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, then you are left without a major channel for communication 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-premise (sometimes called self-hosted). Which should you choose?
Advantages of cloud email:
- In most cases, you only pay for the number of email boxes you need, scaling up quickly as needed.
- 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.
- You can take advantage of economies of scale, even if you are a small company.
- You do not have to purchase servers, which can be a substantial up-front cost, or pay for power and space.
- You only have to pay one bill, not several. This streamlines things and saves time for A/P.
- Major cloud providers are seldom targeted by email spoof attacks which can get your domain blacklisted as a source of spam.
- Cloud email providers have dedicated security teams and will also take care of domain blacklisting if it does happen.
- It is generally cheaper to purchase more space as needed. With your server, you may have upgrade and add new hard drives physically. As email volume increases, along with the size of messages, email can take up a surprising amount of server space.
- 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, it is cheaper to add users to a cloud email package than to licensing on the software you "own."
- 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.
- Your email data is often backed up on the cloud servers unless you explicitly delete it, which can be very handy if you suddenly realize you need a "paper trail" for some reason.
Advantages of self-hosting:
- It can be cheaper after the initial investment in servers- no external hosting or management fees.
- You have complete control over the servers and environment. In some cloud environments, you may not be allowed to change some of the configuration settings.
- Performance can be higher as there is less latency. However, some cloud providers these days offer much greater performance and more features. Also, when connecting from a mobile device, it seldom makes a difference.
- As you do not need an entire server for email, you may be sharing with other companies that can be bad neighbors. Or, your email is on the same server as everything else, possibly opening a backdoor into your files.
- Your email account can't be abruptly suspended.
- Some cloud services charge extra for mobile device access.
- It can sometimes be more accessible to take and keep good backups, which is particularly important if you are involved in an industry with burdensome compliance requirements.
For the vast majority of companies, especially those with only a few employees, it is a shift in cost for a hosted email solution. It is also often more secure, which is better for your company's reputation and the safety and convenience of your customers. If you are looking to move your email (or other functions) to the cloud, then click here for a cloud review.