Email is one of the largest IT needs for any company, and the last thing you ever want to hear is, "Email is down." When your email servers fail you, you are left without an effective communication channel with your customers. In today's connected world, customers can be highly impatient and expect responses right away, especially during office hours.
Reliable email is vital for all companies in all industries. There are essentially two choices for email provision: Hosted or On-premises. Which should you choose?
Advantages of cloud email:
1. In most cases, you only pay for the number of email boxes you need, scaling up quickly as needed.
2. You do not need an in-house IT person to monitor the email servers 24/7. This may allow you to outsource your IT easily or free up in-house staff to deal with more important things like your customer database.
3. You can take advantage of economies of scale, even if you are a small company.
4. You do not have to purchase servers, which can be a substantial up-front cost, or pay for power and space.
5. Major cloud providers are seldom targeted by email spoof attacks, which can get your domain blacklisted as a spam source.
6. Cloud email providers have dedicated security teams and will also take care of domain blacklisting if it does happen.
7. Hosted email comes with a significant amount of storage per user. You can easily purchase more for the few power users that every company seems to have.
8. You do not have to set up a lot of software, choose between different software packages, etc. You also do not have to pay for software licenses or worry about renewing lots of subscriptions. In many cases, the cost per user is very reasonable compared to licensing fees for in-house solutions.
9. Your email will stay up even if your office network is down, which can be very handy for companies that operate in disaster-prone areas such as hurricane and fire zones.
10. Your email data can be backed up on the cloud servers, which can be very handy if you suddenly realize you need a "paper trail" for some reason.
Advantages of self-hosting:
1. It can be cheaper after the initial investment in servers- no ongoing hosting or management fees.
2. You have complete control over the servers and environment. In most cloud environments, you not be allowed to change some of the configuration settings.
3. If you have a performance problem with email having the server right in your office allows you to be more in control of troubleshooting.
4. If your organization has simple email needs, your email server could run on a physical server you already own.
5. A cloud provider cannot abruptly suspend your email account.
6. It can sometimes be more accessible to take and keep good backups, mainly if you are involved in an industry with burdensome compliance requirements.
7. If you are in a regulated industry with specific requirements for email retention having an in-house server gives you greater flexibility over the backup process.
For most companies, especially those with fewer employees, a hosted email solution is a cost shift. It is also often more secure, which is better for your company's reputation and your customers' safety and convenience. If you are looking to move your email (or other functions) to the cloud, click here for a cloud review.