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The Risks and Rewards of Cloud-Based Business Email

June 17, 2015

Laptop downloading mail from cloud folder

Cloud computing is changing the way businesses think about their operations from an IT standpoint. Having the ability to store and run almost anything on a remote computer is practical from spatial, energy consumption and maintenance standpoints. It’s so good that it’s making the old way of providing email services to a business look ancient. With cloud-based email, you won’t have to worry about buying and maintaining traditional Exchange servers that cost an arm and a leg over the years.

Now if only Cloud computing was as good as we all wish it was.

Like all things computing, the cloud carries its own set of risks. Early adopters have learned the hard way that outages, data loss and software incompatibilities can happen. Making things more complicated is the fact that you won’t be able to deal with issues directly when they happen on the cloud. Most of the time, your only real option is to wait and pray.

Suddenly, those Exchange servers aren’t looking so bad.

Going cloud-based with your business email is a crucial decision that can impact your business positively or negatively. When making that call, consider the following points:

Pros

  • No Physical Infrastructure – You won’t have to purchase and/or maintain Exchange servers and supporting hardware. You also won’t need to hire an IT team to maintain these assets either. You’ll also save on office space and electricity by not having the hardware running in your facility.
  • Perfect for Distributed Offices. If your business has a lot of branches or employs people who work remotely, having your email on the cloud allows access from the Web. That means there won’t be a need for a massive Internet pipe in your headquarters to support data flow from remote users.
  • Complimentary Upgrades. Upgrades to new software versions will be done for you by people who know exactly how to do it. Costs are factored into your bills, so there’s no extra investment necessary to stay up-to-date.
  • Software and Tools Included. Most cloud email services come with bundled software and tools like Office for desktop as well as Lync and Onedrive for collaborative activities.
  • Optional Compliance Email Archiving. Handy for legal and HR purposes.

Cons

  • Helplessness during Outages. Addressing outages isn’t in your company’s hands. If the email suddenly goes out, your business could be paralyzed. There are very few things as bad for an enterprise as losing email and not knowing when it’ll come back on.
  • Limited Data Loss Policies. Granted, data can be lost anywhere you store it. However, if you lose it in the cloud, mot service providers will only provide refunds but will not retrieve data that could be worth millions.
  • Mandatory Upgrades. Love your current email software version? You may not be able to keep it when your cloud email service provider performs mandatory upgrades. Without proper planning, this could give your users jarring experience changes.
  • Possible integration issues. If you’re using third-party software, you could face compatibility issues with cloud-based email services.

Ultimately, your decision should depend on your business needs and priorities. Never make a switch to cloud email just because it’s new and your company can. Only when you feel that the advantages are worth the risks should you move forward with a change that’ll be hard to reverse.

“Axiom does a phenomenal job making sure we are up to date with technology, keeping us secure, up to date, and my staff happy. We’re both on the same side of the table.”
– Ray Kubick, Northwestern Mutual

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