You’ve run your company emails through your Web hosting company or through free services such as Gmail, but it’s just not giving you what you need. Microsoft Exchange is probably a wise alternative, as it’s a software solution that handles email, contacts and calendars for your business. It’s accessible through smartphones, browsers and workstations, so you always have access to your data whenever you need it.
On-site, Hosted or Hybrid?
The latest version of Microsoft Exchange, 2013, supports on-site, hosted and hybrid deployment. On-site Exchange servers work the way any on-site equipment does. You have full control over the hardware and software, but this also means that you have complete responsibility for maintaining the equipment and its security. If you don’t have a huge IT budget, you may not be able to get the equipment or security that you require.
A Microsoft Exchange hosting service should be considered when you want to have at least some of your Exchange servers offsite. This allows you to have your equipment in a facility that’s geared to keep the servers secured, and you can use their bandwidth pipelines instead of upgrading your own Internet connection. Some hosts provide you with dedicated servers for Exchange, while others use cloud-based infrastructures.
Don’t jump on the first Exchange server implementation that you see. Carefully consider what you need your email servers to handle. Do you have spikes in traffic around retail holidays? Do you participate in email marketing for your advertisements? Do you need a solution that scales with your business? Go into the hosting hunt with these considerations in mind so you get the perfect server for your business, instead of needing to upgrade or change providers in the middle of your busiest seasons.
Microsoft Exchange Benefits
Microsoft Exchange has a number of features that make it a good choice for medium and large businesses who rely on email for several business endeavors. Its security features are particularly useful if you’re in an industry that deals with medical records and other protected customer data. Its data loss prevention feature actually prevents this type of data from being sent to users who shouldn’t have access to the information. Mobile device policies also help you manage bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and approved smartphones in the workplace.
Microsoft Exchange keeps the data centrally located, so it’s not hard to look for emails that you swear you had sitting around a few weeks ago. The interface is easy to use and it also gives you a way to create collaborations between departments and teams without the use of additional project management software. It also integrates with other Microsoft products, such as SharePoint, making it easy to add to your Windows server if you already rely on these products.
Microsoft Exchange is a solid choice for an enterprise-level email server and gives you the flexibility of choosing whether to host it on your own or go through a hosting service, but either one would be a huge improvement over a free service or an inefficient in-house system.