Should Your Dallas Business Use Exchange Online or an On-Premise Exchange Server?
At one point or another, most small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have grappled with whether to use an on-premise or cloud-based server solution. Many businesses still grapple with this question today. Perhaps your IT department is doing so right now. There are many takes on this divide from industry experts and cybersecurity professionals, often colored by their strong preferences for one solution or the other. For businesses looking for enterprise-wide email services or other server-hosted applications, this decision has significant operational, financial, and practical ramifications.
On-Prem vs Cloud Solutions
Proponents of on-prem server solutions will cite their lower monthly operating costs and non-reliance on an Internet connection for data and system access, as well as the greater control you can access over your hardware and software. However, on-prem solutions also mean the buck stops with the IT department in terms of support, security, and compliance requirements. It's also more difficult to scale up operations quickly and cost-effectively when relying on an on-prem solution.
Cloud-based solution proponents will cite affordability and scalability as key benefits while praising the relative ease of deployment and the management and security services that come with these solutions. Conversely, cloud-based solutions ultimately offer less flexibility to customize based on unique needs. Additionally, because data is now shared with a third-party provider, you not only need to mitigate insider risk and data breaches at your business, those threats exist at the cloud provider as well.
Evaluating Both Alternatives
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to this question. Rather, the best solution is the one that best fits current and projected future needs relative to operation and cost constraints. For example, a mature medium-sized business with little workload variation or need to scale and in-house staff-level server expertise may find an on-prem server deployment the more cost-effective and efficient choice. By contrast, a small but rapidly growing company with a limited IT staff and upfront capital may be better suited for cloud-based services.
No matter what platform your business uses, when evaluating these alternatives, it's important to consider:
- Current and future operational requirements, such as workload, compatibility with existing IT infrastructure, need for customization and need for scalability, among others
- Alignment with long-term strategic business and department goals
- Conformance with existing internal security measures and industry-standard cybersecurity best practices
- Capacity of the solution to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster
- Skills and workload of in-house IT personnel
- Upfront expenses (otherwise known as capital expenses or CapEx)
- Ongoing expenses (operating expenses or OpEx)
- Need for and access to third-party support
- Implementation time and ease
When Choosing an On-Prem Exchange Server Makes Sense
These same considerations are key when deciding between an on-prem Exchange server deployment or Exchange Server online for enterprise-level email and calendaring services. With an on-prem Exchanger server, businesses have physical control over their server, which is often vital for those with complex security, regulatory and compliance concerns. Further, if a business does not require fine nines uptime, scalability, or regular dynamic network provisioning, then an on-prem Exchange server may prove the more efficient and cost-effective option.
However, businesses should keep in mind that they will be responsible for all power, maintenance and repair, and support requirements, and their level of uptime will be up to IT to ensure. When deploying an Exchange server onsite, IT should have a thorough understanding of how to manage the Exchange environment, as well as be able to develop and manage cybersecurity and business continuity measures.
For these reasons, deploying an on-premise server makes sense for mature medium-sized companies and large corporations, with the CapEx, and in-house personnel expertise and resources necessary to manage an Exchange environment, including server management experience, backup and recovery planning, and cybersecurity planning and implementation.
Why Exchange Online is Often Best for Dallas Businesses
By contrast, Exchange Online makes perfect sense for small to medium-sized organizations that lack IT personnel with the expertise of maintaining and managing an on-premise Exchange environment.
One of the most significant benefits of Exchange Online is it allows organizations access to enterprise-level email services without the CapEx required for an on-premise Exchange server. Additionally, Exchange Online is hosted in the Microsoft Cloud and has redundancy and security measures that most SMBs cannot afford to implement with an on-premise solution.
Using Exchange Online means the SMB can rely on Microsoft to purchase and maintain email server hardware and any necessary patching and antivirus/anti-malware program updating. These IT management services are covered in the Exchange Online subscription price. Further, as Exchange Online is hosted in Microsoft Cloud, an SMB's email server uptime and availability aren't affected by power outages and other similar events onsite.
While Exchange Online can insulate an SMB from the data loss risk found with on-prem Exchange deployments, Exchange Online will only retain emails for 30 days. SMB clients will need to deploy a backup solution to store files past this period. Further, the default spam filtering options are not as robust as possible, and purchasing an additional license for Advanced Threat Protection is highly recommended.
Upgrading Your IT Infrastructure
As SMBs continue to adopt Exchange Online successfully, there's increasingly little need for them to deploy on-prem solutions like Exchange Server for operations. Such a solution can be used as a backup solution in case Exchange Online goes down due to a massive system failure or attack. In this event, having frequently backed up data that be used to easily restore operations can mean the difference between hours or days of lost sales opportunities and customer service.
If you're an SMB considering moving to Exchange Online, reach out to the premier IT company in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas today. With over a decade of providing managed IT services, IT solutions and support, and round-the-clock cybersecurity services, Velocity IT has the resources and tools to help you manage your enterprise email needs, whether on-prem or cloud-hosted.
We'll help you determine the best solution for your unique business and work with you to obtain and deploy it as quickly and painlessly as possible. We'll also help you ensure that you have the right security measures and backup and recovery plan in place. Contact us, and let's work together to get you the email services you need.