If you’re trying to find a new business phone system, there are many questions you need to answer first.

1. Do you need a complete phone system that also includes physical office telephones, or could your business get by by using a virtual phone service that relies solely on smart phones rather than traditional office phones?

2. Should you need office telephones, what kind of service do you need? You need to make a choice from phone system service, which is offered by a local or regional phone company, along with a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, which runs over the web and is also provided by a variety of providers.

3. If you choose a VoIP, do you want to house the system in your business (on-premises) or already have it hosted from your service agency (cloud-based)?

We will assist you to answer those questions, but when you are already aware what exactly you need and simply want to see our recommendations to find the best business phone systems, visit our very best picks page.

Editor’s Note: Seeking information on business phone systems? Take advantage of the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

If you’re unsure yet, keep reading. We’ll fill you in on the advantages and disadvantages of all of the following forms of phone systems:

Virtual phone systems

Landlines

Cloud and on-premises VoIP systems

Virtual Phone Systems

Virtual phone systems work by connecting a company phone line to remote workers on their mobile or home phones.

Most of these systems serve as a thorough call-forwarding solution, wherein calls are transferred to each employee’s designated phone (cell or home) every time a customer or client calls the key business number.

These systems include many different features, like automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening and web-based faxing.

Positives and negatives: This kind of service allows businesses with employees working from locations apart from the company’s office to provide a specialist face always. It also gives remote workers entry to a number of phone system features that mobile and home phones don’t offer. The down-side is virtual systems aren’t a full-fledged phone system. Your calls are still processed on your mobile or home phone network. Which means you are charged for that call on the virtual system and utilize increase your mobile- or home-phone minutes.

Ideal for: Businesses by using a large selection of remote workers, or sole-proprietor businesses.

Traditional Landline Systems

Landlines in this situation are traditional phone systems, typically maintained by a local or regional phone company.

Landlines, also called public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), are analog systems that run using the telephone company’s traditional copper wiring.

To operate a landline service, you want on-premises PBX hardware. This is actually the hardware that’s utilized to create multiple extensions and allow for phone system features, including call transferring and call directories.

There are actually landline systems today that happen to be considered a hybrid with VoIP systems. There exists a traditional phone line which comes to the business that connects to your business’s data network. Your data network in the businesses is going to be accustomed to connect every person phone.

Positives and negatives: Landline systems really are a reliable, time-tested solution that many companies are comfortable using. The biggest negative of such systems is the fact that most phone system providers are moving from landlines, leading them to be tougher not just in purchase, but to fix should something break.

Ideal for: Large corporations who have your capacity to purchase to cover them and an in-house IT staff to run and sustain them. Also required for businesses without high-speed online access.

VoIP Phone Systems

Rather than the copper wires that landlines employ, VoIP phone systems use the same internet access that a clients are already using to obtain online.

VoIP systems provide features that previously only large corporations using expensive PBX hardware had usage of, for example automated attendants, call queues and computer integration that enables voicemails to get brought to email inboxes and computers being changed into “softphones.”

VoIP systems give remote workers entry to a business’s phone system from the mobile device.

Benefits and drawbacks: VoIP systems offer a sophisticated phone system complete with all the bells and whistles. These systems are often create and configured, and they are significantly cheaper than landline systems. The downside, however, is that these systems rely on your online connection. So, if you’re within a community with spotty internet service, this particular phone system wouldn’t meet your needs. [See Related Story: VoIP for Business: Why It Seems Sensible]

Great for: Small businesses who want the functionality of any sophisticated phone system in a reasonable price, and firms that want their remote employees to get access to the device system.

In the event you decide that a VoIP system will meet your requirements, you now have another decision to produce. While landline systems make you house all of the necessary equipment within your business, VoIP systems give you the option to purchase your equipment outright and self-host, or rent the gear from the provider and also have the provider house it inside the cloud.

On-Premises VoIP Systems

Having an on-premises system, each of the equipment, which includes the non-public branch exchange (PBX) hardware required to maintain the phone system running, is housed inside your business.

On-premises systems require a large capital expenditure, since you are acquiring the equipment upfront.

Whilst you pay one-time fees for all the hardware having a self-hosted system, you pay fees each month to your SIP trunking, or PRI circuit, that is what’s necessary to allow calls being made and received.

Your IT staff accounts for handling maintenance, repairs and upgrades of the system.

Benefits and drawbacks: The main benefit of an on-premises system is that you will almost always be in control of your service. You happen to be depending on yourself to ensure it can be working and configured how you will enjoy it. The flip side, however, is that there exists a significant upfront cost, since you will need to buy each of the equipment. Additionally, you need someone on staff who is able to service and keep the machine.

Precisely what the experts say: “Lots of our larger clients with requirement for high availability, high security and customization end up with on-premises [systems],” Beth English, founder of communications consulting firm EE & Associates and current board president of your Society of Communications Technology Consultants International, told Business News Daily. “Some large enterprise-level clients will usually pick the premises-based solution mainly because they could have the workers to support it, they need a lot of customization, or they can be very concerned about privacy”

Ideal for: Companies that don’t feel at ease making use of the cloud and wish total control of their system and use of equipment always. Also beneficial to businesses by having an in-house IT team that may setup and maintain a VoIP system. Additionally, on-premises systems are more appropriate for businesses with regulatory or compliance requirements that could be tough to meet within the cloud.

Cloud-Based VoIP System

With cloud-based systems, there is not any maintenance or hardware, other than IP phones, to be concerned about. The service provider houses, maintains and upgrades all of the PBX technology for yourself.

The cloud offers growing businesses the opportunity easily add new lines and gives fast access to extra features.

Businesses typically pay a monthly fee with a per-user basis.

Benefits and drawbacks: With cloud-based systems, there is absolutely no PBX hardware or dial-tone services to purchase and look after. Your provider handles that for yourself. You can set up and configure 09dexjpky system for your business, all through your computer. The down-side of a cloud-based system is you aren’t in control of the hardware. If the system goes down, you will need to depend upon your provider to have it fixed immediately.

What the experts say: “If your business lacks a huge staff and lacks a person to manage its system, it is a great option to choose a hosted option,” English said. “[Cloud phone solutions] eliminate the headache of getting to preserve your very own phone system.”