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Is it Time to Junk Your In-House Email Servers?

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Forrester calculates it's cheaper for most businesses to use hosted Exchange than run their own email servers, and Gmail costs even less to run. Why would anyone bother with all the hassle of running email in-house any more?

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  • Gmail is *one third* of the cost per user according to Forrester's research, and that's taking into account support, training and other costs that go on top of the $50-per-year subscription.

    In my experience, it's more productive too than Outlook/Exchange, so I'm scratching my head wondering why anyone can seriously justify the huge expense of maintaining their own Exchange servers (or Lotus for that matter).

  • Very interesting question: my company actually maintains an in-house email account using Exchange, and while it works well, I actually think Gmail works better, in terms of email archival and retrieval and even in terms of Spam filtering, so I actually forward all my company email to my Gmail account.

  • I think there are lots of good reasons to move email to the cloud. Not least of which is security... and spam filtering. Most small and medium enterprises aren't as equipped to handle security best practices as your typical "in-the-cloud" email provider.

  • For Small and Medium Business "in-the-cloud" email providers can help them to reduce their IT costs. For fortune companies cost per mailbox will be really high. As they have to archive messages and attachments as per compliance regulations. For Enterprises cloud email hosting is not ready yet.

  • user-pic

    Definitely an interesting issue. Okay, so this might not be a problem now, but what if Google someday ends up buying a company that's in direct competition with yours? If they have access to all of your corporate e-mail, then you're at a competitive disadvantage no matter how you look at it.

    • Keith, I'm not sure that's a valid argument. Would you move your business account from your bank if it owned a competitor of yours? I think the first assumption is that the bank would harm its reputation if it abused its position in that way. Service providers like Google have to earn the same level of trust.

  • I think of several reasons to KEEP in house email server:
    1. If you use gmail than they always add the gmail account to the FROM field (e.g. if you want to send mail from your support@company.domain, with gmail as mediator, the customer will see yourGmailAccount@gmail.com on behalf of support@company.domain)
    2. Many Mail providers block as spam mails which their FROM address does not equal to the account address.
    In any case for SMB the mail traffic is not huge and the server customization should be with low TCO.

  • I think having service with custom domain is much better than having own server. As having server need experise for maintainence and security. On the other hand, email service providers you end up saving cost but than at time your emails become undeliverable as most of company blocks webmail like GMAIL, YAHOO, HOTMAIL etc.
    Sarfaraz Ahmed

  • If your ok with your email as an ad platform go ahead and rely on Google. Email is less than 5% of their revenue, and I think about 3%, however, the ad revenue is probably big. Google is giving away crack now but see what happens when their ad revenue from your email falls. It is unlikely that Google will stand behind this money pit in that case.

    Email is a very small piece of an IT budget and there are many companies to host it. Hosting may be a good option, but smoking Google's free crack should be examined carefully. Their predatory pricing has put countless businesses out of business and they make a mockery of antitrust laws in a way that Bill Gates could have only dreamed about.

  • Unless you want "Rules to Obey for a Flat Stomach!" with belly fat pictures hanging right beside your business email on top of the non stop spam, free email hosts are not a good idea. In-house servers can be a huge burden and in the long run are very costly to maintain. Professional hosting is the best option because of cost, amount of spam, data protection, security, and reliability.


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