Mention outsourced email to any IT administrator and chances are one of the first topics to come up is control.
“But then you can’t control where your email is stored, or how it’s kept private and secure,” they might say.
Control is indeed a hard thing to give up. Especially for SMBs, which are often swept along by the ever-changing tides of our fickle economy.
And still, an increasing number of SMBs are adopting cloud email. Why? Because after assessing the risk more thoroughly, it quickly becomes clear that with the right hosted email provider, the actual loss of control will be minimal. And what’s more, this small loss can be more than made up for by huge gains made in other areas, particularly where cost and uptime are concerned.
The real cost of hosted email
Lowers costs between 55% and 92% per month
Studies show that hosted email reduces the per-seat, per-month cost of email by 92% for companies with 10 users, and by 55% for companies with 1,000 users. Not only is this a considerable cost savings, but it shatters the misconception that hosted email is only financially advantageous to smaller companies.
Better budget control
Hosted email offers predictable per-user per-month costs. Come natural disaster, a move to a new facility or whatever, you’ll always know exactly what your monthly costs are.
Lower opportunity costs
Attracting qualified IT staff can be tough for many budget-strapped SMBs. Retaining them can be even tougher. A challenged IT staff will be more motivated to stay, and will better benefit your organization. With hosted email, your IT staff no longer has spend precious time monitoring servers to ensure constant uptime, adding new users or managing accounts. Instead, they can focus on activities that will drive business growth.
24/7 access to expertise
This can be just as beneficial to an SMB as the potential for cost savings—if not more so. The better hosted email providers include 24/7/365 technical support and expertise in managing hosted email and other technologies. Developing this level of expertise would be beyond the budgetary realm of most SMBs.
Data backup to ensure business continuity
If an outage or natural disaster should strike, what would happen to your on-premise system? How long would it be down? Hours? Days? With hosted email, a third party manages the entire backend infrastructure, which minimizes the impacts of outages and, in turn, the loss of email. True, a similar event can also strike your provider, the better ones constantly backup your email so that it can continue to be received uninterrupted until it gets back online. More importantly, even if employees can’t access your facilities for some reason, they’ll still be able to access their email accounts from anywhere, anytime, using a web browser, mobile device or a copy of the software on their home computer.
Fast deployment & scaling
Deployment to hosted email is remarkably quick and usually requires only minor modifications to your existing configurations. Adding new users and managing accounts is even easier and can be done by non-IT staff in minutes (or less). Your organization may experience growing pains, but it won’t be due to your email.
Painless migration & upgrades
The better hosting providers will not only migrate your organization to a hosted platform, but will also provide automatic upgrades. That means less downtime for your organization, less headaches for your IT staff and better productivity for your staff, who will always have access to the most recent and powerful versions.
75% less stress on your internal network
A good hosting provider will also significantly cut down on your network traffic by including powerful anti-virus and anti-spam filtering. This can eliminate unwanted and potentially dangerous email by 75% or more. Employees no longer need to waste time going through spam, plus you save on bandwidth and storage costs, which can be unpredictably expensive for a smaller business.
A good hosting provider will have vastly more secure facilities that what most SMBs could ever hope to have: 24/7/365 monitoring by highly trained personnel, video surveillance, tracking and monitoring tools and multiple employee access points using multi-factor authentication. The better providers will also provide an extra level of assurance with SAS 70 Type II certification to prove it has effective internal controls in place. Plus, good providers will be motivated to continuously dedicate resources to improve security. After all, they have to keep up with the competition.
But back to the matter of “control”.
There’s no getting around it: Going hosted means your email will no longer be stored on-premise. So where exactly will your critical business data be stored? Just ask your hosted email provider. Is its datacenter in a geographically vulnerable location like California, which is exposed to potentially devastating earthquakes—a risk that’s expected to increase over time? Or in a volatile third-world country exposed to geographical, political or social unrest—or worse, all three?(By the way, SherWeb, one of the leading hosted services providers in the world, and a Microsoft hosting partner of the year, has its main datacenter in Quebec, Canada where risks of serious natural or political disasters are very low.)
Making the decision to move to hosted email is a big decision that requires careful analysis, but should not be dismissed out of hand simply due to the perception that in-house email will give you more “control”. Surely your business has more important things to focus on?