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Your jargon-busting guide to cloud computing and telephony terms

Your jargon-busting guide to cloud computing and telephony terms

Onecom , , ,

Public, private, hybrid, multi, VOIP, SIP… there aren’t many developments in the technology world that have generated quite as much jargon as the Cloud.

Now that around 78% of UK businesses have adopted at least one cloud-based platform or service, it’s important to understand what these terms mean and what the various forms of cloud can do for your business.

Here goes…

Public cloud

Public clouds are what most people imagine when they hear the term 'cloud computing'. A public cloud is a shared network which exists on the premises of your cloud provider (such as Onecom). Even though you’re using a ‘shared’ space to store your data, your data and applications remain hidden from other cloud customers.

You will typically have access to your information in a public cloud on a self-service basis through a portal that you will log into, like a web browser.

Private cloud

Private clouds can contain data, software and applications only accessible by you – one single organisation. They're tightly controlled and highly customisable and you can tailor the environment very closely to your needs, to save costs.

They don't necessarily need to be located in your workplace either – private clouds can exist off-site in third party data centres.

Hybrid cloud

Some businesses may not be keen to move all systems and data across to a public cloud, which is why hybrid clouds (a mix of both public and private-based clouds) remain popular. You can use the private cloud to process information securely and the public cloud for hosting publicly available data and share large amounts of resources. This way, your business can enjoy faster data transfer whilst having increased privacy for the areas needed.

Multi cloud

Multi cloud is when you take advantage of more than one cloud service. A multi-cloud environment could be all private, all public or a combination of both.

You might use a multi-cloud environment to distribute computing resources, store more data or if you want to reduce the risk of downtime and data loss.

Our Onecom OneCloud platform is multi cloud at its best. It’s a single space where you can access and manage all of your technology solutions – from cloud telephony to collaboration tools and cloud contact centre solutions.

Download our complete guide to MultiCloud here.

Cloud service Models

Software as a Service

Software as a Service or SaaS is a cloud service model that allows you to access software applications hosted over the internet using your provider’s browser. Software is typically licensed on a subscription basis and then hosted from a central base.

Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS delivers IT infrastructure over the internet. Your computer power and disk space are accessed through a private network which provides hardware, memory, data storage and network connectivity.

IaaS works on a pay-as-you-go basis so that you’re only paying for what you’re using.

Platform as a Service

PaaS is a combination of SaaS and IaaS where you rent the hardware, operating systems, storage and network as well as the servers and applications. It allows you to have more control over your computing and allows developers to create web or mobile apps and to customise the IT infrastructure to suit your needs.

Depending on your business requirements, you may just use one of these or a combination of all three. Go to our Business Cloud Solutions page for more information.


When a company expands beyond a single location, it needs a geographically large network to connect all of those offices. That network is what we call the WAN – Wide Area Network.

SD-WAN (Software Defined – Wide Area Networking) refers to the use of software to control network connectivity and traffic across the WAN using the most efficient routes.

SD-WAN is designed to fully support applications hosted in public or private clouds.

It can enable you to manage your entire extended network, regardless of location – which might be multiple offices or remote workers’ devices. Think of it a bit like a personal Wi-Fi router that connects your entire organisation and all of your locations. If you need to add a new device, you can just plug it in (remotely), and all your network systems and protocols will be fully loaded and ready to go.


VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is an internet-based call system. This technology is flexible, secure and has in-built disaster recovery to ensure you can connect to your telephony system no matter where you’re working from. As long as you have access to a computer or smart device and Wi-Fi or 4G/5G, you’re connected.

Better still, it can be customised entirely around your business needs – for instance by directing calls to wherever staff happen to be when the phone rings.

It’s ideal for supporting your remote or hybrid workforce, where staff can take calls as if they were sat at their desk in the office. All without costly call forwarding to mobile phones.


Session Initiation Protocol or SIP for short is a type of technology that lets you make calls over the internet.

It works by sending messages from one SIP address to another. These messages are typically voice calls, however it can also power video calling and instant messaging.

A traditional phone system consists of these three parts:

  • PBX (Private Branch Exchange) - your on-premises system that manages your calls
  • PRI (Primary Rate Interface) lines - lines that connect calls to the PSTN
  • PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network): the network that routes calls to their destination

SIP calling is much more efficient than traditional phone systems, as it removes the need for PRI lines. A SIP trunk (a phone line that uses the SIP protocol) is installed over your internet connection using the cloud. It then uses this internet connection to connect your PBX to the PSTN.

To put it simply, SIP uses the cloud to combine voice and data into one network.

If you’d like any further information about these terms or if you require a business cloud solution for your business, get in touch with our team.