Pros and Cons: Moving Exchange to the Cloud
Cloud computing is the latest operating model in business technology. With cloud technology, businesses need fewer devices and fewer onsite resources, thus streamlining operations. The most commonly outsourced cloud application for businesses is Exchange. Have you considered moving your Exchange server infrastructure into the cloud? It is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of moving Exchange to the cloud as it is not for every organization.
Increased reliability and security: By having fewer machines to manage, moving Exchange to the cloud means that email will still be accessible with little to no noticeable interruptions.
Reduced costs: In the long-term, most organizations will experience reduced costs due to lessened capital expenditures on servers and lower the cost of operation overall with a reduction in staff need.
Flexibility: With fewer machines to manage, your IT department can have greater flexibility in determining new or improved solutions for the devices your organization actually uses.
Loss of Control: When an organization moves into a cloud environment, a certain degree of control is lost due to the environment being hosted rather than on premise. For example, in a hosted environment certain file types are restricted, such as XML files. Say your organization, a collection agency for example, receives a client report in XML format via email daily. Since XML files are prevented from being received in a shared environment, hosted Exchange might not necessarily be an ideal solution for this organization.
Organizations that have a lot of interdependencies and integrations may also want to avoid hosted Exchange. Integrations like Salesforce and Outlook, for example, will have issues functioning in a shared environment due to its third party nature.
Performance: Highly collaborative environments, such as companies that share a lot of Word documents or Excel files via email, experience reduced performance with hosted Exchange. A file is sent from User 1, routed to the provider, and then routed back to the company to User 2. The addition of a third party slows down delivery of the file and may not give an organization the performance it needs.
Cost: We already mentioned cost as a Pro. It is also a Con – because all environments are unique, moving Exchange to the cloud could prove more or less costly than an on premise solution. An example of hosted Exchange causing additional costs is when resources other than employees, such as conference rooms or projectors, are managed through Exchange. If your organization currently manages these types of resources through Exchange, moving to the cloud could be much more expensive since each resource comes with a set monthly cost.
Increased Bandwidth: Some organizations, especially highly collaborative ones, will need to double or even triple their bandwidth upon moving to hosted Exchange. More megabits can be costly, and unnecessary expense for organizations.
There is also a downside in the case of internet being disabled. With an on premise solution, emails can still be sent and received internally with a LAN. In a hosted environment however, if internet goes down so does all email, internal and external. Many organizations find that they are forced to purchase additional services in order to insure email availability in the case of internet failure.
There are advantages, as well as disadvantages of moving your Exchange server infrastructure to the cloud - depending on the structure of your organization. Before deciding on a solution, perform due diligence to make sure that the disruptions can be accommodated in the short-term and that the solution will benefit your organization in the future.
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