The right cloud solution for your business can be a hard choice considering the different offers to choose from. You’ll only be able to select the best solution for you after you have a clear list of your needs. If you’ve been hosting your own email servers and are now planning to migrate to the cloud, your needs will be different compared to companies that have built their IT services from scratch. Depending on the industry regulations that must be followed, you might be faced with constraints (i.e. encryption and email retention policies). Also, depending on your organization, you might have other issues to deal with like complex communication processes or office branches. To help decide, we’ve compared Hosted Exchange vs. Office 365, two great options for email hosting.
EXCHANGE SERVER’S POWER
Exchange Server has become the most efficient and reliable business email solution used by many organizations. Microsoft has always enhanced the platform stability with each new version and followed the trend of public cloud so many providers are able to deliver a Software-as-a-Service model. Because of this, it has allowed multiple businesses to move their email service to a multi-tenant infrastructure and reduce IT overhead. The cloud offers and reduced cost with flat monthly fees. Office 365 and Hosted Exchange are two cloud offers based on that platform. Because Exchange Server accounts for 51% of worldwide business mailboxes, your email system will potentially run on the same platforms whether you choose one over the other.
CLIENTS AND SERVERS
Microsoft Outlook is the email that was made to properly integrate functionalities provided on the server side. It installs on smartphones, tablets and workstations, and is available on iOS, Mac or Windows. When a new Exchange Server version is released, it usually is followed by the Outlook PC version. New versions of Outlook will become compatible with a least two previous Exchange versions (Outlook 2016, released for Exchange 2016, is compatible with Exchange 2010 and 2013 for example). Most end users know Outlook client.
It is common for customers to speak about Outlook and not know anything about Exchange, and from one version to another, the end user may notice visible changes in the interface. Moving from one version to another may require your company to organized staff training. Make note that adapting to a new version could be time consuming. Changing management is a main reason companies are reluctant about moving to another Exchange version. If you use webmail rather than email client, know that each version can look different.
WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE HOST EXCHANGE
You can choose the version you want to run on with Host Exchange. Security updates and service packs are tested before any deployment to avoid outages and other issues. You can on the environment that gives you the functionalities you prefer as long as you want, however, at some point the platform will reach its deadline and the provider will force it to phase out. The older the version, the higher the costs are to support it. You should check with your provider to get the best deal with a newer platform.
You have time to plan for the upgrade with provider’s support. Depending on the providers, the migration may not cost anything! Three Exchange Server platform version are currently supported world wide: 2010, 2013 and 2016. If you’re still running on Hosted Exchange, your providers may not be able to fix issues that occur because Microsoft stopped supporting that version and hotfixes aren’t delivered anymore. Rely on your provider’s support to make smooth transitions to newer environments. Migrating to the next version does not mean you need to upgrade the Outlook client to a newer version.
GET EMAIL FIRST
The main service with Hosted Exchange is email. The mailbox size is always unlimited no matter how you access your email (Outlook, webmail, etc.). You can choose different bundles ad even add Office applications to your subscriptions for an extra fee. It’s important to focus on what you need the most first, though. Email.
CHOOSE OFFICE 365 IF INNOVATION IS DRIVING YOU BUSINESS
Your team will have plenty to play with. Office 365 is a set of products that include collaboration and productivity applications including email, services like Skype and Yammer, the popular Microsoft Office Suite and personal shared storage like OneDrive. Office 365 has several plans to choose from making it great to select the option that you like most.
THE LATEST VERSION IS ALWAYS EASILY AVAILABLE
With Office 365, you’re running the latest version of all software as soon as they’re released. You’ll get the newest features and enhancements instantly including new Exchange Server releases. Service packs, security updates and application upgrades are automatically pushed to your user’s devices, whether Macs, tablets, smartphones or PCs. You can choose the delay installations on active directory domains, but this is a personal choice, not Microsoft’s. There is not migration assistance because they made Office 365 to always have the ability to get the latest version.
There are no charges from Microsoft other than monthly fees! Additional cost would be related to user training or Os and device renewal. Microsoft always lets you know what new releases.
If you were able to narrow down your choice to Office 365 to Hosted Exchange, it means you want the best email platform for your business. Your decision depends on your business needs and corporate culture. With Hosted Exchange you have stability and control to change when you want and help with email migration. With Office 365, you have innovation with newly released app features that are delivered automatically and you can refresh your business processes and tool constantly. You can also combine different plans so you can get exactly what you need. Ask your service provider when making your decision.