Legacy vs Cloud PBX: 4 Key Differences You Need to Know


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Monday, March 21, 2022

The shift to the cloud isn’t a new idea, yet there are still some organizations resilient to making a complete move off-site services.

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Legacy vs Cloud PBX: 4 Key Differences You Need to Know
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The latest technological developments and innovations are all cloud-based, so organizations looking to move with the curve and remain up to date and connected to their customers need to accept that cloud is the way to do things.

Synergy Research forecast a $100bn market opportunity for on-site PBX users moving to the cloud. Now’s the time to move to Cloud PBX, and in making the move, it’s important to be aware of the changes from legacy PBX.

Let’s first look at how cloud PBX functions and its potential.

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How does Cloud PBX work?

84.7% of organizations are already using Cloud PBX or plan to do so within the next two years. It works in the same way as legacy hardware-based PBX incorporating all the services you need, including call transfer, free internal calls, call pick up, call forwarding, 3-way calls, and auto attendant. It also provides additional functionalities that add value to your business, including mobile extension, digital fax capabilities, online administration, integrated address books, and multi-location support.

The reasons to switch to Cloud PBX are clear and well-documented. Here are the four key differences between legacy platforms and Cloud PBX.

1. Costs

Legacy PBX comes with high initial setup costs. Organizations must buy the hardware system and utilize professional on-site installation. In addition, the complexity of the systems means that professional IT support is needed regularly if the system needs changing in any way. Budgeting for the costs of legacy PBX has always been problematic as you simply can’t know when an additional charge may be necessary, and the fees involved are notoriously unpredictable.

Cloud PBX resides in the cloud and therefore requires no hardware installation. The systems have no physical limitations and are housed in remote data centers where geography is no barrier to access. Once signed for Cloud PBX, the service is simply activated, and the end-user can just download the necessary app to their mobile device or PC.

Legacy PBX systems don’t have a single management tool you can easily learn and train your staff to use. This means PBX management is costly as you require the input of experienced and trained external agents. In addition, service calls can get expensive over time, and as the system ages, more callouts are likely. Most Cloud PBX feature a web-based administrative system making it easy to manage and access any changes required. Managers can quickly and easily add, change and remove users, configure permissions, and set personalized settings such as auto-attendant or voicemail messages.

The final cost difference is in the longevity of your PBX. Most legacy PBX only have a 5-10 year lifespan. After this point, it becomes obsolete, and you require a full refit and new hardware. As Cloud PBX isn’t reliant on any hardware, it can’t become outdated and requires no maintenance, repair, or servicing. Instead, it grows as you grow.

2. Business expansion and relocation

If you move office with legacy PBX, then your move has to factor in the physical movement of all phone equipment and related wiring. This is both expensive and reliant upon professional service providers, which can mean running your business with no phone lines or connectivity for a number of days as you wait for the relocation. Similarly, if your business expands and you set up new sites, you once again have to wait for professional installers to set up your PBX.

Cloud PBX is rooted in making things as flexible and scalable as possible. It’s installed in the cloud and fully location free, so when you move to your new building or area, your phone systems experience no downtime. It’s easy to expand, add new staff, or move people to new locations. Adding users, changing extensions, and modifying calling privileges is straightforward to initiate within the admin panel of your chosen PBX.

3. Security and reliability

Legal phone systems and technologies are hardware reliant. This leaves them susceptible to a significant range of threats from fire and theft to cybercriminals. A cyberattack on your phone systems can paralyze your organization and lead to considerable downtime, resulting in lost business and capital. On-site VoIP is particularly susceptible to cyberattacks and favored by hackers looking for an easy access point for ransomware.

Cloud PBX has none of these issues. They’re hosted on the cloud in some of the world’s most secure and reliable data centers, often in unknown and inaccessible locations. They’re robust and built with powerful anti-cybercriminal technologies in their infrastructure. If your business is impacted by a regular power outage, utilizing 4G wireless or your cell phone as a hotspot allows you seamless access to your PBX.

4. Mobility

In a world where working from anywhere is an expectation, not a privilege, our systems need to be as mobile as we are. Legacy PBX simply can’t facilitate the level of mobility the modern employee needs and tie employees to their desk phones. Outside of the office, many have company cell phones or have to use their personal phones for work. When a company relies on employees using their own phones, it becomes much harder to track call traffic, and employees can rack up costs they can charge back to the business.

Cloud PBX makes all office phone extensions mobile. Employees can use any device of their choosing and utilize a simple app on their device to easily connect to the office in any location. No important calls are missed, and the app ensures business is kept separate from personal use. Employees have the freedom to manage calls in the most suitable way for their job roles.

Moving forward with Cloud PBX

Organizations are limiting their capabilities by sticking with their legacy PBX. RingCentral MVP delivers better business efficiency and removes the need for on-site technical expertise and costly equipment with a limited usability window. Designed to make agile and flexible working easy, RingCentral MVP is an integral part of any business with a growth mindset.

Further reading


RingCentral, Inc. (NYSE: RNG) is a global provider of cloud enterprise unified communications and collaboration solutions. More flexible and cost-effective than legacy on-premise systems, RingCentral empowers today’s mobile and distributed workforces to be connected anywhere and on any device through voice, video, team messaging, collaboration, SMS, conferencing, online meetings, contact center, and fax. RingCentral provides an open platform that integrates with today’s leading business apps while giving customers the flexibility to customize their own workflows.


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