VoIP: The Pros and Cons
Before we discuss VoIP advantages and disadvantages, there is a question you might be asking. Just what VoIP? The answer may confuse you as much as the acronym: VoIP = Voice Over Internet Protocol.
Likely that didn’t make any more sense than the acronym did, so here it is in the short and sweet version: VoIP is a technology for phones that allows you to make and receive calls over your internet connection rather than through a copper wire buried in the ground.
Advantages of VoIP
Switching to VoIP from standardized phone services has many advantages, from cost to flexibility.
By using an internet connection to place and receive calls, you can free up your staff to be increasingly mobile. VoIP can achieve this because it utilizes both hardware and software technology that allows a phone call to be placed and sent using Internet Protocol or IP addresses. Your phone number, (555) 123-4567, is assigned an IP address, and that software doesn’t require you to be at a certain location or even have a single piece of hardware. Essentially, that software directs that phone call to your desk phone, your cell phone, and a softphone on your laptop. It can send it to all three at once, and whichever answers first gets that call. That frees up your workforce to be able to answer and make calls from their business line in the office, on the road, from their homes, or anywhere they have an internet connection.
The upfront cost of installing and the ongoing cost to maintain a VoIP phone system is very small business-friendly. You can add and subtract lines as you grow, and you have access to a seemingly endless amount of call features.
The OpEx and CapEx for your business is greatly reduced with a VoIP phone system. Because the services are going over the internet, governments have historically not been successful at taxing these services heavily. Look at the taxes on your traditional phone bill and try not to squirm. This is one of the VoIP advantages businesses can really get behind.
Disadvantages to VoIP
Power Outages and Internet Reliability:
Because VoIP hardware requires power and VoIP software requires an internet connection, those are your two most significant points of failure. These can be accounted for if and redundancy can be put in place if you have a solid I.T. support company. If the ability to make and receive phone calls is a mission critical function of your business, you should consider adding a secondary internet source.
Any device that you have on your network that is connected to the internet is subject cyber security risk. Viruses, malware, ransomware and other threats can all be targeted through your phones. Make sure you have the right security measures in place to secure this technology if you are going to implement it at your business.
The quality of VoIP it is reliant on the internet speed your business has in place. If you are a call center and want to switch to VoIP, you can add more internet bandwidth and ask your IT Support provider about quality of service (QoS).
Should your small business use VoIP?
That is a tough question to answer and there are a lot of VoIP advantages and disadvantages to consider. What internet connections do you have available to you? How mobile is your workforce? What are you currently spending on a traditional phone service, and how much will VoIP save you? What network security measures do you have in place to secure a phone system?
If you are a small business and want to discuss VoIP advantages and disadvantages for your company, contact Iconic IT. We help our clients answer these questions every day and can point you in the right direction. While Iconic IT doesn’t provide a VoIP service, we work with a lot of different local and national providers and can help your business partner with the right provider.