Should Your Law Firm Choose the Cloud or On-Premise for Your Business VoIP Phone System?

Andy DeAngelis
November 13, 2017

Across the country, a growing number of law firms — from solo practitioners to large multi-site practices — are switching to a business VoIP phone system in order to save money, take advantage of advanced calling features (e.g. web conferencing, voicemail-to-email, auto attendant, and so on), and ultimately get more for less. 

If you’re considering a switch to business VoIP — or if you’ve already concluded that it’s the right move for your law firm — then your next key question to answer is: should you elevate to the cloud, or install your system on-site? Below, we highlight for factors to help make this important decision: 

1. Cost

Without question, the biggest benefit of a cloud business VoIP phone system is that there are no initial capital expense (CapEx) costs, and no ongoing maintenance costs. You simply purchase affordable licenses based on the number of users (from 5 to over 5000), and leverage your existing high-speed internet infrastructure to make and receive audio and video calls, as well as access other features such as shared calendars, real-time status information, instant messaging, and so on.

An on-site VoIP phone system requires both up-front and ongoing maintenance costs. And while type of system this is far more cost effective than a conventional landline phone system, it is nevertheless significantly costlier to purchase, install and maintain than a cloud-based system.

2. Scalability

Many law firms — including small practices — have remote/distributed staff (employees and contractors) comprised of researchers, administrators, investigators, etc. With a cloud business VoIP phone system, adding additional users is fast, easy and expansion is not limited or impeded by the firm’s existing infrastructure.

An on-site VoIP phone system also supports scalability (and for that matter so does a conventional system in the sense that in most cases more lines can be added), but compared to a cloud business system, it is not as easy, fast or cost-effective. For example, additional investments and configurations typically must be made to the system before new users can be added.

3. Technical Support

While some law firms have on-site technical staff (especially larger practices), most of these professionals are not VoIP phone system experts. This is not an issue with a cloud-based VoIP phone system, since all technical support — including answering end user questions — is handled by an off-site VoIP Solutions Provider (which can, if necessary, come on-site if issues are local). There is no additional cost for support, as it’s included in the licensing fee.

However, with an on-site VoIP phone system, law firms must either provide technical support, or they must purchase a separate — and rather costly — maintenance agreement (not unlike they must with a conventional phone system). 

4. Business Continuity

In the event of a local power outage — such a one caused by inclement weather — a cloud business VoIP phone system will remain operational, since it uses a geographically dispersed infrastructure. In other words, the off-site VoIP Solutions Provider can switch connectivity to another part of the state, country or even the world where the power is still online, and end users can connect to the system via a smartphone app.

With an on-site VoIP phone system, a local power outage will result in the system going offline until power is restored. While it is technically possible to have a redundant equipment available in the event of an emergency, this is clearly cost prohibitive for most law firms (and with a cloud option available, it’s also quite difficult to justify even when budget is available).

The Bottom Line

If cost, scalability, technical support and business continuity are priorities for your law firm’s VoIP phone system, then the decision is easy: elevating to the cloud should be in your future! To learn more, contact the Votacall team today. We have in-depth experience serving lawyers and law firms, and will work with you to customize a solution that meets your needs and fits your budget. Your consultation with us is free.

For more information on the benefits of hosted VoIP for your law firm, download our FREE eBook:

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