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What is Cloud Telephony?

Explore the definition and benefits of cloud telephony. Learn how this technology can revolutionise your business communication system.

Finding that competitive edge in today’s marketplace is becoming a vital goal for any business, regardless of size or sector. An efficient way to communicate will go a long way in generating success, with employees and customers both enjoying a heightened experience. This sounds all well and good, but you must ask yourself; what method of communication can achieve this?

This is where we can introduce cloud telephony technology and provide everything you need to know. From its utilisation of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to its power to promote collaboration from anywhere, this latest step in business communications is set to make a huge difference. Considering the cloud telephony market is set to hit a value of $51.5 billion this year, that impact is already being felt.

What is cloud telephony?

Cloud telephony, otherwise known as ‘cloud calling’, is a form of United Communications as a Service (UCaaS) that allows organisations to operate a voice communication service based on an internet connection. Via the cloud, an external third-party host takes responsibility for this business phone system, with each call handled through a VoIP-based hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange) system.

Investing in cloud telephony allows businesses to start moving their phone calls through the cloud, and allows video calls, files, and other forms of instant messaging. Since it’s a unified communications model, numerous tools and critical business systems are brought together into one platform. With business communications merged with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, employees can begin to see a remarkable improvement in their working experience. But we’ll get to the benefits later!

How does cloud telephony work?

All you need is an internet connection. As already mentioned, cloud telephony relies on VoIP technology that is being hosted in the cloud. In traditional VoIP fashion, analogue voice signals are converted into digital data packets that are then sent through an internet connection. When a user dials up a phone number, the third-party that’s hosting the VoIP system will route the call to its destination, before reconverting them back into their analogue form on arrival. These calls can be made through a variety of devices, including mobile devices, VoIP handsets, VoIP-enabled desk phones, or a softphone app that works through a computer.

Relying on the internet, the cloud, and a third-party that monitors the maintenance of the cloud telephony platform are all key elements of this form of unified communication (UC). Putting faith in this system can provide plenty of benefits that certainly build towards that long-term goal of a better working/customer experience, and overall business success.

The benefits of cloud telephony

Enable flexible working from anywhere

We’ve all seen the rising trend in hybrid working patterns, with a greater number of employees opting to balance their time between working from home and working in the office. As long as a member of staff has a stable connection to the internet, they can access their cloud-based telephone number and continue working without too much disruption. Indeed, these remote workers aren’t just limited to making or receiving calls; they can also access voicemail, manage call routing, and set-up any necessary call forwarding. Considering 56% of respondents in a 2022 cited flexible working as the best way for employers to support them and their mental health, cloud telephony can play a major factor in that.

Keeps calls and data secure

With an increase in both data regulations and external threats, businesses are under more pressure to ensure that critical pieces of information are kept out of the wrong hands. The average data breach is set to cost businesses over $5 million, providing further incentive to entrust their cloud telephony with a provider that takes security as seriously as they do. Cloud telephony services that comply with GDPR and HIPPA provide that assurance in how secure a system is, especially if they deploy call encryption technology such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP). Establishing a global standard for security threat responses means employees don’t have to worry about working remotely and being susceptible to an attack.

Resilient and future-proof

The impending PSTN switch off in 2025 is set to completely change the landscape of business communications. Moving away from the old copper wire network, and the traditional way to make phone calls, is key to avoiding any unnecessary disruptions and maintaining business continuity. Taking to the cloud gives an added layer of protection in case of any kind of unprecedented setback, including a power outage or a natural disaster, that can wreak havoc on an on-site PBX system.

Guaranteed scalability

Traditional business phone systems require dedicated specialists to help when your business starts to grow. Time and resources need to be devoted towards purchasing new desk phones and training new employees to an acceptable standard. Cloud telephony systems can scale when demand begins to increase, with lines able to be added and removed via an easy-to-use portal without any concerns being made about wiring or new phone numbers or specialist help. Having a simple and user-friendly interface also helps to cut down on the time taken to onboard new employees, allowing them to maintain their efficiency and not jeopardise the customer experience when the volume of inbound calls begins to rise.

Advanced features to advance productivity

For a cutting-edge business communication system like cloud telephony, there needs to be plenty of advanced features on offer that make a huge difference to the way your employees operate. From the dashboard, cloud telephony allows access to features such as auto-attendant to help connect customers to the right team, and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) that guides customers through an automated call management path. Flexible working patterns can be supported through video conferencing and screen sharing that allows employees to conduct productive remote meetings and ensure that hybrid workers maintain a high level of efficiency.

A cost-effective way to communicate

There’s no doubt that every business wants to find the best way to increase productivity and efficiency without incurring a hefty bill. Moving to the cloud has already given 84% of businesses reduced computing costs, as well as savings on electricity and physical space itself. Entrusting your business communications in the hands of cloud telephony removes the need to constantly upgrade costly maintenance equipment, as any upgrades or repairs to the system are handled by the third-party provider. By moving to the cloud, there’s no need to purchase any expensive on-premise equipment either, while also freeing up staff costs and time as resources aren’t devoted towards their constant upkeep.

The downsides of cloud telephony

It is worth mentioning that cloud telephony does have its own setbacks. A reliance on a stable internet connection, the risk of trusting third-party providers with your data, and the potential disruption of transitioning to the cloud all present obstacles when adopting cloud telephony. The loss of quality due to latency and jitter would be detrimental to the improved experience that cloud telephony is supposed to bring for both customers and employees alike. Providers will understand these possible hurdles with cloud telephony and will work hard to plan out the best route to mitigating them during the early phases of transition. That’s why choosing the ideal provider matters so much.

Moving to a cloud-based future

With the UK government pushing forward with their ‘Cloud First’ policy, there’s no doubt that the future will be powered by the cloud. Lower maintenance costs, increased system resilience, and a more productive workforce are all benefits associated with cloud communications. Understanding what each provider has to offer, including their security credentials over data handling and the advanced call features, can help businesses find their ideal cloud telephony solution that will transform the way their business communicates.

A full picture of the cloud telephony market ensures precious resources aren’t wasted over an ill-fitting solution. The sooner that businesses seize the opportunities of cloud telephony, the sooner they can begin to transform their business for the better.