Let’s first look at reasons why you may want to stay with an on-premise / hosted Microsoft Exchange email system.
Advantages of running Microsoft Exchange on-premises for hosted email
1. We keep full control
The hardware and email platform are controlled by us. We decide on the configuration, the upgrades and changes, as well as the timing. The full maintenance is our responsibility, including the installation of updates regularly provided by Microsoft. We decide on the sizing of your mailboxes. We can implement as many services as we want to provide your users with: ActiveSync, Webmail, public folders, transport rules, etc.
2. We get more flexibility for your customisations
In-house Exchange servers offer more flexibility when it comes to the integration of third-party applications. As long as both the Exchange and other application servers are hosted on the same local network, it’s much easier to interconnect them. We can set email for your multifunction printers, notifications for your customer relations management applications, communication to receive faxes through email and more.
3. We control your Exchange data
Our data integrity and longevity depend on us. We decide on the backup timing for your mailbox databases and how the backups are stored or destroyed. Your data is always stored on-premises, whether it’s using online drives, backup tapes or our own remote storage.
Disadvantages of Office 365
1. We give up the administrative control
Because the infrastructure is set for multi-tenancy, we don’t have access to the Office 365 Exchange servers. We cannot configure third-party solutions that include mass mailing of Internet messages or require an installed software component on the Exchange server. We don’t get a root or administrator password for anything.
Office 365 is set for the best security.
With Office 365, you benefit from the most stable environment for your email that includes all innovations and enhanced functionalities as soon as they are released. You are free from paying for initial maintenance and upgrade costs because you pay a flat monthly fee for Office 365 email. However, you lose flexibility when it comes to the integration of third-party applications that require server level connections.
Advantages of Office 365 for email.
1. Get the scalability you need
Some Office 365 offers include email, calendars, and contact management (summary of popular plans available here). You get exactly the same basic features you have on our hosted on-premises Exchange platform with a guaranteed service level. Each user gets 50GB of online email storage that can be synced on smartphones (including BlackBerry devices), tablets, PCs and MACs using ActiveSync. You only purchase email accounts for the number of users you have.
There is no need to overspend to guarantee for future account storage. In the same way, you can also decrease your number of licences freely from one month to another. You can set up the service for a new employee in minutes.
2. Cut out costs
Price flexibility is one of the biggest values of Office 365, because you can get more than just the email service with your subscription.
First, there are different plans to choose from. Second, depending on your needs, you can either choose to have Office Online, or the Office Suite installed on your devices, or both. The Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) can be installed on up to 5 devices (phone, tablet, computer), for each licence. Third, don’t forget that you also have access to other services that you’d pay for if you installed them on-premises. A non-exhaustive list includes SharePoint Online, Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business. Finally, you manage all your services from the same point, which makes life easier for you.
3. Reduce risk of losing your email data
As a cloud provider, Microsoft invests a lot in security so you can have peace on mind for your IT services. You can enable multi-factor authentication for your accounts to harden the access to your email. Microsoft also provides a guarantee against disasters such as power outages, floods, fires, and more, so your business can still carry on, no matter what happens. Cloud providers make sure they have backups to restore data whenever it’s necessary plus we provide the option for more comprehensive backup solutions.
4. Always up to date
With O365, you always have the latest solution for your email. You get access to all the enhancements and innovations for servers and clients as soon as they are released. We can quickly adopt the changes to enhance your productivity. There is no need to plan for a long upgrade, as everything happens seamlessly. Your corporate IT teams aren’t involved in the change.
Disadvantages of running Microsoft Exchange on-premises for hosted email
1. You can lose your data
Since your data is stored on our own hardware, if a large disaster occurs which is greater than our Disaster Recovery Plan, you might lose your email.
2. Hardware and licence costs can increase
our initial investment is not the only cost to run Microsoft Exchange on-premises. Maintaining both the hardware and the application requires resources, and an appropriate budget. Our hardware needs to be refreshed or replaced every few years. Technology evolves and a new version of Exchange sometimes requires different configurations than the previous one. Our administrators taking care of the platform need regular training to keep up with changes in technology. These increased costs would unfortunately would need to be passed on.
3. Security remains a major concern
We are proactive in configuring our network, systems, and Exchange platform against possible threats. However, we realistically understand that we do not have the comparable internal resources that a large company like Microsoft have available on tap. Since security incidents do occur and may have disastrous consequences we feel more comfortable knowing that the dedicated Microsoft Security teams are pro-actively securing your email data.
The reliability and uptime of our in-house Exchange solution cannot be compared to the resource witch Microsoft who can guarantee a 99.99% availability or better. We currently have to take server’s offline for regular maintenance and upgrades.
As we transition all our current hosted email accounts to Office 365, I hope you understand our reasoning and justifications. A summary of the main points are below: