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Skype for Business On-Premises Vs Online

Discover the differences between Skype for Business On-Premises and Online with our comprehensive comparison guide.

Skype for Business as a software can be bought in its most basic form from Microsoft directly, without Office 365. However, with Office 365 it can also be upgraded with a variety of features and later integrated with cloud PBX to act as a complete telephony solution at extra costs.

Skype for Business Online is the most basic package offering internal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video calls with instant messaging. This is intended for internal business communication only and its restrictive capabilities make it more relevant to businesses with limited needs. 

Installing Skype for Business in your own business environment can be a tricky and costly exercise. However, cloud technologies can allow for a better alternative solution. This guide will discuss the advantages and disadvantages across the range of Skype for Business packages.


Skype for Business on-premises and online only offer limited forum support with a slow response time from Microsoft.
The advantage of using hosted providers, like VIA, is that you get a financially backed SLA providing support and uptime guarantees.


Microsoft only offers basic forum support and the organisation buying the solution will always have to implement on-premises equipment themselves or through a partner.

VIA UC is a fully managed service meaning that no task is too big or small. Most importantly, VIA deploy and setup Skype for Business in a day, rather than organisations having to do it themselves.


Having servers and technology on-site is increasingly looked upon as an old model. Even though organisations believe they will have more control, this is negated by the large fixed hardware and resource costs that are needed to run your own network. With increased resources come the burden of maintenance, which is made worse by the extended costs required to keep such equipment updated.

With Skype for Business on-premises, network outages would need to maintained by a company system administrator, whereas hosted solutions have their own maintenance team. For example, In the event of a fire, data may be lost due to damage to the systems being stored on the business premises. 

Cloud-based Skype for Business platforms like those from VIA UC benefit from having a secure, redundant data centre with regular backups and ISO security accreditations.

Also, security measures like windows updates, penetration testing and security patches are all handled remotely with a hosted solution.


On-premises networking takes up space and more maintenance than cloud-based systems. Also, it will be more costly due to the price of server purchase and maintenance.

Companies like VIA can invest in advanced data centres and afford to update their server hardware every couple of years to keep their network as fast as possible.

Regarding stability, they may be of similar performance but cloud-based operating has the advantage of remote updates, which would have to be done manually for on-premises UC.

Investing in an on-premises model is costly and risky compared to a hosted solution, where you can deploy VIA UC in a couple of days on a low cost 30-day rolling contract.


Remote working is becoming more and more of the norm in leading businesses. A strong way to collaborate with remote workers through communications is to include them in the company network.

Older on-premises systems are incapable of connecting a remote worker to the communication network running at the office, however, cloud-based technologies, like VIA’s Skype for Business solution, allow the remote worker to be a part of the team even without being in the office. 

Skype for Business Online direct from Microsoft leads to weak collaboration as it has limited features and no PBX integration. So workers would struggle to use this solution remotely. The main drawback with Skype for Business Online is the lack of telephony integration, making external collaboration very difficult.

VIA UC offers dial numbers for 25 countries and 3 data centres in USA, Singapore and Europe to provide a truly global network and ensure a worldwide collaborative communicative workforce. 


Cloud-based technology and hosted Skype for Business alternatives allow for remote workers to be a part of the team wherever they are based. This is not always the case with on-premises solutions.

With Online Skype for Business it is hard to collaborate with your colleagues and work contacts when you cannot call them.

Features: Call Recording

VIA UC offers company-wide fully fledged call recording which is FCA and MIFID II certified. Skype for Business only offers simple manual call recording to record segments of audio during one individual call which is not suitable for larger businesses, especially those with financial regulations.


Other cloud-based Skype for Business services like VIA UC offer additional recording security and a more comprehensive service than Microsoft’s native online and on-premises solutions.

Features: Dialling in and out

If you have a Skype for Business on-premises solution you would need to integrate a PBX and SIP to make it a fully-fledged telephone system. This would, of course, come with extra cost, resource and management, and you could still be stuck with limited functionality compared to a cloud system.

Skype for Business Online is incapable of having dial-in and out features due to its limited functionality, so you can only call members of the internal business.

VIA’s cloud based alternative, VIA UC, adds further features like advanced call routing, Interactive Voice Response and contact centre solutions, such as wallboards. This is a full telephony solution in one package with no hidden extra costs.


Skype for Business Online does not offer dial-in and dial-out functionality, whilst on-premises solutions need extensive hardware and maintenance to achieve this functionality. Hosted Skype for Business can bring advanced calling and routing features in a very quick deployment.

Features: System management

When you install Skype for Business on-premises, you are solely responsible for managing the system. Costs and resource are needed to allow an internal IT professional or third party to install and maintain the system as long as it is live.

On the other hand, VIA UC can be set up remotely without engineers visiting the business, thanks to its ease of use and simplicity. If an organisation did require assistance, in-person setup and training with a trained engineer can be arranged. 


Maintenance for hosted Unified Communication systems can be completely external to the business and don’t need any on-site equipment.

On-premise Skype for Business can be costly to manage and run. Maintenance, updates and repairs need to be undertaken by a onsite engineer. Onsite inefficiencies can be easily solved with hosted solutions like VIA UC.

Skype for Business On-Premises Vs Online - who wins?

Skype for Business Online
On-Premises Skype for Business
VIA UC (Cloud-Based Skype for Business)
Customer Support
Remote Access and Functionality
Remote Updates
Cloud/Hosted Servers
Remote Worker Connectivity
Sector Applications
Contact Centre solutions
Business Call Recording
Advanced Features
Microsoft Office 365 Integration
Dialling in and out/Telephony
Advanced call routing
Interactive Voice Response
Unlimited Online Storage - Call Recording
Business Reports and Analytics


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