Hosted Exchange or Office 365: Which Is Better For Your Business?

When building an office network, most organizations will end up needing to utilize an enterprise email program for their employees. With the choice coming down to either Hosted Exchange Servers or Office 365, you may be wondering: Which enterprise email solution is best for my company?

If you choose to host your own Exchange server, you’ll typically do so in a colocation center (a data center where space, equipment, and bandwidth are available for rent) or even within your own facility. Since the Exchange product belongs to Microsoft, it’s easy for your business to integrate email services with other popular Microsoft collaboration apps such as SharePoint, OutLook, and Lync.

The upfront costs include infrastructure, monitoring, increased costs later on if growth requires it, and the cost of licensing the Microsoft products, including not only Exchange, but also Windows Server, any hypervisor licensing, or any licensing involving add-on products (such as two-factor authentication).

On the other hand, Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud-based version of its popular Office suite. Its biggest benefit includes allowing businesses to pick and choose which services work best for them, without having to install the entire Office suite en masse. This experience integrates and offloads the tasks of buying, hosting, and maintaining your Office licenses, real-time collaboration services, and Exchange Servers.

Which is better for your business? Let’s take a closer look at each option.

The Case for Hosting Your Own Exchange Server

Organizations that host their own Exchange Server gain the ability to modify their Exchange services to meet the goals of their end users. Having an Exchange Server in your domain may be mandatory, depending on the requirements of your LOB, or Line of Business, apps.

Many organizations also have specific industry requirements that dictate their data must be hosted on-site or in a colocation center, rather than online within the cloud. While industry standards in some areas are beginning to ease when it comes to cloud-based services, many organizations still elect to host their own Exchange Servers in order to maintain total control over their data.

System administrators can select the exact the services needed by an organization, which can be very beneficial and may make hosted Exchange the best choice for you. When your IT team manages your enterprise Exchange Server, all downtime associated with e-mail services must be resolved by your IT team or a trusted managed services provider.

The Case for Office 365

Office 365 is managed by Microsoft, which is the main driver for enterprises that wish to adopt a SaaS solution over hosting their own Exchange Server. Office 365 utilizes resources available in the Microsoft Cloud, allowing administrators to perform sophisticated tasks such as integrating Office 365 with other popular cloud apps such SalesForce. When your business uses Office 365, Microsoft is responsible for ensuring the uptime and availability of your enterprise email and Office collaboration services.

Since Office 365 is completely managed by Microsoft, infrastructure updates happen seamlessly, without any impact to end users. If you suspect that there is an outage, Microsoft provides a dashboard of all its cloud services providing administrators with an up to the minute status of each node in each data center region.

While many businesses are using Office 365 for cloud based email, the Office 365 suite offers interoffice collaboration services such as:

  • Instant Messaging — Using Skype for Business, enterprises can instantly offer inter-office communications.
  • SharePoint — A cloud-based service that can serve as a secure website that stores, organizes and shares information with members of your enterprise.
  • Real Time Document Collaboration — Using the SaaS version of Microsoft Office, those in your organization can edit documents in real time and share them instantaneously with others.

Office 365 offers several basic collaborative services for free. For example, Office 365 provides each user with 50GB of email storage as well as 1TB of OneDrive storage for each user in your organization.

Conclusion: Office 365 Is the Better Choice

In most cases, Office 365 will be the best choice for your business. Its biggest benefit is simply that it removes the task of managing an email server within a secured hosting facility, freeing up space within your organization that could be better utilized.

This doesn’t mean that Office 365 is the right choice across the board. Hosted Exchange allows for more flexibility in the way it interacts with your in-house applications, and may be required by some industry regulations. It’s best to schedule an IT assessment in order to understand which choice will most benefit your business from here on out.

Speak With Someone About Managed IT. Speak with BACS Today.

When deciding on how to build the best IT infrastructure to support your growing business, you need to know that your network is in the hands of capable, trusted, experience professionals. That’s where BACS comes in. We provide exceptional service for high-tech clients nationwide out of our home base here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Whether you’re a Silicon Valley startup just getting off the ground or a large enterprise in Boston, we’re here to help you build an IT infrastructure and network that will grow with your company and never let you down. Reach us by phone at (650) 887–4601 or contact us online at any time.

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