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Microsoft Exchange in 2017: Onsite or Offsite?

While traditionally, companies have always preferred to host exchange onsite for control and security reasons, today’s services and cloud technology and lower cost options make it a little more appealing and easier to make the decision.  Here are some key points, pros and cons on the differences.

Onsite Exchange Server

Pros

  • You have full control over system (plus backups, security)
  • You are accountable, responsible for your own data, and if there is an issue, have a better idea of when it will be fixed
  • Security and infrastructure is all yours.  Data is backed up and available to people who need it.  Access outside of the company is limited.
  • No limits on number of outgoing email sent per day
  • No monthly costs
  • If internal needs require an unusual configuration, there is no need to negotiate with a hosting company to get it setup

Cons

  • Cost: Licenses and hardware are expensive and likely over 3x the cost of a hosted solution
  • Reliability: External hosting companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a reliable system than a normal company would be able to afford on it’s own
  • Accountability: Instead of running to the server room to check on things, you can contact the host from anywhere you are
  • Security: Depends if your company feels safer from external threats when internally hosted or externally hosted.  The risk is equal for internal threats, and a hosting company will likely have better reliability and backup/recovery process, because they have likely spent the money on a quality infrastructure.

Offsite Hosted Exchange Server

Pros

  • Hosted Exchange Server is getting less expensive now on the cloud.  The going rate of a hosted Exchange Server is $4/user/month, non-Exchange is $1/user/month. You can’t deliver an enterprise service at this price on premise.
  • You don’t have to buy the expensive licenses or hardware
  • Migrating to new Exchange is not your problem nor are the licenses
  • No energy costs
  • Hosted email provides enterprise licenses and updates
  • 24×7 dedicated Exchange staff
  • 24×7 dedicated Windows staff
  • 24×7 dedicated networking staff
  • Dedicated security teams means that even the Fortune 100 can’t match the security of the big providers.
  • Super high reliability datacenters with multi-regional failover.
  • Storage and backups are included in the cost (often at 50GB/user or more!)
  • Smart Hosting is included (this is often $2/user/mo for on premise – so this alone almost pays for switching)
  • Email is a commodity and there is little to no value to be found by running it in house. You have better things to do with your time that are unique to your business. Running email does not leverage your IT value, it just is treading water and busy work.
  • Upgrades, licensing and patching are included.
  • Support is included including escalations all the way to the developers.
  • Just because you have Exchange skills doesn’t mean that everyone on your team does or will in the future. Requiring expensive and increasingly rare Exchange skills to maintain an internal system introduces risk. What if you quit, get promoted, get hit by a bus, etc. Replacing you is unnecessarily more costly because production Exchange support is a requirement. This really makes it more risky in the SMB.
  • No license management.
  • Opex rather than Capex spending.
  • Pricing is directly tied to real usage and no projections or budgeting processes are needed (which are very expensive to do.) And you never need to “buy ahead”, you pay as you go and that is all that there is.
  • Access when offsite doesn’t tax the company network.

Cons

  • No full control over system (backups, security)
  • Limited number of outgoing email per day
  • You have to trust the security and infrastructure of another company
  • Monthly costs
  • You are a middle man
  • When email access goes down, it is out of your control

Any other pointers?  Please leave in the comments section below:

Any other comments or pointers? Please leave in the comments section below:

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