Is email a mission critical application to your business? Here’s an interesting observation. Seventy-five percent of a company’s intellectual property resides in its email or other messaging application versus seventy-five percent of fortune 500 litigation involves email related discovery. An even larger percentage of companies accept email messages as confirmation of transactions.
How important is email to your company?
Email is a means to an end. Essentially email is not actually a product or service you sell, rather a convenient avenue of communication outside the core competency of your business. Rather you internally host or outsource your email, it’s a very necessary infrastructure expense.
If you were to poll your employees today (this minute), I’m betting over 90% of them would consider email as either important or critical in getting their work accomplished.
Microsoft Exchange Server
Ok, your IT staff has recommended Microsoft Exchange Server rather than depending on your ISP for email. I was with one company that had their email shut down for days at a time because their ISP claimed they were sending thousands of emails daily through their servers in violation of their Terms of Service (TOS). They actually weren’t as it was traced to a spam bot, but this took months to resolve. Needless to say, there were a lot of unhappy campers there. First, is your IT staff certified to manage Exchange Server. Clearly, Exchange has the reputation for being one of the most complex servers Microsoft has ever created. Mismanage it and you risk losing everything when it crashes. Mismanage Citrix and it’ll crash too.
What about the cost?
Of course, you’ll have the initial hardware acquisition costs and Exchange licensing fees. Add CALs, anti-virus and anti-spam software, spare parts (PSUs and MOBOs), HR expenses, etc. Typically outsourcing to a managed email service allows you to avoid initial startup as well as ongoing costs. A managed exchange solution is normally significantly more reliable as hosting companies incorporate redundant infrastructure to ensure the highest level of availability. This is normally spelled out in the form of a written SLA, or Service Level Agreement.
Hosting companies are usually better equipped to recover from any number of disasters whereas few companies have the human or hardware resources to quickly restore their data.
Is your company subject to federal regulation concerning the security, management and retention of your email? Complying can be expensive, but company executives and IT staff may be subject to criminal penalties, including prison time, for non-compliance.
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