We Need to Move to “The Cloud.” – Move Email First

Email in the Cloud

Email in the Cloud

As previously discussed in my article, “We Need to Move to “The Cloud.” – The Question vs the Reality”, I established that there are specific use cases and applications that are prime candidates for “The Cloud.”  One application in particular is Email and its’ use case is Business Communication Continuity.

Email is considered to be the most important business communication medium.  It is the natural extension of paper and has replaced the Fax as a means of providing written documentation of a “meeting of the minds.”    When having any kind of Internet connectivity problem, the first manifestation that most people seem to notice is “Email is down.”

Because people can get to their email on so many platforms, such as their Desktop, via a Web Browser, a Mobile Phone, a Tablet, eReader, or even a Smart TV, and check it so frequently, it becomes immediately obvious if there is a problem with the Email Server.

Ask any Information Technology professional and they will acknowledge that Email Servers require periodic and extensive maintenance.  The amount of disk space used to store new email grows continuously.  As that storage space grows, so does the amount of storage required to back it up.  If a company has compliance and email retention issues, that requires even more space for duplicate archival copies.

The larger the company, the more users delete mail, create folders, and add/remove contacts from address books.  This in-turn means that more frequent Email Server maintenance events are required to reorganize and streamline the Email Server Database Store (which holds all of the email.)  Some maintenance events require the Email Server to be stopped temporarily which can frustrate users, even if scheduled for off-hours like nights and weekends – when email usage should be lowest.

This is nothing new and thousands of Email Administrators have been successfully managing their Email Servers for years without issue.  However, as Email has become the predominant form of business communication, the volume of email has increased significantly creating greater challenges to the status quo.

The inability of a user to send and receive email for any reason is deemed unacceptable.  If an Email Server malfunctions, company management and users may not be willing to tolerate an afternoon or an entire day without the ability to send and receive Email.

Solution:  Move Email to “The Cloud.”

Enterprise class “Cloud” based email providers have massively large, redundant infrastructures that virtually guarantee email will be operational without issue 24/7/365.  (Caveat:  None are perfect.  The largest of the large have had issues.  Google and Microsoft have periodic interruptions in service but they also have the most amounts of resources to throw at the problem for a quick resolution and recovery.  And when this occurs it makes headlines and you will be in good company with million of other affected customers so it is a legitimate excuse.)

Although moving Email to “The Cloud” seems more expensive, because each additional user incurs an increase in the monthly cost versus the relatively fixed cost of maintaining your own Email Server, the savings comes in the elimination of all of the related costs of maintaining your own Email Server.  No longer is there additional staff time for Email Server maintenance, increased costs for additional processing power or storage space for the ever-growing volume of email.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is “Business Communication Continuity”:  The ability to maintain productivity and critical communication during a localized disaster such as a Hurricane, Flood, or Fire that wipes out your home or office.  During Tropical Storm Sandy, many offices and homes were swept away, burned to the ground, or were under water for weeks.  Email Servers along with all other “on-premise” technology were destroyed.  Many had off-site backups and were able to restore their data but for those that hosted and maintained their own Email Servers, Email was unavailable for days or even weeks.

For those that used “The Cloud” to host and maintain their Email, as soon as they could access the Internet, they were able to send and receive Email.

Moving Email to “The Cloud” assures that critical business communication can continue during a disaster and eliminates a potential point of failure in your communication infrastructure.

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