For years, organizations have been migrating their core technology services to the cloud for increased convenience, mobility and cost savings, and the same is true for cloud-based email services.
Paying a fixed monthly cost for cloud-hosted email represents a far better and most cost-effective solution than paying for the installation, maintenance, upkeep and security of on-premise solutions.
The cloud debate: OpEx vs. CapEx
According to Joshua Liberman, president of New Mexico-based IT provider Net Sciences, Inc., the hardware requirements and licensing costs required to install and operate an on-premise email server outweighs the few benefits.
In-house email servers typically require a large upfront capital expense that can be thousands of dollars, and they require enough space in a dedicated server room that could be used for something else, not to mention these rooms need to be outfitted with cooling equipment to keep the equipment from overheating.
Especially for smaller organizations with just a few dozen seats, emptying the pockets for an on-premise solution just doesn’t make sense as the total.
“The costs are so great that you can’t possibly make the argument for ROI,” Liberman says.
There are other hidden costs that organizations may not be aware of until it’s too late, like mail filtering, two-factor authentication, add-on security tools, log monitoring and comprehensive backups.
“And then finally, you need somebody or a partner to manage, secure and monitor all of this,” Liberman says.
Organizations may need someone to manage the same things if they’re cloud-based, but it’s a lot less intensive. For some cloud-hosted email providers, plans can start under $10 per user per month.
Predictable costs and scalability
In addition to the low monthly cost, this makes budgeting throughout the year much easier than if your organization were to continue running an in-house server.
Server hardware depreciates over time, and it isn’t cheap to upgrade and replace. And, patching security vulnerabilities can come with additional costs.
In the cloud, however, those duties are handled by the provider.
“If you’re looking at cost, it’s not close,” Liberman says.
Adding new seats to an in-house server could require additional hardware and space, and depending on how many seats need to be added, additional IT staff may be needed to help manage the growth.
In the cloud, organizations can add capacity with ease.
“It’s just not an issue in the cloud,” Liberman says. “It’s something you have to build and plan for if you’re on premise.”
Security and recovery costs
IT managers or CIOs who are hesitant to move to the cloud prop up the security of in-house email servers as the reason for their stubbornness to migrate to the cloud.
According to Liberman, that argument can hold up in certain situations, but given how cloud providers have drastically improved their security, this aspect is more or less a wash.
“You’ll hear pundits in the industry tell you, ‘In the cloud, you’re dealing with companies with $100 million security budgets and billions of dollars of hardware spread across the globe. You just can’t mimic that.’”
For the most part, that’s true, Liberman says.
However, securing an on-premise sever takes much more work on the end user and their IT professionals and partner than a cloud-hosted solution. That means an on-premise solution will take up valuable resources – time and money – to secure and maintain.
In the cloud, IT managers are only responsible for ingress and egress, while managers of on-premise servers are responsible for a wide range of duties.
“(In the cloud), you’re just not responsible for the server farm and replication,” Liberman says. “You’re responsible for the front door and the back door, if you will, but you’re not responsible for the furniture.”
“It’s all your problem if it’s on premise.”
And, in the event of a failure, recovery of an on-premise solution takes valuable time, prior planning and IT professionals that can act quickly to get the business back up and running.
“The good news is we don’t have to worry about that in the cloud,” Liberman says. “Recovery, for the most part, is not your problem.”
Take Pressure Off Internal IT with Cloud-based Email
Most businesses – unless they have deep pockets to invest in that infrastructure and in-house expertise – can’t depend on a small team of IT professionals to manage an on-premise server.
In-house IT departments can only be stretched so thin, particularly at small organizations with just a handful of dedicated professionals.
Staffing the helpdesk, setting up workstations, responding to security threats and managing an on-premise server is a tall task. Business leaders who are convinced that they can handle these duties need to be educated.
“If they truly do believe that, then it comes down to educating them otherwise,” Liberman says.