Once you’ve settled on moving your phone system to the cloud, your next step is to decide which cloud-hosted option you want to move forward with.
(If you’re still trying to figure out if cloud-hosted collaboration is right for you, check out “4 Benefits of Cloud-Hosted Calling” and “Common Problems of Cloud-Hosted Calling,” and then come back here.)
When you’re looking for which option to go with, important things to look for include uptime, security, and support – to name a few.
In the interest of transparency, you should know that The KR Group is a Cisco partner, which means we offer Webex Calling to our customers.
At the end of the day, objectively, we think overall Webex Calling is the best choice, but we’ve also understood why customers have chosen to go with the other options.
What are Cisco Webex, Nextiva, and RingCentral?
The most straightforward answer to this question is they are technology providers who offer cloud-hosted collaboration solutions.
While they all offer this technology, what it looks like with each company is a little different.
Cisco Webex Calling
It has a user-friendly Control Hub where you can configure basic settings and preferences. It also has many features similar to an on-premises PBX system, such as extension numbers, directory-based dialing, hold, transfer, conferencing, and voicemail.
You can make and receive calls through Webex’s desktop and mobile apps. Along with audio, you can also message team members, share content, and host or join video conferences.
Nextiva’s cloud VoIP boasts primarily of its security. It secures their data centers where your collaboration system is hosted with monitoring, biometric checkpoints, and security certificates. Every Nextiva employee is trained on security.
Nextiva also provides real-time network status updates so you can stay informed on any performance lags.
Another feature it frequently highlights is its customer service, which connects you with human engineers to work on solving your problems.
RingCentral designed its cloud-hosted phone system to be flexible and mobile.
Some of RingCentral’s notable features include:
- Switch live calls between desktop and mobile apps with a single tap
- Voicemail transcription
- Track service quality
- View usage
This solution also has audio and video conferencing and messaging capabilities to empower internal and external communication.
Cisco Webex vs Nextiva vs RingCentral
So how do these three options compare when it comes to the features of cloud-hosted calling you care about most?
The five areas most customers are concerned about when it comes to cloud-hosted calling (and choosing which company is right for them) are:
- Phone compatibility
When it comes to looking at those areas of concern, we would rank Webex Calling first, followed by Nextiva, and then RingCentral.
To help you understand that ranking we discuss each area of concern in more detail below.
Security for cloud-hosted collaboration
With your collaboration elsewhere, security becomes imperative, and it should be a top concern for your provider.
All three options have security measures in place to keep their data centers (where your collaboration system is hosted) protected.
One of the ways Webex provides security for your collaboration system is through data encryption.
If an attacker were to make their way onto your network, encryption prevents them from hearing or reading data being transferred. Webex encrypts phone registration, activation, call signaling, voicemail, audio, and video streams to cover multiple areas of your system.
Encryption is even used on the management side for administrative and user interfaces.
Other security features Cisco Webex incorporates are risk-based access policies to secure your users and PIN-lock and remote wipe to secure compromised devices.
Additionally, Webex is IS0 27001 certified. This means a third party has audited Cisco’s data centers and found them to comply with how they manage the security of data including financial information, intellectual property, and employee details.
Nextiva takes an aggressive security stance on their workforce’s side. The company’s engineers continually monitor the network and flag and resolve issues as soon as they appear.
Along with training their engineers on cybersecurity, Nextiva also trains its developers so they have a big-picture idea when creating patches and updates.
As a customer, this means you can count on Nextiva to have your security in mind as they host your collaboration system.
Nextiva’s commitment to cybersecurity is obvious because they also have earned ISO 27001 certification.
RingCentral brags about their seven layers of security and 24/7 platform monitoring.
When it comes to your users, RingCentral provides a single sign-on, providing a central authentication point for secure access.
On the administration sign, your provider or IT department can select and define roles within your company to enforce your company’s unique security policy.
While RingCentral does have some security features, it isn’t as comprehensive as Webex or Nextiva.
According to RingCentral’s website, it deploys its platform across ISO 27001 audited data centers, but it doesn’t specify if the company meets the compliance measures.
It does meet other compliance measures, though, such as SOC 2 Type 2.
Support for cloud-hosted collaboration
When you agree to a cloud-hosted collaboration system, the team that is supporting you is just as important as the solution itself.
Having strong customer service – especially if this is your first time with cloud-hosted collaboration – will support and empower you to make the most of your technology.
Webex, Nextiva, and RingCentral all offer some kind of support, but the quality varies among them.
Support is automatically included in your Webex Calling subscription, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The most common complaint about Cisco TAC is they can be “too techy” in their explanations, and if you’re not familiar with IT terms, you may need to ask for clarification.
One of Nextiva customers’ favorite parts of this manufacturer is the support.
Customers favorably rank Nextiva when it comes to response time, support quality, and peer user community.
They also have an online support “knowledge base” where customers can search for answers to common problems without picking up the phone.
