While there’s no denying the significance of communicating in person or on the phone, email should be considered crucial too. It focuses on being timely, affordable, convenient and even goal-oriented for each party. According to a study, a typical employee invests around 2 and a half hours of their day when connecting through email. In modern times where the client, the vendor or the entire workforce may be located on a different continent and multiple time zones have to be taken into account, evidently, email is a necessity.
With an entire industry dedicated to constantly putting out innovative new technology products or services that promise to boost our productiveness – Bluetooth keyboards, outsourced user support and portable scanners – why should there be no key to email productivity? Chances are, there’s definitely something. But, it’s easy to reason how even if there is an answer, in the current economy, stumbling upon a solution that strikes a balance between being productive and cost effective, is nothing short of miraculous. Fortunately, there exists a true miracle. Business services that are “hosted” provide organisations the opportunity to make the most of cutting edge technology while reducing costs, simultaneously. Hosted Exchange steps in as the saviour for email.
What is this Hosted Exchange?
Hosted Exchange, also known as Hosted Email, is basically a server for email exchange that an offsite host provides their consumer. The host, for instance SaneChoice.com will open and maintain a server for emails within its data centre. The portal will be accessible for you to use, once you sign up as a paying client. In most cases, Microsoft Exchange is adopted for use as a platform for business messaging. It has an advanced and powerful combination of email, information sharing and collaboration. Your emails, contacts, tasks, calendars and other documents will be stored centrally at your host’s data centre. By utilising push technologies, you can connect to your data that is being held on the host’s servers.
You have the option to access it via Microsoft Outlook when logged in from a desktop. Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft Exchange and Outlook are not synonymous. Outlook, powered by Exchange, can be used to receive mail, browse contacts and review calendar events. Although any email client can be used with Exchange, the most sophisticated of Outlook’s features can be unlocked through Exchange. If using a web browser, a smartphone or any other internet enabled device, you can connect via Outlook WebAccess. Essentially, with hosted exchange, you would be able to take your email just about anywhere there is internet.
The Issue with Hosting On-Premises
Previously, email was hosted by servers that were located on-premises. While on-premises email hosting allows for a large amount of control and enables you to filter emails which are internal, there are definite drawbacks:
- Cost: A large sum would be marked as capital expenditure in purchasing the hardware and the relevant software licenses required. Operational expenses would include maintenance costs and the salary for IT technicians. There would also be an eventual need to replace the hardware or upgrade it, incurring further costs.
- Time: In acquiring and having to set up the infrastructure plus installing software, you would definitely have to be patient. If you intend to procure a particular set of new servers at the “best” price, there is bound to be lead time.
- Technical Knowledge: A well-trained IT staff that is sufficiently knowledgeable is required for setting up, installing and configuring software. Management of software updates or any changes in configuration are also under their domain.
- Continuity: In case of software or hardware failure, without the resolution of the issue, applications for on-premises solutions remain down. Viruses/malware, natural disasters or power outages can significantly impact your organisation’s productivity.
Why Migrate to Hosted Exchange?
Amongst the number of benefits a Hosted Exchange offers, you should consider the following few:
- Predictable Costs: With events that are unforeseen such as moving to a new facility, power outage or natural disaster, costs of managing on-premises hosting will rise. Plus, an infrastructure can only support a limited number of users. On-premises hosting will add to costs in setting up new servers. On the other hand, in Hosted Exchange, your cost per user will remain fixed during the course of your contract with the host.
- Host’s Expertise: Your host will manage and maintain the servers. Any upgrades and upkeep will not be your concern. Plus, you will be in touch with well-trained support staff, available around the clock to resolve your issues efficiently.
- Deployment: Email services through a hosted alternative are remarkably quick – you can have your exchange up and running within minutes or hours as opposed to weeks or months. Furthermore, when adding any new user, only simple modifications are required within a web-based tool for administrators.
- Data Backup: The host will provide a backup of your emails, allowing you to receive your email without any interruption even if there is a storm or power outage that can impact email and communication functionality.
Imagine foregoing the upfront expenses of hardware/software purchase and skipping the need to install new applications. You would sign up for guaranteed access to your critical data around the clock. Traditionally, Microsoft Exchange provided impressive business functionality that was steeply priced and incurred excessive ongoing costs, but times have changed now and there are several affordable alternatives available. With hosted email, you can definitely take advantage of the excellent collaboration and messaging features particular to Microsoft Exchange. With mobility, email continuity and disaster recovery options, there’s no reason to say no.