Email is the most important tool for business communication and functionality. Gone are the days of small businesses being forced to purchase expensive equipment to get an email service for their company.
Microsoft Exchange has for the longest time been, and still is the primary service used by businesses to provide their employees with email functionality. Granted, there are other email service solutions out there, such as gmail, but exchange continues to reign as the most popular email service.
With today’s technology solutions, you have quite a few options on how you distribute and maintain your company’s emails. For any business owner, the question should be “Which email solution is the best for me?”
There are two most common methods of implementing Exchange:
In-House Exchange and Hosted Exchange.
1. In-House Exchange
While a method of implementing email service that has been around for years, it’s still commonly used in business environments today. This method of Exchange requires the purchase of a server, and the installation of Exchange on said server. The configuration of this is not the simplest and does take some time to get it exactly the way you want. Plus there’s the maintenance of the server and the potential for hardware failure.
Having a dedicated in-house Exchange server tends to be used by larger businesses who have the resources to maintain it. The majority of in-house Exchange solutions are made up of one to two servers with little redundancy, failover, and quite often the Exchange server is the one most often neglected. Unless you are following good battery backup practices, a power outage will eliminate your email functions completely, which disrupts your communications and costs you money. With an out-of-house Exchange server, you can failover to your backup internet access solution and continue your email functionality from that.
The costs of a locally housed solution tend to be much greater than those of a hosted solution. In-house requires at a minimum, x64 bit servers, server licenses, Exchange licenses, CALs, Outlook licenses, antivirus, and administration. All of these licenses and expenses can really add up, so much so that your company might actually be losing money, all because of their in-house Exchange server.
2. Hosted Exchange
This Exchange method is becoming more and more popular in the professional world. Hosted Exchange is a term used to describe a method of Exchange that is housed somewhere else, commonly by a company dedicated to hosted Exchange solutions.
So how does it work? Let’s use Office365, a very popular hosted Exchange solution, as an example. With Office365, to setup Exchange, you merely provide your domain, add licenses, and create emails.
All of the things you would normally be concerned about with an in-house server (maintenance, operating system, etc.) is nonexistent with a hosted Exchange solution.
Everything is housed on Microsoft’s servers, which you can guarantee are heavily maintained and monitored, so down time is low. You even have a wide range of customization with a web enabled Admin console. Hosted Exchange has become such an easy way to provide companies with email, in-house Exchange is becoming much less common than it used to be.
The costs of a hosted Exchange tend to be much lower than those of an in-house solution. The only real expenses are the licenses, to which there are a variety of options, and Outlook subscriptions. Many of these licenses also include a subscription to Office, which lowers your costs even more.
It’s plain to see you have options when it comes to email for your business. Which option to choose? That’s for you to decide.