By Matt Newing, Founder and CEO, Elitetele.com

Cloud based phone systems offer a multitude of business benefits for companies, but many simply don’t see the need to invest or upgrade because their current systems are functioning fine as they are.

A recent study by Microsoft [1] shows the negative perceptions surrounding the cloud held by non-cloud users contrast directly with the positive real life experiences of ‘cloud adopters’. The myths and misconceptions that surround the cloud and its associated technologies may explain why some businesses do not yet believe in the benefits that can be achieved from investment in this area.

By sticking to legacy systems that do the job ‘well’, most businesses are missing out on solutions that can do the job better. Common myths surrounding cloud based phone systems include:

Myth: The voice quality isn’t as good

Truth: One common misconception about the cloud is that the voice quality will not live up to a traditional copper line. However, through use of networks with QoS, cloud based phone systems deliver considerably higher quality. Voice quality is so heavily reliant on your connectivity solution; this is where the main bulk of quality issues may lie.

Through managed VoIP, voice quality can also be improved drastically. In fact, many hosted phone users report that voices sound more natural and less "tinny" on a digital service. Using a network with QoS ensures voice traffic is prioritised, maintaining a high quality of voice at all times, in contrast, a network with no QoS has no quality assurance on voice traffic, meaning that it can be prone to jitter and latency.

Myth: It’s less secure

Truth: Some businesses may have queries regarding security and network vulnerabilities on switching to the cloud. Whilst a virtual phone system can reduce costs, it is true that it will place greater performance and security demands on a network. If an existing network has security vulnerabilities, these have the potential to be exploited once the service is deployed. However, once upgraded to the cloud, companies do not need to be concerned about further upgrades as this will be maintained automatically through the internet.

Moreover, following the detection and abolition of vulnerabilities in a network, with a cloud-based phone service a company can enjoy more secure conversations. For example, the cloud provides a private internet connection which allows secure conversations through voice packets, eliminating the ability for calls to be intercepted or tapped into.

Myth: It’s expensive

Truth: One of the major misunderstandings about utilising cloud technologies is that they are expensive. If you find the right solution, it will reduce costs and actually deliver good ROI. Instead of a business paying for a number of separate products that do not sit in sync, for example, having a phone system installed by one company and your ADSL provided by another, businesses can combine all these communication services into one monthly cost, paying only for capacity. A cloud-based PBX service is cost-effective, with no hardware installed on site, so costs are cut right from implementation.

Myth: It’s too complicated

Truth: A common misconception of upgrading is that it will be too complicated. However, if businesses rely on traditional PBX, then the phone system currently in use is more complicated than today’s cloud-based voice services, which are extremely easy to implement and use. Switching from a traditional office phone system to a hosted solution reduces confusing switches, lines, cards and hardware taking up space on premises and IT maintenance resources. It will actually require fewer internal resources to implement or maintain.

It is clear that there are many misconceptions behind upgrading to cloud based phone systems. However, once explored these can more reliably be labelled “myths”. If a business is to grow and expand its technology must evolve in unison. Cloud technology not only delivers better voice quality through managed VoIP and more secure conversations, but also a comparably simple and easy to use alternative with more value for the cost. In turn, the business has greater flexibility and scalability in terms of voice and data capability as a whole.

[1] Redmond, Wash. June 11, 2013