For most of my career I’ve worked at large corporates. Large corporate’s typically have a sizable number of IT employees that keep everything running, including email. In my personal experience the email system they all used was Microsoft Exchange, in-house. For a large company, running such a complex environment internally can make sense, though even the argument for them is weakening.
After starting my journey with Kloud IT, it surprises me how many SME’s I’ve seen that are running complex environments like MS Exchange, on premise. Stories are common of server failure, lack of virus protection, spam issues, slow speed and seriously out-dated infrastructure.
Everything will seem fine up until the point where you have a major failure. Then it’s all panic stations and you’re left wondering how you got to where you are. Putting aside all of the risks, it no longer even makes economic sense.
Early on in my career the word ‘cloud’ was not even in the vocabulary of IT employees. Today the landscape has changed dramatically. Cloud email, or hosted email, has certainly matured and is your best option as an SME. I’m going to list the major reasons why I think this is the case.
Given that most SME’s don’t have a large team of IT personnel, if any, server maintenance and security is usually out-sourced. Now don’t get me wrong, there are certainly capable and honest IT service providers (like us of course!) that do their best to keep your servers secure and up to date.
But when you compare it to your other option, cloud email, it’s unlikely they can keep up. These guys run large data centres and are specialists in their field with thousands of clients. You can be sure that the level of security and management of their servers is orders of magnitudes higher than what any SME can afford, or justify.
The great thing about cloud providers is that you never have to worry about scaling up (or down). You simply add or remove mailboxes as you need and they take care of the infrastructure. You only pay for what you use.
There’s no chance of being left with underutilised expensive hardware, or having to replace hardware that is suddenly incapable of handling your growth.
Cloud email providers have come a long way and the market is very competitive. Dare I say, it’s almost become a commodity and pricing is very attractive. When you consider this against the cost of purchasing hardware, software licencing and the on-going cost of maintenance, the economics are clearly in favour of a cloud solution.
Most large cloud email providers have up-time SLA’s (service level agreement) of 99.99% or better. With the typical single server setup I’ve seen in most SME’s, they could never achieve this level of up time. Monthly patching and maintenance alone would take the server offline for many hours a year.
The cloud provides reliability through scale and the redundancy designed into their large infrastructure.
Spam & Virus’s
Nobody likes spam, or viruses. I remember many years ago when spam was all too common. Even on the largest email platforms of the day, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail, spam consumed inboxes. It was simply accepted as the way things were.
Today, I can’t even remember the last time I got a spam email. Spam filtering software has gotten much better and most cloud email providers have deployed sophisticated spam filtering.
However when you host your own mail servers, spam filtering is left up to you. Most of the in-house setups I have seen didn’t have any spam filtering what so ever and those that did were generally fairly poor and lacked functionality (whitelisting etc.).
There’s many more reasons why a cloud inbox makes sense, but I hope the above gives you an idea. With Windows 2003 server recently becoming end of life, those still running these servers should especially consider the switch.