review and show you the absolute savings, per month and up front, that McEnroe Voice & Data can help you realize through the implementation of a Star2Star hosted solution.
Article by McEnroe Voice & Data, www.mcenroevoice.com