If you have been managing your emails in-house, and are considering Office 365, you may wonder whether it is worthwhile to move your emails to the cloud or keep them on your on-premise Exchange servers. Each option has its pros and cons, but the benefits of migrating to a hosted exchange server far outweigh those of an on-premise exchange server.
The problems associated with an on-premise exchange server are business-threatening, and largely outweigh any potential benefits of this option. Here are some of the reasons you should want to ditch your on-premise exchange servers for your business emails:
1. Prone to cyber-attacks
On-premise exchange servers provide full control over the entire process since the hardware and email platforms are all yours. You get to decide which configuration to implement, the upgrades to make, and any system changes required. But full control of your email systems isn’t enough to protect you against cyber-attacks.
On-premise exchange servers are particularly prone to attacks because security patches take time to arrive. In some cases, they follow in the wake of a major attack, and it might be too late. This was the case when the Wannacry ransomware hit, pulverizing businesses before security patches were released. The vulnerability of in-house email servers also came to the fore after the recent Hafnium zero-day exploit.
But these security threats are not a problem when it comes to a hosted email exchange server, particularly Microsoft 365. Cloud-based exchanges have all the security measures in place, including multi-factor authentication, making them more secure than their on-premise counterparts. If you stick to in-house exchanges, be ready to deal with vulnerabilities.
2. Difficult to scale
In-house exchange servers provide more flexibility since both the exchange and other applications are on the same local network. This allows you to interconnect and integrate them with other IT resources. But such flexibility doesn’t count for much because these systems are quite difficult to scale. If the IT needs of your business change, it would be difficult to scale up or down without incurring substantial expenditure.
If you were to scale up your in-house exchange server, you would need to purchase more hardware and hire more personnel for your IT team. You may also need to allow your existing staff to undergo more training, which will cost time and money. Scaling down would lead to wastefulness as the extra hardware and personnel would be redundant.
But when it comes to Microsoft 365, scaling up or down would be nothing more than a breeze. You won’t need to purchase any additional hardware, and neither would you need extra personnel when you scale up since the managed service provider takes care of everything. It is also much easier since you only pay for the services provided each month. If your needs increase, you simply upgrade to a higher tier and downgrade when your needs go down.
3. Resource intensive
Your on-premise exchange requires lots of resources to keep it in tip-top condition. The efficiency of these in-house systems depends on how much you invest in them. They need regular updating of both software and hardware, appropriate backups and archiving, and reporting, and reconciliation of license counts.
These essential practices require substantial budgeting to accomplish. Purchasing hardware and software, and updating them as required, may accumulate into substantial costs, which may become overwhelming in the long run. Sticking to on-premise exchange means you have always to set aside resources to attend to them, and keep them running smoothly.
The solution would be to migrate to Microsoft 365, which only needs a flat fee for the hosted services every month. You won’t need to upgrade any hardware or software, and neither would you have to worry about licensing.
4. Expensive to run and maintain
If you hope to beat the competition and stay afloat in the business world, you will need to find a way of sparing resources and directing them towards more effective marketing strategies. But with your in-house exchange gobbling up most of your resources, it would be quite difficult to spare and direct some resources to marketing.
With less money and personnel to attend to marketing, because everything else has been sucked in by your on-premise exchange, you will have fewer customers and may fail to attract new ones. As is the case with any hardware, you can expect them to break down at any moment, become obsolete and less efficient, or suffer physical damages. They would then require substantial sums of money to rectify or acquire new infrastructure.
Microsoft 365 would be the best way to go. Running and maintenance costs are out of your hands, as are the burdens of backup and security. It will give you peace of mind, knowing that you won’t have to worry about some hardware suddenly breaking down, and need repair or replacement.
5. High risk of losing data
On-premise exchange may help you manage your email data more easily since everything is within your premises. But employee error, hardware and software breakdowns, and cyber-threats increase the risk of losing your data. It is even worse because continuity isn’t assured in the event of site loss since all your data is in one physical location.
Joining Microsoft 365 on the cloud would ensure the continuity of your business activities. In the event of data loss, or site loss, you can retrieve your data from the cloud, and continue communicating with your clients and vendors as if nothing happened. The business would continue as little effort will be needed to restore your systems even if your hardware and software fail because you can work directly from the cloud.
The drawbacks of on-premise exchange, and the benefits of migrating to the cloud, far outweigh any strengths of these in-house systems. Moving to the cloud-based Microsoft 365 requires a substantial investment, but it is worth the trouble compared to the benefits you would enjoy in the long run. If you need any more information about moving to hosted cloud services, especially Microsoft 365, please contact us.