Should I Move My Exchange Server to The Cloud?

Many businesses today (over)rely on email as the single most important tool in the office. Beyond just communication, it’s fair to state that many teams use it as a tool for document storage, verification of transactions, communication recording and timeline identification.  (I would add that if this is your level of dependence on email, your team might want to explore the features of MS Office 365 through one of our Customer Immersion Experiences.)  Even when it comes to litigation, email discovery and cloud services have become a key to both prosecution and defense.

So why do so many businesses continue to host their own mail server and face the pitfalls of downtime, lost email, data corruption, security breach, spam, hardware replacement and total system failure?  I believe there is still this notion that “if I can see it, it belongs to me and I can protect it.”

Microsoft Exchange Server Security

When I assess IT infrastructure for various companies in and around Austin, I find that many small to mid-size businesses have single servers running their core processes including Microsoft Exchange Server.  These single server deployments are inadvisable from both a security and reliability standpoint.  It’s also the more expensive route, when maintenance costs are considered.

Microsoft’s Small Business Server (SBS) sold many companies into this situation.  It was a simple solution for self-managing IT in many small (up to 25 users) businesses.  However, Exchange Server (included in the SBS product) has a reputation for being one of the most complex products Microsoft has ever produced.  Initial introduction of this product into an office environment could be done with relative ease.  Integration, migration and upgrading could not. Downtime due to security breach, large volumes of spam, limited capacity, performance, lack of redundancy, backup and hardware failure have cost companies millions of dollars over the years.

Want to learn more about protecting your business’ email server? Contact Magnet Solutions Group today!

Outsourcing your email mailboxes WILL reduce your costs. What would I recommend to a business that finds itself in this situation?  I would urge you to evaluate MS Office 365 for business and the Exchange Online services available in the various plans. Microsoft has made their offerings extremely cost effective.  Most migrations from your own Exchange server can be handled easily as part of a migration to Office 365  and you will continue to benefit from all of the bells and whistles Microsoft Exchange has provided you in the past.  Outside of the ease and affordability that Exchange Online being part of the Office 365 package affords, I would now advise Microsoft’s Exchange Online over third party hosted Exchange solutions because of the sheer amount of resources Microsoft has invested in their data centers to meet security and compliance needs. Office 365 and Exchange Online offer both HIPAA and FISMA compliance–meaning medical institutions and any federal government agency can use these solutions.  (It might be worth considering that thousands of ATF agents use Exchange Online when thinking about whether moving your Exchange architecture to the cloud feels ‘safe’.)

Cloud Services Alleviate Email Downtime Cost

The bottom line is that you simply cannot afford to suffer the consequence of email downtime in today’s business environment. You certainly cannot afford the cost associated with security breaches (especially in meeting HIPAA and other Federal regulations).  Loss of content due to poor backup practices could lead to litigation issues.  And incurring the expenses of updating and maintaining on-premise Exchange servers just doesn’t make sense.

If you currently host your own Exchange server…make the move now; the clock is ticking, contact us now!