“Cloud Services” like hosted Exchange are beginning to offer most of the advantages offered by in-house servers, and generally at substantial cost savings. With this, as with any major change in IT infrastructure, it is important to look closely at the upside and downside of the change. We would like to share a dialogue held recently with one of our customers about migrating from a conventional email host to Microsoft 365 online. We have also moved clients to hosted Exchange solutions with GoDaddy, Mailstreet and RackSpace:
- What are the major advantages of a hosted Exchange email server compared to our current POP mail server on XYZ Internet Services?The main advantages of 365 Online Hosted Exchange are synchronization, automatic backup, improved webmail, and a larger mailbox size. Synchronization means that no matter what device you use to access mail you see the same mailboxes, contacts and calendar. Exchange email is also displayed more completely on an iPhone or Android device than regular POP mail. Automatic backup is important because the local Outlook files on your computer, called PST files, can be large and hard to back up. With hosted Exchange, you can rely on the enterprise-level backups carried out by the host. If you do need to restore a PST file, the process is more complicated that reconnecting to your Exchange mailbox. Outlook webmail, called Outlook Web Access, is preferred by most Outlook users to the webmail email interfaces offered by Internet Service Providers like XYZ Internet Services. A larger mailbox may only be an issue when comparing Microsoft hosted Exchange (also called 365 online) to other hosted Exchange platforms. Other hosts typically limit storage to 1gb to 4 gb. The Microsoft 365 Online hosted Exchange plan 25 gb of storage per mailbox at a very reasonable monthly rate.
- How will hosting my email on Exchange affect my email marketing campaigns managed through my ISP or by a third-party email marketing service?ENewsletters and other email marketing campaigns typically sent out email to thousands or even hundreds of thousands of recipients of a single message. Hosted exchange plans will not permit this type of mass mailing. However, your email marketing provider can work around this issue. They can alias an outbound message that will appear to a recipient as if it is being sent by firstname.lastname@example.org, for example, even if the message is not going out via the Exchange server. If you would like to be able to receive replies sent to email@example.com, you can create a virtual mailbox called a distribution group, and route that email to any of the real mailboxes in your Exchange email system. You may want to set up a mailbox for a representative of your email marketing provider in order for them to more easily maintain your marketing lists, monitor replies, etc.
- How will moving my email to Microsoft 365 Online hosted Exchange affect my relationship with XYZ Internet Services?We can’t answer that question completely—you would probably need to discuss that with them directly. However, we can say that most likely hosting email is a side venture for XYZ Internet Services offered largely as a customer convenience. Assuming it doesn’t interfere with their primary service to you as your marketing consultant, they will likely be fine with it. If they are committed to keeping your email business, and they are not able to offer comparable services to the hosted Exchange plan offered by Microsoft, it is easy to become an email reseller with MS and we have no objection to purchasing your plan with XYZ Internet Services as the partner of record rather than Leschi Consultants. There is a migration process from your existing email setup to Exchange. Again, this is something that we would be glad to help with, or perhaps XYZ Internet Services would prefer to offer that service as well.