Understanding Hosted PBX

By Robin Wilding
Updated: February 02, 2011

Business telephone systems are no longer run by women named Doreen attending to their switchboard in curlers while serving up a helping of surly attitude. Business phones have gone extremely high-tech which is why PBX systems were created. A Private Branch eXchange system (PBX) is a telephone system owned by a private company that handles a multitude of phone lines without renting each line individually from the local phone company.

While most businesses are in need of the intelligence that PBX systems offer, they are often prohibitively expensive and most businesses do not have the hardware or know-how to implement these systems—but they do have the need for the business intelligence that they offer.

Enter hosted PBX phone systems. A hosted PBX system is a ‘virtual’ phone system that requires far less hardware or installation than a traditional phone system because a service provider manages various components remotely. ‘Virtual’ aka ‘Hosted’ aka ‘Cloud’ services are beginning to usurp all spheres of technology; even Google is going ‘virtual’ with their upcoming release of an entire operating system run virtually.

Using hosted PBX services will free up your valuable resources while allowing you to leverage a complex phone system.

Why Switch to Hosted PBX?

There are several reasons why businesses are switching to a hosted PBX solution:

  • To reduce hardware costs.
  • To eliminate maintenance costs
  • To free up IT resources.
  • Easier management, tracking and reporting through online consoles than non-virtual PBX systems.
  • Versatile services that adapt to your changing needs—without need for hardware upgrades.

Business Intelligence

While hosted PBX systems are simple to install and run, their technology is surprisingly complex. Many businesses are switching to hosted PBX services for the cost savings but in doing so they also add valuable business intelligence.

Hosted PBX features can include:

  • Call forwarding and screening.
  • Customizable options.
  • Rerouting capabilities.
  • Internet-based faxing.
  • Text or email notifications of received messages.
  • Voicemails received via email accounts.
  • Management through easy-to-use online consoles.
  • Searchable directories that are easily updatable.
  • Ability to assign multiple numbers to a single name such as office, fax, home, cell, etc.
  • Find me features to locate the person you are calling.
  • Electronic mailboxes accessible through any phone or VoIP service.

National & International Business

Another reason businesses are moving to hosted PBX services is that the business has gone nationwide or even global. Small-to-medium sized businesses can have offices and customers around the globe and a hosted PBX system can offer cost saving features plus long distance numbers and plans. The cost of can be just fractions of the cost when using a hosted PBX system versus standard phone line systems.


Hosted PBX systems can offer small-to-medium businesses the features generally reserved for large corporations—but at an affordable price. The professional nature of the services offers hosted PBX users business credibility through increased intelligence. The low price combined with high-tech features ensures that hosted services will be the future of PBX phone systems.

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