Despite the rise of email and instant messaging, there’s still no substitute for the immediacy of a phone call. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a phone system that works for your business by allowing you to communicate effectively.
Recent years have seen an enormous shift toward a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system owing to the remarkable efficiency, flexibility and cost savings it brings. But that doesn’t mean the transition is always an easy one. With every new technology comes a new set of challenges you need to think about in advance.
#1. Hosted vs. On-Premises VoIP
When adopting a VoIP system, one of the most important considerations is choosing between a hosted solution or an on-premises infrastructure. In the case of small businesses, the former is almost invariably preferable because it eliminates the need for a dedicated IT department and large upfront costs for hardware and other infrastructure. Hosted systems are the obvious choice when you don’t have the in-house expertise and budget to build and maintain your own system.
#2. Bandwidth Issues
Since VoIP calls are carried out over the web, they are extremely dependent on the speed and reliability of your internet connection. Furthermore, a higher number of calls also requires a higher amount of bandwidth. Add this to the bandwidth required by other systems, such as email and web browsing, and your requirements can increase significantly. While this shouldn’t be a problem in most locations, such as those where a fiber-optic connection is available, you’ll want to be sure that your ISP can meet your needs.
#3. Business Continuity Planning
One of the great things about a hosted VoIP system is that it doesn’t rely on in-house hardware. Instead, you’ll be able to access and use the system from any mobile or desktop device, as well as SIP-enabled deskphones. This also means that your team can continue handling calls even if their regular workplace becomes untenable. However, you’ll still want to make sure your VoIP vendor offers a full business continuity plan and the service level agreements to back it up.
#4. Add-on Features
While there’s no point in paying for a bunch of features you don’t need, it’s always worth evaluating your options to implement a system that aligns with your business goals. Most importantly, you’ll want to choose everything you’ll likely need to build a unified communications system that brings your entire infrastructure under a single, centrally managed platform. Consider features like automated call distribution, voice recognition, video conferencing and data integration, which may be useful to your tasks.
#5. Information Security
Chances are, your business handles a significant amount of confidential information over its phone calls, and a VoIP system presents yet another potential entry-point for hackers. To avoid such risks, you need to implement a system that prioritizes information security by providing round-the-clock monitoring and end-to-end encryption for all communications.
#6. VoIP Quality and Performance
Unlike the traditional landline, internet telephony can provide high-definition audio, as well as video conferencing and much more. However, the quality and performance of your communications will be heavily dependent on your available bandwidth. For best results, allocate a portion of your bandwidth for VoIP. You’ll also need a low latency rate to eliminate delays in real-time voice communications. Your VoIP vendor should be able to help you prioritize traffic and minimize network congestion.
#7. Hidden Costs
Last but not least, watch out for hidden costs. Going for the cheapest vendor isn’t always the best idea, as you might end up paying much more in the long run. Consider, for example, the costs that are not usually included in an initial quote, such as handsets, security measures, additional software licensing, and software integrations.
At Sabio Information Technologies, we take the stress out of IT, so you can focus on moving your business forward. If you’re ready to make the move to hosted computing solutions, give us a call today and find out what we can do!