ADVANTAGES OF HOSTED SERVICES
There are four main advantages of hosted services compared with similar services that are offered on site, or on “prem”. These advantages are seen with all types of hosted services, such as email, storage, software, security, and voice. While the cloud is not appropriate for every service for every business, those looking to enhance the following areas will do well with hosted services.
Advantage 1: Low upfront costs
The reason for this is simple: when considering any type of technology system, if you don’t need to buy the “brains” of the system and just the endpoints, you’ll save on the upfront cost of those “brains”. Consider a phone system – a modern premise-based system like a PBX or Key System will likely cost $1000/user or more because you need to buy the phone handsets (endpoints) AND the server (brains).
A hosted system with similar capabilities will cost dramatically less upfront, because the only hardware needed on site are the endpoints, which some providers roll right into the monthly cost.
Advantage 2: Enhanced Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery
This advantage is often harder to see tangibly until it’s too late – when your business is cut off from a critical system.
Many of the factors that go into continuity planning are well thought out by hosted providers. Why not take advantage of their planning instead of doing it yourself?
Hosted systems reside in data centers that offer uptime that is simply unmatched by the capabilities of most office buildings. They typically have redundant power and internet connectivity sources that are designed to fail over to each other even during extreme circumstances. Many hosted services offer geographic redundancy as well, which means that even if a major disaster shuts down a large region of the country, the systems can still remain up in real time due to backups in other regions.
Advantage 3: Scalability
This is another advantage that requires more conceptualization – most businesses don’t understand the need for scalability until it’s too late. Because hosted systems require only endpoints to connect them and they are (hopefully) managed by companies that have invested heavily in their own scalable infrastructure, adding users becomes simple and quick.
With premise-based systems, there is only a certain amount of “real estate” in the system before the system and infrastructure needs to be updated, usually at a high cost to the business that owns it. By the same token, hosted systems can allow businesses to scale down if they need to reduce costs because you only pay for what you use. With a premise-based system, once you own it, you own it.
Advantage 4: Technology Refresh
The beauty of this advantage is that once you invest in a hosted system, you’ll likely be investing in a system that will never be out of date. Many hosted platforms are well maintained and upgraded often, allowing features and functionality to improve over time without any work or cost from the end user. The VoIP phone on my desk has added dozens of new features and integrations over years that I’ve used it, and new features, like Broadsoft’s UC One, are continually added.
Premise-based systems typically require a separate software assurance agreement and an onsite technician or full time employee to upgrade the system, again at the cost of the business owner. For more on this advantage, see my blog post about technology refresh.
For more information on how hosted services can help your business, please contact us.