Customer support seems to be one of RingCentral’s weaknesses. In fact, we’ve frequently heard RingCentral customers complain about how difficult it can be to get a hold of their provider. The Better Business Bureau’s website has examples of some of these poor interactions.
On top of that, the time it takes for support to get back to them is longer than what customers want.
Uptime for cloud-hosted collaboration
Uptime refers to how long a data center runs without going offline.
This is measured in “nines.” Four nines, 99.99%, allows 52 minutes and 36 seconds of downtime per year. Five nines, 99.999%, allows up to 5 minutes and 15 seconds of downtime per year.
When your collaboration system is hosted on the data center of your provider, uptime is important because it means how consistently you can access your phone capabilities.
Even an hour’s delay in making an important phone call could impact your business’s productivity and profitability.
For 2019, Webex is at the bottom of the pack for uptime and only claims four nines (99.99%) of availability.
However, this is a result of a significant outage in October 2019 where Cisco’s network was offline long enough to impact their uptime rating.
Nextiva and RingCentral
Both of Cisco Webex’s competitors fared better with uptime. In 2019, Nextiva and RingCentral maintained five nines (99.999%) of availability.
Phone compatibility for cloud-hosted collaboration
One of the benefits of cloud-hosted collaboration is it isn’t necessary to use desk phones. The app on a desktop or mobile device offers the same function.
However, many employees still rely on desk phones, and they remain a staple in many businesses.
If you know you’ll need desk phones, compatibility is likely a big consideration in your decision
One of the biggest issues with Webex Calling is your phone options are limited to the 6800, 7800, and 8800 series, as well as Webex’s video devices. The benefit is that you are able to deal with a single vendor whether the problem is with the phone or the service, and the support experience is streamlined.
Not only is Webex Calling incompatible with other brands of phones, but it’s not compatible with all of Cisco’s phones.
With Webex Calling, there is a greater chance than with Nextiva or RingCentral that you’ll need to buy new handsets if you’re switching providers or even from on-premises collaboration to the cloud.
Nextiva has a wider range of phones it is compatible with, including Cisco phones.
This gives you the ability to choose from a broader array of phones and have a possibility of your existing desk phones working with your solution.
RingCentral is similar to Nextiva in that there are also multiple manufacturers of phones it is compatible with.
While some of the options overlap with Nextiva, there are some it is compatible with that Nextiva isn’t and vice versa.
Cost for cloud-hosted collaboration
For many customers, the aspect they’re most concerned about is cost and how a cloud-hosted collaboration system will fit into their budget.
Each option has a different pricing breakdown, but in general, they’re relatively similar.
Keep in mind these costs don’t include desk phones. If you end up needing new desk phones, regardless of the solution you choose, it will increase your total cost.
Webex Calling offers two plans:
- Enterprise agreements are based on “knowledge workers” or employees who require access to Webex Calling features. These licenses cost $20.50 per user per month and come in a minimum package of 250 users.
- Named user agreements give all of your employees some level of Webex Calling capabilities. These licenses cost between $12.75 and $19.75 per user per month.
In addition to the cost per user, with Webex Calling you’ll still need to find a voice provider.
Cisco’s preferred media partner is IntelePeer, and even though they have a tight integration, this service is still separate. This means you’ll receive a separate bill for $8.95 every month.
Nextiva gives its users three plans to choose from:
- Basic plan for $20 per month per user
- Pro plan for $25 per month per user
- Enterprise plan for $30 per month per user
These plans have different features for each tier. However, the most notable one is the Nextiva App is only available with pro and enterprise licenses.
All of three plans include VoIP services in a single bill.
RingCentral offers four different plans:
- Essentials plan for $19.99 per month per user
- Standard plan for $24.99 per month per user
- Premium plan for $34.99 per month per user
- Enterprise plan for $49.99 per month per user
Other than the Essentials Plan, all of these options have voice, messaging, and video features. Other features, like how many participants can be in one meeting, vary depending on the tier you choose.
Like Nextiva, RingCentral’s prices include VoIP services.
Choosing your cloud-hosted collaboration provider
When it comes to choosing a cloud-hosted collaboration system, we think Cisco Webex Calling is the best among the three.
Webex Calling has strong security measures, great customer service, and is within range for pricing.
Phone compatibility is its biggest shortcoming. But, if you don’t already have compatible phones and don’t have the budget to purchase them, you can use desktops or mobile devices instead of a desk phone.
Nextiva is a close runner-up in the cloud-hosted collaboration options. It also has a strong security system, great customer service, and fair pricing. When phone compatibility is an issue, it often is the best choice because it has more compatibility options.
RingCentral is our last choice out of these three. It is inferior when it comes to security and customer support, which are two top concerns for cloud-hosted collaboration customers.
When it comes to your company’s decision on whom to pick for cloud-hosted calling, in most cases we think your collaboration needs will be met with Webex Calling.
For more information about this option, you can download our free infographic.