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UC vs. UCaaS Comparison

Why bother migrating a phone system to the cloud that has cost your team handsomely to build and support?

You’ve got to have real, tangible “you can take that to the bank” reasons to consider replacing your phone system.

What are the differences between a UC (unified communication) and UCaaS (unified communication as a service) system, and how do they stack up?

Differences between UC vs. UCaaS

But before we proceed, let’s define the difference between an on-premises or Unified Communications (UC) system and a cloud-based UCaaS (unified communication system) phone system.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud-based iteration of UC that offloads installation and IT support to the service provider. This approach allows businesses to access advanced communication tools with minimal initial barriers and remote accessibility.

The primary distinction between UC and UCaaS lies in control and ease of use. UC, particularly on-premises versions, offers complete company control but requires handling everything from hardware setup to security, necessitating an IT team. UCaaS focuses on simplicity, with the provider managing technical aspects, freeing the company to concentrate on its core functions.

UC vs. UCaaS Comparison

Unified Communications (UC) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) are both crucial in the modern workplace, providing comprehensive communication and collaboration solutions. However, they have distinct differences, mainly in terms of deployment, management, and scalability. Here’s a comparison based on key features:

Unified Communication (UC)

Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS)

UC typically refers to the on-premises deployment of communication and collaboration tools. It requires an IT team to purchase, install, and maintain the necessary hardware and software infrastructure, including hardware and software lifecycle upgrades and security patches.

Deployment Model:

Unified Communication Image

UCaaS is delivered as a cloud-based service by a provider. It offloads the need for on-premises hardware, as the infrastructure and services are hosted in the provider’s data centers. This model offers a hands-off approach for businesses regarding technical management.

UC often involves significant upfront investment in hardware and software, plus ongoing costs for maintenance, staff, and upgrades.

Cost & Investment:

UCaaS operates on a subscription model, usually with a predictable monthly fee per user, which covers the service, maintenance, and upgrades, helping organizations shift from CapEx to OpEx.

UC can be less flexible and more challenging to scale quickly due to the need for physical infrastructure adjustments. It can require additional investment to expand capacity or add features.

Scalability and Flexibility:

Unified Communication Image

UCaaS offers easy scalability and flexibility, allowing businesses to add or remove users and features as needed without significant infrastructure changes.

UC requires the organization to handle maintenance, updates, and security, which can be resource-intensive.

Maintenance and Upgrades:

UCaaS providers manage maintenance, updates, and security, ensuring the system is up-to-date and reducing the IT burden on the organization. It also allows for adding or removing users and services as needed without significant capital investment.

UC‘s reliability heavily depends on the organization’s IT infrastructure and can be impacted by local issues. Its disaster recovery capabilities depend on your internal infrastructure and the IT team’s ability to respond to unexpected problems.

Reliability and Availability:

Unified Communication Image

UCaaS providers typically offer built-in data centers’ redundancy and disaster recovery services, with SLAs guaranteeing uptime, making it easier for businesses to achieve high availability without the complexity.

UC can offer remote access, but it might require additional configuration and VPNs, depending on the setup.

Mobility and Remote Access:

UCaaS is designed for mobility, providing seamless access to communication and collaboration tools from anywhere with an internet connection, supporting a more flexible and remote workforce.

UC systems might face challenges in integrating with new technologies or external systems, depending on the architecture and compatibility.

Integration and Innovation:

Unified Communication Image

UCaaS often provides robust APIs and pre-built integrations with other cloud services and applications, facilitating easier integration with business processes and encouraging innovation.

UC security is managed in-house, requiring the organization to continuously invest in and update its security measures to protect against evolving threats.


UCaaS providers typically offer robust, built-in security features such as data encryption using protocols like TLS (Transport Layer Security) to protect against eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks.

UCaaS has become increasingly popular for its ease of use, scalability, and lower upfront costs, particularly suitable for small to medium-sized businesses or organizations looking for rapid deployment and minimal on-premises footprint.

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Curious about the cloud?

Packet Fusion’s UCaaS migration services deliver a path to the cloud with a suitable vendor at the right price to fit your budget. Having converted more than 90 UC systems to the cloud, we have the experience to help you reimagine how to leverage your communication system well beyond its original functionality. Let us help you get there.

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