Hosted Exchange services offer clients all the benefits of an Enterprise communications solution but without the upfront cost of hardware and software and also the ongoing maintenance.
Hosted Exchange services are offered in a multi-tenancy environment. This means that on a single Microsoft Exchange Server installation, different entities are set up for each client subscribing to the service. These entities are kept securely apart from each other by the security policies implemented on the hosted server.
How does it work?
A hosted Exchange service works in an identical way to having an on-premise server. Your DNS records need to be set up to point mail and autodiscover traffic to your hosted server (your provider will give you those details). It is very important these records are setup correctly otherwise users will not be able to set up their mail clients or mobile devices and mail may not be delivered properly.
Your mail clients and mobile devices are then set up to connect to the hosted server and your historical mail transferred to the new account profile. Once transferred locally the client will then upload your historical mail to the hosted server. This can take some time so it is important that users carry out housekeeping to get their mailboxes as small as possible prior to transfer. You may prefer to archive your mail to a local file and start with a clean slate on your hosted service depending on your circumstances.
Pro’s and Con’s
You save the upfront cost of purchasing server hardware and Exchange software licenses
The Exchange server is maintained for you and kept up to date
Server backups are managed by the service provider (you may also wish to subscribe to your own 3rd party backup solution as well)
The solution will usually incorporate anti-spam and anti-virus protection to scan mail before it is delivered to the server
The server hardware will be in a data centre environment with fail over security meaning no or very little downtime.
You benefit from an enterprise level software solution which would be impractical to implement on premise for a small business.
You will not be able to install any Exchange Server side add-ons or applications, though client side plugins should still be OK
Your mail is kept on a 3rd parties server and you may not know where this is (it may not be UK based which can be a compliance issue for some industries)
You don’t have any control over Server versions, which may mean updating your client applications to be compatible with the latest server versions
Your historical email may take a while to upload to the server and there may be incompatibilities with current server software – for example, Exchange 2013/2016 in a hosted environment does not easily import large numbers of subfolders.
If you would like a free consultation to discuss hosted solutions and whether it would be suitable for your company, please contact us. There are several different options for hosted Exchange services, from services provided by Microsoft via the Office 365 program to more flexible services offered by smaller ISP’s. ACS can offer both O365 and customised services via our network of providers and can manage and implement your solution for you.