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Should an IP-PBX system be on-premises or cloud-based?

Should we replace our PBX with an on-premises IP-PBX system or cloud product? Expert Zeus Kerravala explains how to determine which implementation suits your enterprise best.

There's really no right answer to this question of whether to deploy an on-premises or cloud-based IP-PBX system, other than it depends on your organization and how long you plan on keeping the system. From the research I've done, the break-even point for an on-premises-based system versus a cloud UC product is about 48 months. That means, if you plan on keeping the solution more than four years, the on-premises system becomes cheaper than cloud.

 I believe cloud UC is superior if you have a lot of mobile workers. In my opinion, cloud services are much better suited to meet the demands of mobility, as the services can be delivered to anywhere over any network. Also, if you're in an environment where there are a lot of "off net" workers, a cloud product can address this without the need for VPN connections.

If there are specific features or some kind of custom implementation that you require, however, an on-premises-based system may be the better choice. If you're planning to use the incumbent vendors, the on-premises system may provide an easier path to implementation.

Do you have a question for Zeus Kerravala or any of our other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)

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Thank you for the great insights. I would also like to elaborate on a few points. First of all, an on-premise IP PBX system is great for companies that can afford the expense and manpower to support an on-premise infrastructure. Secondly, cloud-based solutions are best for companies that are running a small-scale business and want to scale the solution as the need arises. However, in my opinion, having an on-premise solution is way better because, in the long run, it is more reasonable than a cloud-based solution because in the latter you have to pay a monthly fee which in the long run exceeds the one-time amount of the on-premise system.
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