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To Host or Not to Host: Which PBX is Best?

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To Host or Not to Host: Which PBX is Best?

December 03, 2012

  By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Making the decision to bring in a PBX (News - Alert) for VoIP calling is a decision that's becoming increasingly popular with businesses of all stripes and sizes. Indeed, there are plenty of advantages to doing just that, but just making that decision alone isn't enough. Indeed, businesses are discovering that there's another decision to make promptly after going with a PBX: to go with a hosted PBX or to go with an on-premises version instead. This leaves a lot of companies asking, which is best?

To answer the question of which PBX, a hosted system or an on-site version, it's important to ask two critical questions: First, does the business want control over the PBX more than anything else, and second, does the business have the expertise to successfully exercise that control? These two questions are vital because they describe perfectly, but in a nutshell, just what needs to be done in order to operate a PBX system.

In the case of a hosted PBX, the company simply purchases the service from someone else who already has the equipment and maintains it, thus making the only decision on the company's part just how much of said service they actually need. They then pay for that service on a regular basis--often monthly--and simply use it.

For on-premises PBX systems, the company purchases all the equipment necessary to establish a PBX service and then operates said equipment themselves. They maintain it, they upgrade it and they determine just which features are available to which users.

Since an on-premises PBX system requires not only substantial up-front costs but also regular influxes of expertise to manage and maintain the systems in question, it's not going to be for every company, especially those without a large investment in IT already in place. But at the same time, that kind of control over the operation is very welcome to some companies, and an on-premises PBX system has the added advantage of having a different type of connectivity. With a hosted PBX, the broadband connection is the sole link to same, and if the broadband goes down, so too go the phones. On-site systems connect differently and thus aren't subject to that particular weakness.

Therefore, when it comes to establishing just what kind of PBX system to bring into play in a company, be it hosted or on-premises, the company planning to bring it in first needs to take an honest look at their own skill sets, resources and capabilities before making the ultimate decision about which route to go.

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Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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