In today’s world of “i” this and “e” that, the words cloud, virtual and hosted get tossed around almost interchangeably.

We’re often asked by new customers “What’s the difference between a hosted PBX versus a cloud or virtual phone system for my office?”.

We want to address the question here to help you out as well.

The difference between the three really is…..


Cloud-Based Phone Systems

The term cloud service really means nothing more than a service that is hosted and managed by a service provider offsite from your location.

Services like Dropbox and Amazon Web Services are cloud-based services. They provide you server space and file storage that is not local to your office or computer.

As it is a cloud-based phone system. Your VoIP phone system is hosted and managed offsite on a server managed by your provider.

In this way, the terms cloud, virtual and hosted PBX phone systems can be used somewhat interchangeably.

Where things get a bit cloudy (pun intended) is whether we’re talking about handsets on desks for each extension in your office or softphones on a smartphone or laptop computer?

Handsets Vs Headsets

Most of our customers are changing their office phone service from a traditional PBX hardware system to a software-driven PBX system. Most of them also opt to have us host the software and manage the service for them rather than hosting it locally at their office.

All of our customers also usually have desk phones for each staff member in their office. Like a traditional PBX system, there’s a phone on each desk that staff can receive calls on and call out from.

It is possible with some cloud and virtual phone systems to not have a desk phone. Instead, these systems use an app on your smartphone or application on your desktop or laptop computer to make and receive calls. These applications are called softphones.

When someone calls your extension or office, the app rings, just as if it was a phone, and you answer it either on your smartphone or using a headset plugged into your local computer.

These types of phone systems are flexible in the fact that they travel with you, but many offices prefer the traditional desk phone versus using computers or smartphone apps to receive phone calls. You can of course mix and match both phone types within the one system; we can help you to determine what mix is best for you.

To learn more about how you can save by switching your office phone to a hosted PBX service give ClearlyCore a call today, or submit the form on this page to book a phone conversion consult.

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