February 28th 2017



You have just decided that you want to buy, or upgrade to a new phone system. However, you have been deluged with terminology, ‘Cloud-Based’ and ‘Cupboard’. What do those terms mean and why should you pick one over the other? You will find the answers here, but it is up to you to make the final decision. Here is Cloud or Cupboard Phone System.



A Cloud-Based Phone System is your traditional standard phone system, except that calls are made through your internet. Your provider will handle housing and setting up the system. You just need to have phones and an internet connection. You don’t need to pay for the expensive hardware and software that you would with an On-Premise equivalent. Think of it like a phone contract, you have a low initial cost but you pay monthly.


There’s a low initial cost as you don’t need to purchase lots of hardware, especially expensive servers to host calls. Your provider will do most of the work in setting up the system and maintaining it, meaning you don’t need to train or hire extra staff. If there’s a disaster at your work facility, you can change location and connect back to your phone system as if nothing ever happened. You can create the best system that fits your business needs.

If you have multiple sites, they all can work as one system since it is easy to set up and manage from one location. Web-based portals allow easy access to reports and recordings, as well as the ability to make changes to the system. It’s extremely easy and quick to add new users, with a clear price of how much each user costs. There is no upper limit of users as phone systems have a max limit and cloud is limitless, great for a growing business. It’s easy to add or remove users in peak and slow times; accordingly, the cost will change in relation to the number of users.


Cloud-Based Phone Systems will always be more expensive as you will have to continue paying for the cloud. On an On-Premise equivalent you will eventually pay off your phone system and then it is done and dusted. Also, Cloud-Based Phone Systems are usually less feature packed than their On-Premise equivalent.

There is a higher monthly cost than that of an On-Premise Phone System. If you would like to upgrade your system you will have to ask your provider, which may take some time. You are reliant on fast internet speeds to make sure calls are of high quality and have no interference. If your internet goes down you won’t be able to use your phone system until the problem is fixed.



An On-Premise Phone System is your ordinary phone system, also referred to as Cupboard Phone Systems. All the telephones and hardware are connected to a box that will be housed on-premise, usually in a cupboard. You will have to handle housing and maintaining the whole system. All the hardware and software that is needed will need to be purchased. Think of an On-Premise Phone System as buying a SIM-free phone. You have a high initial cost but you can use a cheaper SIM.


On-Premise Phone Systems are going to be cheaper than Cloud-based as you don’t have to always pay for the cloud. This means there’s a lower monthly cost than that of a Cloud-Based equivalent. You are able to add any upgrades or modifications yourself, whenever you want. Similar to Cloud-based, you can also create the best phone system around your business needs. On-Premise systems are not reliant on an internet connection and are usually more feature-packed than Cloud-Based.


There’s a high initial cost as you will have to buy all the hardware, software and the expertise to make sure everything works and is set-up correctly. There may also be a higher maintenance cost as you will need to train staff or hire someone to maintain everything. If there is a disaster that affects your work facility that damages your phone system, you will be unable to communicate and may have to replace everything you had. Or, if you are unable to attend your work facility you will be unable to use your phone system.


 Cloud-Based Phone System

On-Premise Phone System





Cheaper initial set-up cost

Never stop paying for cloud - More expensive

Don't have to pay for cloud - Cheaper

Higher initial set-up cost

Provider will do most of the work

Higher monthly cost

Lower monthly cost

 Higher maintenance costs

 Easy to set up and manage from one location

Have to ask provider for upgrades

Modify or upgrade yourself

 Multiple sites need separate systems

Ability to communicate after disaster

Reliant on good internet

Not reliant on good internet

 Unable to communicate after disaster

Fast and easy to add users

Less features than On-Premise

Often are more feature-packed


 Create the perfect phone system


Create the perfect phone system


No limit of users


 Easy access to reports and recordings



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