As any IT guy or small business owner will tell you, if there’s one system keeping them up at night, it’s the corporate mail server(s). We have clients with 15-20 servers that tell us the “system” or “network” is down when the email server is off-line! Today, email is “the system” for most businesses. This is how many companies interface with their clients, process orders, send invoices, etc. Email is a highly visible, system in businesses today.
As important as the email system is, most small and medium business owners do not understand the complexities of hosting their own on-premise email server.
Some of the responsibilities your IT guy is managing include:
· Server Hardware Upgrades (every 3-5 years)
· Anti-Virus Management
· Anti-SPAM Management
· Maintaining Your Company’s Email and IP “Reputation”
· Regular Email System Software Upgrades
· Server Maintenance
· Security Patching
· Backup of Mail Messages
· Email Archive Management
· Support Related to Failed Email Delivery
· Firewall Management
· Electronic Discovery for Litigation
· Disaster Recovery Planning for the Email System
In addition, many small businesses are running their on-premise mail server within an office environment. Offices are subject to Internet outages, intermittent power issues, heating/cooling issues and a general lack of security. Anyone of these can adversely impact your corporate email system. In short, an office environment is the wrong place for a critical system like your business email.
For small and medium businesses, there are excellent, highly reliable options for hosted email today. Ascendant Technologies’ recommendation for small and medium businesses is currently Microsoft’s Office 365. In one service, for one monthly fee, Microsoft will handle all aspects of your corporate email. Office 365 mailbox pricing starts as low as $4.00 per user/per month. That’s an outstanding business value!
If you are a larger company and you’re wondering how to you decide if hosting your own email system still makes sense? Use our general guidelines:
1. Do you have 200+ users who need email? Office 365 can easily handle thousands of email users, but many companies find the monthly/annual costs to be prohibitive at this scale.
2. Do you have any corporate compliance or legal requirements requiring you to manage your own email?
3. Do you have an in-house IT staff or IT vendor who will manage your email?
4. Do you have access to a quality data room with proper power, cooling and redundancy to insure your mail systems continue to run?
Most smaller companies will benefit from letting Microsoft manage their email services. If any of the of the above applies, managing your own mail system may still make sense when comparing the monthly costs to Office 365 email hosting.