In-house Exchange or Hosted-Exchange: Top 10 Reality Checks

If your organization (especially small & medium business) decides to establish a messaging & collaboration platform using MS Exchange, rethink before implementing your in-house MS Exchange system. There are a lot more benefits using Hosted Exchange, this below table may not be an elaborate one but includes some of my thoughts which could be your key concerns related to this topic.

In-House Exchange

Hosted Exchange

Huge Initial Investment to start, e.g. buy IT resources starting from hardware, software, recruit expertise, engage contractors & project management team etc. Nominal Fee to start. Most of the time, in a few minutes with small startup fee.
Ongoing expense & increased maintenance cost is a burden. Budgeting is always required with complex financial planning & unclear ballpark Easy prediction of budget with clear roadmaps on Technology upgrades.
It can drag deployment projects due to various reasons, e.g. inefficient project management team, unskilled technical personnel on the field & lack of key management personnel Set of predefined solutions makes life easier. For example, with Shared Server option, you can set up basic email functionality in a few minutes time. For Dedicated Sever, takes perhaps a couple of days to a week before setting up the first mailbox.
It’s always pain in the neck to recruit the subject matter experts in AD, Exchange, SharePoint and other related messaging cross functional skills, especially for small & medium business. Even if you have a specialized person, they might end up doing multi tasking outside their subject matter expert area which kills their productivity & enthusiasm. You forget about hiring. All Microsoft Gold Certified Partners have professionals who are certified by Microsoft in the key area of Messaging & Collaboration. They deal with issues related to Exchange most of the time. No hassle about hiring when specialized personnel leave the organization and no need to go through the succession plans either.
Managing your IT resources dedicated to MS Exchange is always a daunting task. Also, due to frequent patches & virus threats, IT resources need to be vigilant and spend longer hours for patch management, monitoring and eventually, consume exorbitant IT resources. Update, patches and other hot fixes are done as soon as it’s available. Because it’s part of their core services & there are dedicated personnel for the same. So you will be using the latest updates in your messaging system.
Technology keeps upgrading as business requires more & more additions to its e-mail system. For example, wireless email, unified communications, mail Archiving, Presence awareness, Web conferencing etc. So, to enable all these functionalities, you need to recruit more experts and buy IT resources (e.g., additional hardware, software, other tools like management & monitoring purpose). Here the concept is SaaS (“Software as a Service”). So all you need is to buy the service as the business requires.
Here SLA (Service Level Agreement) is not followed strictly, because the attitude is “our own stuff” You can expect quality of service based on both parties agreement in the SLA.
Subsequently, 24x7x365 support is challenging with your IT resources. Because you need additional specialized personnel to span across different shifts 24x7x365 support is usually available with most of the Hosters.
Sometimes, Junk Mail traffic congests your network which can engage multi party technical teams for troubleshooting such as network, AD, Anti Virus & Exchange. Collective effort, but huge productive loss! Most of the Microsoft Certified Gold Partners in the Hosting category comply with state of the art Anti Spam Filter mechanism which prevents unsolicited mails reaching to your user’s mailbox.
So Why Wait? Get Ready for a new day with some providers now offering Hosted Exchange 2007. Choose your Hosted Exchange Partner from the Microsoft site

You can get a good idea of what Hosters provide by checking out the MSExchange.org Exchange Hosting Comparison Chart.

-Shaji Firoz

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