With organizations having to choose between hosted Exchange Servers and Office 365, decision makers are left asking one important question: Which enterprise email solution is best for my company?
When organizations host their own Exchange Server, they are typically doing so in a co-located data center or within their own on-premises facility. Since Exchange is a Microsoft product, businesses can integrate their email services with popular Microsoft collaboration apps such as SharePoint, Outlook, and Lync.
Organizations that host their own Exchange Server must buy their own infrastructure, monitor their services, plan for growth, and manage their Microsoft licenses. Not only does this include Microsoft Exchange licensing, it also involves the Windows Server licensing, any hypervisor licensing, and any licensing involving add-on products — such as two factor authentication.
Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud based version of its popular Office suite, allowing businesses to pick and choose the services that way want to host in the cloud. This integrated experience offloads the tasks of buying, hosting and maintaining your Exchange Servers, Office licenses, and real-time collaboration services.
Office 365 is perfect for businesses who want scale and deploy rapidly. Organizations must simply provide a license for each employee, then system administrators can deploy services to users based on their job descriptions.
Office 365 makes it easy for devices such as tablets, laptops, smartphones and desktop PCs to securely work from the cloud, while also providing features that support internal office communication through cloud collaboration and Skype for Business. Office 365 users can access their emails from the traditional Outlook desktop app, the Outlook Web App (OWA), or the Outlook app that can be downloaded onto your smartphone.
The Case for Hosting Your Own Exchange Server
Organizations that host their own Exchange Server gain the ability to granularly modify their Exchange services to meet the goals of their end users. Having an Exchange Server in your domain could be mandatory, given the requirements of your Line of Business (LOB) apps.
Many organizations have specific industry requirements that dictate that their data cannot be hosted within the public cloud. While industry standards are easing in regards to cloud based services, many organizations elect to host their own Exchange Servers so that they can be sure that they have complete control over the data.
Hosted Exchange could be more suitable for your business because system administrators can select the exact the services needed by an organization. When your IT team manages your enterprise Exchange Server, all downtime associated with e-mail services must be resolved by your IT team or a trusted managed service provider.
The Case for Office 365
Office 365 is managed by Microsoft, which is main driver for enterprises that wish to adopt a SaaS solution over hosting their own Exchange Server. Office 365 utilizes resources available in the Microsoft Cloud, allowing administrators to perform sophisticated tasks such as integrating Office 365 with other popular cloud apps such SalesForce. When your business uses Office 365, Microsoft is responsible for ensuring the uptime and availability of your enterprise email and Office collaboration services.
Since Office 365 is completely managed by Microsoft, infrastructure updates happen seamlessly without any impact to end users. If you suspect that there is an outage, Microsoft provides a dashboard of all its cloud services that provides administrators with an up-to-the-minute status of each node in each data center region.
While many businesses are using Office 365 for cloud based email, the Office 365 suite offers interoffice collaboration services such as:
- Instant Messaging: Using Skype for Business, enterprises can instantly offer inter-office communications.
- SharePoint: A cloud-based service that can serve as a secure website that stores, organizes, and shares information with members of your enterprise.
- Real Time Document Collaboration: Using the SaaS version of Microsoft Office, those in your organization can edit documents in real time and share them instantaneously with others.
Office 365 offers several basic collaborative services for free. For example, Office 365 provides each user with 50GB of email storage as well as 1TB of OneDrive storage for each user in your organization.
Choosing between hosting your own Exchange Server and utilizing the new Office 365 platform requires serious thought concerning your enterprise’s daily processes.
The biggest benefit in using Office 365 is the fact that it removes the task of managing an email server within a secured hosting facility, which can save on IT costs. For some businesses, hosting your email services in the cloud may not be feasible due to industry rules and regulations. In this case, Office 365 may not be the best choice.
Furthermore, Hosted Exchange can offer your business more flexibility in the ways that it interacts with your in-house applications. Another motivating factor for hosting your own Exchange Server is that your enterprise will own the hardware that houses your data. For some organizations, having to own and operate your own email services could be a deal breaker for those wanting to migrate into the Office 365 ecosystem.
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