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Email is critical for small and large businesses alike and 24/7 secure access is essential. When it comes to managing and storing your emails, there are two basic options: cloud-hosted and in-house. Which suits your operations best will depend on a whole host of factors.

In this article, we’ll examine the pros and cons of cloud-based Office 365 and in-house Exchange servers when it comes to email for business. With this information, you should be able to make an informed, beneficial decision for your company.

Email for business: Office 365

office 365 for emails

Let’s start with Office 365, an incredibly powerful suite of cloud-based tools that has fast become the preferred method of storing and managing email among businesses.

Benefits of Office 365

Here are some of the advantages of this cloud-based software.

Office 365 is affordable – especially for small businesses

If you pick Office 365 as your email management program, you won’t need to invest in a physical server, additional software, or support. This makes Office 365 the more affordable option, particularly for small business owners.

What’s more, depending on the specific needs of your company, Office 365 allows you to pick from a range of plans and price points. That means you don’t have to pay for functionalities you don’t need, again cutting costs.

Office 365 is scalable

If you plan on expanding the size of your business or if you suddenly need fewer resources, Office 365 makes it easy to adjust your service. You only pay for the accounts you need and increasing or decreasing that number is fast and straightforward.

Office 365 is low maintenance

Hosting parts of your business’s infrastructure – in this case email – on the cloud greatly reduces your maintenance responsibilities. The email service provided by Office 365 is monitored, managed, and maintained by Microsoft, which means near 100 per cent uptime with no effort on your part.

Plus, Office 365 delivers something called geographical redundancy. This means that your emails are hosted on a number of servers in separate locations, so if one goes down or experiences a power outage or natural disaster, one of the other servers will fill its place.

Office 365 is easy to keep up-to-date

When you use Office 365, you know you are using the latest, most secure version of the software available. Updates are implemented automatically and won’t disrupt employees or result in downtime.

Drawbacks of Office 365

Office 365 sounds great so far, but there are a couple of drawbacks to throw into the mix.

Office 365 requires an involved migration

If your business has used an in-house server for the last few years, making the switch to a cloud-based email solution will require an extensive migration – and this can take time to complete. To ensure a smooth, successful transition, it’s vital to have quality IT support on your side.

Office 365 doesn’t offer the same level of control

Here’s something important to keep in mind: if you do switch to Office 365, you are losing some control over the security of your business’s data. Customisation options are limited, and, at the end of the day, it’s Microsoft that decides what does and doesn’t end up on their servers.

Email for business: in-house Exchange server

email server

If you’ve been in business for a while now, you are probably more familiar with in-house email infrastructure. Let’s see how this tried-and-true technology stacks up against Office 365.

Benefits of in-house Exchange servers

Why does an in-house Exchange server remain a popular choice among business owners in the age of cloud computing? Here are some of the key advantages.

In-house Exchange servers give you full control over data security

Security is of paramount importance for your business, and, as email becomes one of the most common points of entry for cybercriminals, protecting your email server is crucial. To do this, you will need robust antimalware software and a professional-grade email filter. Opting for an in-house Exchange server gives you complete control over the security tools you use.

In-house Exchange servers may benefit larger companies

If your company has upwards of 100 email users and a fully-staffed IT department, an in-house Exchange server may be the best option. Your IT team are ready to deal with any issues that arise. Plus, if they have the right skills and expertise, they could take advantage of the high level of customisability that comes with an in-house server.

Drawbacks of in-house Exchange servers

Now, let’s discuss the major disadvantages of in-house Exchange servers.

In-house Exchange servers can be costly

Cost is often a deciding factor when weighing up the pros and cons of in-house vs cloud-based infrastructure. And, the truth is, in-house solutions usually cost more.

First, you’ll need to purchase the server itself (the cost of which will depend on the number of email users) and the software. Ongoing expenses include things like user licensing, backups, security software subscriptions, maintenance, and recovery tools. Finally, don’t forget that your in-house server will use up power, so it’s worth considering how that might affect your business’s electricity bill.

In-house Exchange servers are not as dependable

In-house servers require a consistent supply of power and internet to function. Even if your IT team is meticulous in their maintenance routine, 100 per cent uptime is still unlikely.

Which email solution is right for you?

The answer to this question boils down to your company’s needs.

Smaller businesses with a limited budget will probably benefit from migrating to Office 365. It’s easy to use, secure, and requires little-to-no maintenance.

On the other hand, if full control over your data is the top priority, an in-house Exchange solution is probably the right choice.

Implement your email solution today

Whether you’ve decided on Office 365 or an in-house server – or if you are still unsure which is right for you – our team can assist. We’ve helped many businesses implement an email setup that suits their specific needs and budget. Get in contact today on 1300 553 166 or fill out the form on this page and we can help you achieve your ideal email for business solution.

or fill in our online enquiry form today to set up an appointment with a local IT Support technician