Cloud, Hosted Exchange or On-premises?

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Hosted Microsoft Exchange
Cloud, Hosted Exchange or On-premises?

Email remains the communication tool of choice for the vast majority of organisations. While other forms, such as instant messaging, social networking and chat, are playing an increasingly important part in work-life across businesses and organisations, email continues to see strong – and growing – use.

Microsoft Exchange has been at the heart of enterprise communications since 1996. The calendaring and mail server, developed by Microsoft, has grown into the most robust platform of its kind. It is the engine that drives communications around the world.” These are the words with which we began our eBook published in 2016, The Battle of Business Email, and comparing the Exchange platforms of hosted, cloud with Office 365, and on-premises.

As a provider of Exchange across all three deployment models, we’re able to remain neutral across the spectrum of Exchange platforms, while concluding in 2016, that hosted was the most viable email platform option for most organisations.

However, the last two years have seen significant advances in technology and a paradigm shift to the cloud, and we now believe that Exchange Online and Office 365 is the most efficient and cost-effective email platform for the majority of organisations.

We’ve therefore produced a second edition of The Battle of Business Email (August 2018). Microsoft Office 365 P-TSP (Partner Technology Solutions Professional), Cobweb’s Oliver Moazzezi summarizes the features and benefits of the different Exchange options available, with the eBook also looking at data residency, compliance and availability, and security issues and requirements.

The years 2016-2018 have seen a marked change in the attitude to security in the cloud. In 2016, while we pointed out that most organisations (99 percent) had never experienced a breach of security when using a cloud service, we also reported that 70 percent of organisations expressed concerns about data security in the cloud, while 61 percent saw data privacy as an inhibitor to moving to the cloud (Cloud Industry Forum’s (CIF) UK Cloud Adoption Snapshot for 2016).

Even in January 2016, however, Computerworld was posting, “Gartner predicts that by 2018 government agencies will be citing security as a reason to move to public cloud rather than to stay away from it,” and, “Neville Cannon, research director at Gartner, said public sector organisations will start to realise that most major cloud providers are better equipped to deal with security threats than they are.”

Cobweb Hosted Exchange customer, Arlington Automotive, moved their 138 mailboxes to Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium in 2017, and Bill Penfold, Arlington Group IT Manager, says, “Cloud is the way to go – as increasingly recognised across the company. The general consensus now is that cloud is a trusted environment.”

The opening of Microsoft data centres in the UK (in London, Durham, and Cardiff) also meast that UK data residency requirements can now be met through the Office 365 option.

For some enterprise organisations with infrastructure in place and resource to keep it updated, and for those with limited internet connectivity, an on-premises deployment may still be the best option. For those lacking the necessary infrastructure or the finance to install a new or upgraded solution – and this will be particularly applicable to SMBs, and new starters – Exchange Online as a standalone or Office 365 is definitely the way to go. In addition, many businesses on Hosted Exchange don’t realise that they’re already in the cloud, and gaining from the flexibility and price benefits of cloud. And for these businesses, we believe that a move to Office 365 is the next natural step.

The focus of the August edition of the whitepaper is on the benefits of Exchange Online and Office 365 specifically.

Oliver Moazzezi: “Microsoft is still making investments in on-premises versions of their existing products. However, with the Cloud First, Mobile First direction in which Microsoft is heading, >we can already see features being omitted from these box release products.

“Microsoft Exchange hosting providers still deliver a high quality service, and remain as enthusiastic as ever to deliver these services to your business. But, with Microsoft’s ‘Cloud First, Mobile First’ and ‘Intelligent Cloud’ mantras, new features and capabilities will appear in Office 365 first, and with only a certain percentage coming to on-premises or hosted customers.

Office 365 is the premier cloud solution available for businesses today. It provides class leading services such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business with advanced security and reporting features.

“When making a decision to move to the cloud you should now only consider, why not Office 365?”

However, if you read the eBook and feel that your business may be better suited to a different deployment model, we have the resources available to be able to support you.

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