Finding the right cloud connection for your small business email can be difficult. You will only know which option is best for your business if you fully understand what your business needs. If you have been using on-premises servers to host email and want to migrate to the cloud, you may have different needs than a company building an IT infrastructure from the ground up. Following certain industry regulations such as encryption constraints and retention policies can also affect your decision. If you have multiple offices, there are complicated communication processes, and other issues that muddy the water. Learning the differences between Hosted Exchange versus Office 365 can help you make a decision for which option is best for your business email.
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Hosted Exchange Versus Office 365
Exchange Server provides a great solution
For over twenty years, Exchange Server has continued to provide a reliable and efficient business email option. One reason for this is because Microsoft always updates the platform to help increase stability. Exchange Server mirrors the public cloud, so several providers can offer it as a Software-as-a-Service. Many businesses will move their email service to a multi-tenant architecture to reduced IT overhead. It’s also important to note that Office 365 and Hosted Exchange are both based on the Exchange Server platform. Your business email may run on either of the platforms as Office 365 and Hosted Exchange.
Email server and client options
Exchange Server will run on the server side, however, Outlook is the email client designed to integrate with all of the functionality Exchange Server provides. When a new version of Exchange Server is out, it is followed up by the PC version of Outlook. Outlook will typically be compatible with the last two versions of Exchange. End users won’t see too many changes in the interface after an update and can typically navigate through their email with any changes. However, making the move from one client version of Outlook to another might require your organization to provide some training so users don’t get lost.
Hosted Exchange can provide stability
You can select which version of Hosted Exchange you want to run because service providers will have different Exchange environments that you can choose from. Service packs and security updates will be tested before they are deployed to avoid issues. So if you find one environment you are comfortable with, you can stick with it as long as you want. Although eventually, the platform will reach the end of its life and you will be forced to move to a newer version, so it will be more cost effective to move to a new version than try to stay with an older one.
Find assistance with a migration
When you decide to upgrade Hosted Exchange, it’s in your best interest to find an IT service provider so you don’t have to migrate alone. If you already have a service provider, they might not even charge anything for the migration. Currently, Exchange Server 2010, 2013, and 2016 are the three versions supported. It might be difficult to find Hosted Exchange 2007 support because Microsoft no longer supports it and has stopped distributing bug fixes.
Hosted Exchange email
Email is the primary reason for a Hosted Exchange environment. Mailbox sizes are usually unlimited and you can use Outlook, webmail, or even both if you prefer. Different bundles are also available with other services such as Skype for Business (now Microsoft Teams), Hosted SharePoint, Online Backup, Email Encryption, etc. Office applications can be added as well such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, and OneNote at an additional cost.
Is your business driven by innovation?
If your business is driven by innovation, Office 365 is a better option than Hosted Exchange. Email is just a small part of the Office 365 experience and Exchange Online is only one of the services available. Office 365 offers several applications, business intelligence tools, and shared storage for files for every use. The email limit is 50 GB per mailbox and services such as Skype for business, Yammer, and others are available as well.
Stay current with the latest version
Office 365 always provides the latest security updates and versions of all software upon release. All new functionalities are instantly available to be included with new releases of Exchange Server. Updates and patches are also pushed securely and automatically to every device connected with the account. This includes PCs, MAC, tablets, and smartphones. If for some reason you wanted to delay patches on any machines connected to an Active Directory domain, you can do this as well.
Along with the latest versions, upgrades are also free. Microsoft will not charge you in addition to the regular monthly fees. The only additional costs incurred are user training or a device renewal in order to make the applications work. However, some upgrades might affect a current feature you use, which means you should be aware of updates and changes
Several options exist for business email, so deciding to choose Hosted Exchange versus Office 365 means you are in the final stage of selecting a platform. The choice of which platform is best will depend on your needs and organizational culture. Hosted Exchange provides stability and control over the options and changes you want. Office 365 provides new app features delivered automatically, new email platforms, and more. Whatever you choose for your business email, make sure you contact your service provider (if you have one) to see what they recommend.