Is your Mail an Innie or an Outie?
One of the biggest questions we get is email service. Should we get an email server, should we have it hosted, and if so, with who?
When starting a business, picking the right email system is crucial. There is not one simple answer. However, here are thoughts comparing hosted (cloud) and in-house email.
Hosted email has been around for decades, from the days of AOL and Hotmail to Google and Microsoft offering their own solutions. Many vendors sell Exchange hosted, or their own branded solutions. Over the years of experience, we have utilized and recommend either Office 365 or Google Apps. Their price points run, on average $5/user a month, they give you plenty of storage and have plenty of additions such as file storage and intranet capabilities. When running a smaller business the price point is cheaper than buying a server and having to maintain it. If your workforce is mobile, cloud hosting lends itself very well to a mobile workforce.
However, considerations must be made when choosing a hosted solution. The first is bandwidth of your internet. If you have quite a few people in your office who are using the internet, having them email each other will still send ALL email over the internet and then back. While not huge, if you add in 15+ people, it can start causing some concerns, especially if large attachments are being sent and received. When you start growing over 40-50 users, not only is bandwidth a potential problem, but so is the cost. At 50 users, you are looking at throwing out for $250/month for email.
The other option is keeping your own server. An in house email system has a large initial "lifting" cost as I like to call it. You have to spend money on hardware and software, which, on average can be around $3000. You need to maintain it, and make sure it is backed up, adding to that price. However, these costs do have certain advantages over outsourced mail. The first is you are in control of the server. If there is an outage (and they do happen) with hosted email, you will be in the dark about problems and possible resolution times. Maintaining your own system allows you to setup specific rules and commands that would require you to open tickets up with a hosted email provider, who may deny them. If your internet is down (or if the hosted solution is down), you can still send and receive email internally on server based system. From a business perspective, purchasing the server, can be charged as a capital expense and can be written down as depreciation. Hosted email, it is like renting a house, you cannot receive any benefits for it on the accounting side of your company. Finally, you are in control of your mail. There are no concerns of security or other measures, as you house it all.
At Renascence IT, we have years of experience on many hosted and in house solutions and can work with you on a decision that makes sense for your business and budget. Feel free to contact us with any questions.