Which one makes sense to outsource first out of all the infrastructure components in your organization? I vote for email systems (guess it's based on MS Exchange too). The first benefit which comes into the picture is reduced cost; let the hosting providers carry the headache of the most difficult responsibilities such as operation, keeping the infrastructure up-to-date with latest technologies, customer support, complying various regulations from government, etc.
Away from complexity
Managing e-mail servers needs expertise; if it's Microsoft Exchange Server, the magnitude of complexity is drastic and needs real technical expertise to manage it. Microsoft Exchange is the dominate email server in the market; hence most SMBs prefer this platform due to its usability factors. Good news is that many Exchange hosting providers can consolidate and take care of your organization's entire email infrastructure, hosting, email management, support, etc. So get rid of this unwanted complexity from your business as hosters can take care of single point of failures, reliability and high-availability.
Even in a simple Exchange 2007 deployment, it requires multiple components working together to secure the email system. Figure 1 below might seem complicated, but it represents the basic infrastructure of an email system using Exchange Server 2007.
Outsource! Outsource! Outsource…
Let me list down some of the unavoidable upfront cost when you set up email systems in-house:
- Hardware procurement in the beginning
- Licensing for Windows 2003 and Exchange Servers
- Antivirus/Anti Spam software
- Client Access License (CALs) for Microsoft Outlook
- Spare parts to minimize the lengthy downtime when critical hardware failure
- Additional cost as standby for exchange administrators to be on-call 24x7
The reason for me to yell to outsource is simply because of the above mentioned factors. You can literally avoid all these hassles by outsourcing to a hosting company; enjoy the benefits of reduced cost to maintain an email server with reliable and high available system. You can get this entire guarantee in writing through a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
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