Cloud PBX is the set of Call Management features of Skype for Business Online, which is the new version of Lync Online and is the Microsoft hosted version of Skype for Business Server. It is part of Office 365 and is included in selected E-Suite Plans. Cloud PBX includes a subset of the PBX features available in the server edition. It enables outbound and inbound calling through on-premises PSTN Connectivity (using local service providers or local telephony systems) or through a Microsoft PSTN calling plan (available only in select regions).
While Microsoft’s Cloud PBX offering is still evolving into a full PBX replacement, CloudBond™ 365 bridges the gap, creating the critical bond between today’s UC and the cloud of tomorrow.
Considering a move to Cloud PBX?
If you’ve already deployed Lync, Skype for Business, or are seriously considering doing so, you may be compelled to start migrating some users to the cloud who may not need the full feature set of the server. The good news is that the migration can be done gradually and AudioCodes can provide the necessary tools for the migration journey.
Before making any decision, it is wise to check the feature differentiation between the server and the Cloud PBX. The lack of feature parity between the online and on-premises offerings remains significant. Among the main features not currently included online are branch survivability, response groups, location based routing, call admission control, analog devices, common area phone, and integration with on-premises PBX (can be achieved when using on-prem software such as Cloud Connector Edition or Skype for Business Server).
Practical Considerations in the Transition to Cloud PBX
Your first step in the migration process is to profile your users and understand which ones will be included in the first migration batch. Among the considerations that need to be taken into account are:
- Which users do you want to migrate to the cloud? How many people really need all the PBX features? How many people outside the office (on the road) can be satisfied by the cloud features?
- Do you have an existing on-premises telephony infrastructure that you want to co-exist with or gradually migrate away from? (Call center, PBX, IPPBX, etc.)
- Do you have devices (faxes, video rooms, analog devices) that you want to continue to use?
- Do you need to maintain local connectivity to the PSTN (existing contracts, or availability, regulatory and Quality of Service reasons for branch offices)?
To facilitate migrations to Cloud PBX, AudioCodes takes a gradual approach and proposes a unique solution that enables the transition of some users to the cloud, but also allows other users to enjoy the full feature-set of Skype for Business server. This approach ensures the following capabilities in a migration strategy:
- Enablement of real PBX replacement capabilities today
- Connectivity to the Cloud: sync and federate with cloud users
- Flexibility: ability to move users between the server and the cloud as the customer sees fit
- Scalability: can scale from several dozens to thousands of users
- Cost effectivity: gives you the required ROI
- Enablement of custom applications such as call centers, fax servers, productivity enhancements and more
CloudBond 365 - The ideal Bridge to Cloud PBX
AudioCodes CloudBond™ 365 is the ideal bridge for a migration to full cloud-based connectivity, allowing companies to migrate at their own pace, moving from a full on-premises PBX infrastructure to a hybrid structure. It is a modular, adaptable solution for the data center, customer premises or the branch. A versatile all-in-one Skype for Business appliance designed for hybrid environments, CloudBond 365 combines the best of the Skype for Business server, the Cloud-PBX and the service provider’s voice services.
CloudBond 365 cements the connection between on-premises and cloud, allowing companies to enjoy the full potential of Skype for Business while providing the flexibility desired to leverage the power and promise of the cloud.