Whether or not you should host your company’s Microsoft Exchange Server in-house depends on a number of key considerations. These include your company’s budget; data security concerns; and need for flexibility, just to name a few. With these factors in mind, let’s have a look at the potential pros and cons of hosting Exchange in-house:
Greater control over your data
When you host your own Exchange server, your company’s data is under your company’s control and no one else’s. If you’re uncomfortable with a remote third party potentially having access to, and control over, your company’s data in the cloud, then you may want to host your server in-house.
Flexibility with your configuration
If you host your Exchange server in-house, you can configure it to your precise specifications. However, with a hosted solution, you will probably find yourself limited to the packages and options the host provides. Of course, they may offer a completely customizable solution, but this may come at a substantially higher cost.
Saving money on bandwidth
With an in-house solution, the emails and attachments your employees send one another will bypass the Internet, as long as everyone shares the same LAN. This can translate to significant savings on Internet bandwidth.
Large attachments, especially those that contain audio or video, may suffer a delay in transmission if your employees are sending them through a hosted Exchange server. In this case, every email attachment essentially becomes an upload or a download to your Internet-based server. Given this constraint, if your company’s communications are especially media-intensive, an in-house solution could save you time and frustration.
Using email attachments to store files
If you are hosting your Exchange server in-house, your staff can easily store files by adding them as attachments to their emails. However, this common practice is much more difficult, impractical and expensive when using a hosted server. After all, you are now sending your file attachments over the Internet, and storing them in the cloud, costing you bandwidth and storage space.
Less exposure to Internet outages
If you have an in-house Exchange server, any employees on your LAN can continue to send emails to one another during an Internet outage.
A hosted solution will generally have systems in place for handling all the responsibilities, ongoing tasks and potential issues surrounding Exchange server management. These include handling outages; performing scheduled backups; updating your version of Exchange; and any number of other server-management tasks and concerns. On the other hand, when you are hosting your own Exchange server, your in-house or hired networking specialist will need to be vigilant to stay on top of all of these same issues.
Requires IT expertise
Hosting and managing your own Exchange server requires either in-house or hired networking expertise. If you don’t have the trained expertise in-house, be sure to hire a highly-qualified networking specialist or team in your area. However, only hire networking professionals that are specifically trained in setting up and managing Exchange servers. You will also want reassurance that your hired specialists will make themselves readily available to respond to any outages; answer any questions or concerns; and take the time to properly train any members of your staff that will work with your Exchange server.
Potentially higher cost
Hosting your server in-house will require an investment in equipment, setup, expertise, and maintenance. Depending on the size of your company, your chosen server configuration, and a number of other factors, an in-house solution could potentially cost more than a hosted solution. However, if you are saving money on bandwidth by hosting your server in-house, you might find that your savings can more than offset any potentially higher costs of in-house hosting.
Making your decision
Whether or not to host your own Exchange server is an important decision that depends on a number of key trade-offs. Before making your decision, be sure to carefully consider your need for control over your data; your budget; your access to in-house or local networking expertise; your employees’ use of large file attachments; your need for flexibility; and any other concerns you may have. Contact us to help you decide whether hosting your Exchange server in-house is right for you.