Office 365 Exchange has brought undoubted benefits to the business community, particularly SMEs with small budgets. However, there are some cases where a business’s email needs are so demanding or specific that the Exchange Online packages offered with Office 365 are just not enough.
This is a big problem because, as Los Angeles IT services provider DCG Ltd. puts it, ‘For most small businesses, email IS their most mission critical application.’
So what is the solution? This article looks at the benefits of third party managed Exchange hosting.
The benefits of managed Microsoft Exchange Server hosting
With managed Microsoft Exchange Server hosting, a third party such as Los Angeles IT consulting firm DCG Ltd. will take care of your email hosting via their own data centers. At first glance, this may seem a poor substitute for Exchange Online. After all, surely Microsoft can manage their software better than anybody, but it’s all about the numbers.
Office 365 is simply too big for Microsoft to offer a personalized service to every customer. Microsoft therefore has to create packages that are suitable for the majority of their user base. This is normally adequate but if your enterprise needs exceed the set limits then you are stuck.
Let’s take a look at some of these limits. At the time of writing, in 2019, the main enterprise packages offer either 50GB or 100GB of active mailbox storage and a further 50GB of storage in an archive mailbox (although the E3 and E5 packages do offer unlimited archiving).
When you approach these limits, you will first get a warning, then you will be stopped from sending emails and finally you will be stopped from receiving emails as well.
Click the link to find out about other Exchange Online limits.
If you are regularly receiving warnings or losing messages when Exchange Online restricts the service, third party managed Exchange hosting could be for you. Some third party hosts offer unlimited mailbox capacity and archive and backup facilities which exceed the options available on Exchange Online.
Of course, it is important to check out the credentials of any third party you are interested in. They should have a large and established data center of their own and offer an SLA with an impressive uptime guarantee. Ask them how they handle issues such as data redundancy, scalability and periods of high traffic.
A decent managed Exchange host will also have the development teams in place who can customize hooks into a variety of enterprise applications (e.g. CRM or ERP software).
If all this is in place, before you sign on the dotted line it is important to enquire about one more aspect of managed email hosting: support.
Support benefits of managed Exchange hosting
A lack of customer support can be a deal-breaker in third party email hosting since it is imperative that a business’s email service is kept up and running day and night. With on-premise servers, you can manage support yourself or choose to outsource it but with Office 365 you have no choice – you have to outsource. The jury is out on the quality of Office 365 support, as this thread shows, giving a managed Exchange service provider the chance to differentiate themselves by offering the best support possible.
The jury is out on the quality of Office 365 support, as this thread shows, giving a managed Exchange service provider the chance to differentiate themselves by offering the best support possible.
Before choosing a third party host, ask them about their support coverage and guaranteed response times. Make sure these guarantees are written into the SLA. Also find out about the support channels available. Do you have to call or can you live chat? Is there a Voicemail service?
As you can see, there are several benefits to managed Exchange Server hosting if Exchange Online doesn’t work for you. The best third party providers lift mailbox storage restrictions, craft customized hooks to legacy applications and offer world class customer support.
Brent Whitfield is the CEO of DCG Technical Solutions Inc. DCG provides the specialist advice and IT consulting Los Angeles area businesses need to remain competitive and productive, while being sensitive to limited IT budgets. Brent has been featured in Fast Company, CNBC, Network Computing, Reuters, and Yahoo Business. https://www.dcgla.com was recognized among the Top 10 Fastest Growing MSPs in North America by MSP mentor. Twitter: @DCGCloud