As technology progresses, some SMB’s are left behind because they are using legacy hardware, and, are still hosting their email system themselves on an in-house server. These tend to be SBS 2011 servers and were generally bought because they came bundled with Exchange Server 2010, effectively providing email addresses for no additional cost.

But why do businesses choose to host their emails themselves? At the time of installing the older SBS 2008 and 2011 servers, there weren’t really any alternative for hosting exchange emails. The ability to add as many accounts as you wanted, at no additional cost, was almost certainly a positive influence on businesses at the time. It gave businesses control, rather than having to rely on their IT support provider.

The requirement to host their own email service is now no longer a necessity. Companies like Microsoft and Google now provide this service, for a minimal cost, and takes away the pressure and time needed to keep an onsite Exchange server up to date. These options also give more freedom to employees with remote email access.


What are the risks and costs of continuing to host an onsite server?

Availability – when your server goes down, so do your emails. Onsite servers are also susceptible to other factors, such as faulty routers and your internet connection Hardware – the initial investment for the server is not the only cost you incur. Unless you choose an over specified system from the start, you will need to add to it as your usage grows
Performance – performance for additional functions your server is running can degrade as time goes on. The more mailboxes you add, the worse this will become as Exchange Server uses a lot of resources, and restricting this can cause your emails to run slowly Licensing – For those not running SBS 2011, there is a requirement to purchase additional licensing to run an Exchange Server. As new versions of Exchange are released, there is additional cost involved in having to re-license to upgrade and have the additional functionality that is available.
Spam and Malware – filtering out the risk posed by spam and malware can be a complex and skilled job. The configuration needs to be done correct from the start, and often, an additional spam server can be required People – Exchange servers require constant monitoring, and when they break, manual intervention is required to resolve any issues. This means a cost for either an internal person to look after, or third-party support.
Data Loss – if you suffer a failed drive or other hardware issue, and you don’t have a disaster recovery setup in place, you will lose all of your email history, and in extreme cases, the entire mail system configuration


What are the options moving forward?

SBS 2011 support reaches end of life in 2020, which means many businesses will be starting to think about replacing this hardware. Server 2012 and 2016 don’t come bundled with Exchange, which leaves businesses with a decision to make.

If businesses still want to host their own emails, they need to consider the cost involved. The process will not only involve moving the hosted exchange from one operating system to another, but also from the old hardware to the new. This process can be complex, time consuming and very expensive.

With this deadline fast approaching, it is an ideal time to consider alternative email options. Microsoft have their email hosting option through Office 365. Plans and prices start from £3 per user/per month, giving users a 50GB Exchange mailbox. The option also includes spam and malware filtering to protect your mailboxes. It also includes data loss prevention capabilities to assist users who mistakenly send sensitive information to unauthorised people.

This option removes a lot of the risk and costs normally incurred with running onsite Exchange servers. Businesses no longer need to be concerned with managing the Exchange environment and can be confident that other business applications will run much easier.

There are several MSP’s around who can help with moving to Microsoft, and this expertise is of great benefit, as it allows for in house IT teams, to focus on other projects.


So, what are you waiting for? Consider the benefits of moving your email today!