Cloud vs cupboard – which is right for your business?



Looking for a business telephone system? Which is the best new phone system for your business, Cloud-Based or ‘Cupboard’? Not sure between the different terminology? We will explain everything here so you know exactly which to get.  Let’s look at the Cloud and Cupboard phone systems in more detail.

Cloud-Based Phone System

What is it?

A Cloud-Based system makes calls over the internet rather than through your traditional box but still performs in the same way. NT will be there to help set up your system using our friendly engineering team – all you need are the phones and an internet connection.  In many cases, there is no need to spend lots of money on the On-Premises equivalent which requires expensive software and hardware.


Having a Cloud system is much cheaper as you don’t have to buy any expensive hardware to make calls. You also won’t have to hire any extra staff to maintain it as we will do most of the work for you, including setting it up. The Cloud has a backup and restores system that holds all your electronic records in a secure server, so if a disaster strikes you can change the location and connect back to your system like nothing had ever happened. You can create a perfect and personalised system for everything your business may need.

It’s also really easy to add new users to the system and you’ll know exactly how much an extra user will cost. While ‘Cupboard’ phone systems typically limit the users permitted per system, with cloud based systems there are no upper limits to the number of users you can have.  This is ideal for growing businesses who may expand faster than anticipated. It’s also easy to add or remove users during busy or quiet times to keep costs low.

Managing your telecoms is simple as it can all be done from one location and it is all on the same system. You can make changes using a web-based portal quicker and more efficiently as well as access reports and recordings. All-in-all, the Cloud system is a fantastic solution for a growing business as it is limitless when it comes to your users.


One disadvantage of the Cloud is the cost of continuously paying for it – think of it as a monthly subscription rather than a one-off price. With an On-Premise system it is going to be expensive but once it has been paid off, the balance will be settled and you won’t have to worry about paying out each month.

Having a continuous monthly cost can add up to be quite expensive. If you want to upgrade your system it could take time as you have to contact your provider and get them to send out someone. Also, you have to rely on your internet speed – and if your internet stops working then you won’t be able to make any calls which may not be ideal for your company. You want zero interference and seamless high-quality calls which means you have to also depend on your internet supplier – if your connection goes down you have to wait for the problem to be fixed. However, one feature of cloud-based systems is that you can divert calls anywhere. So a disaster-recovery plan might include that if your internet goes down, calls are diverted to another location such as a backup phone answering service or home office.

Cloud-Based systems also sometimes lack the high end features of the corresponding On-Premise systems.

Cupboard (On-Premise) Phone System

What is it?

A so-called ‘Cupboard’ phone system is just a normal type of phone system which most companies will use that is connected to a box on your premises – usually in a cupboard (hence the name). You will have to buy all the hardware and software to run it as well as hire maintenance staff to make sure your system runs smoothly. An On-Premise phone system is expensive to buy but once it has been paid there will be few additional costs (a maintenance contract is one way to keep ongoing costs manageable).


In the long run, an On-Premises phone system is going to be cheaper than using Cloud-Based as once it has been paid for, that is it. You can also create a very personalised phone system tailored to your specific needs with typically lots more high end features than Cloud-Based. Additionally, a huge advantage is that there is no need to be reliant on your internet connection so if the internet does go down you can still make those important calls.


When first buying a ‘Cupboard’ type system, including all the hardware and software, it can be expensive. However, with attractive finance options available, this might not be a huge factor.

There’s also time and costs involved in making sure it is all set up properly and everything works correctly – although NT’s team make this a quick and painless process.

Long term, the cost of hiring someone to maintain the system and training them could be an extra expense. NT offer affordable training services that can be beneficial here.

Making calls in a disaster would usually be impossible, especially if your equipment gets damaged in any way .

Finally, unlike the Cloud based systems, if for any reason you are unable to come into work having a Cupboard system won’t allow you to use the system from anywhere else.  This is not  true of IP based systems, which allow calls to be diverted to multiple locations (a feature that is also useful for supporting homeworkers).

Which type of system would work best for your business? Call us on 01623 687750 or email and let us help you decide.