Imagine a traditional office set-up — each desk has a phone, with each phone having an extension number. If a phone rings on an empty desk it will either be ignored, a message left, or another member of staff will have to run the office gauntlet to answer it before it rings out. That’s an analogue phone system.

A hosted telephony system is one which is based the cloud, rather than in an office. It works for businesses of any size as it is easily scalable, as well as being flexible and cheap to set up. Because it’s hosted in the cloud, there is no need for expensive hardware, and the best bit is that the call can technically be answered from any device (anywhere) as the system is in the cloud, hosted remotely, with no physical tethers. Essentially, your new phone system is software rather than hardware, allowing it to be answered via a traditional phone, mobile phone, or app. 

Many people worry about the security of a software-based system — surely a hardware-based set-up offers more security and control? Essentially, this needn’t be a concern — security measures at both ends (the user and the provider) offer double the protection, as long as the correct procedures are in place. 

All you will need to enable hosted telephony is a private internet connection and sufficient bandwidth; the amount required will depend on the elements you wish to install. You can opt for dedicated handsets over mobile apps as these offer enhanced features, although users will still be able to install and use a mobile app that will allow them to answer calls when not at their desks. 

With British Telecom switching off ISDN services related to PBX systems in 2025, it could be time that your business begins to get to grips with its simpler and cheaper counterpart: hosted telephony.