The concept of software as service has been gaining popularity with a large number of companies. However, there are still a lot of companies that have decided to stick with in-house software. In this article, we will take a look at the various options concerning installing and maintaining software, or renting it as a hosted service.
The information in this article will help with evaluating between hosted and in-house exchange, so that an informed decision may be made about which model is better suited for the need intended.
One Time Investment â€“ One of the benefits of hosting your exchange in-house is that you only have to spend once on software licenses and infrastructure and there is no recurring monthly cost.
While it is absolutely true that there is an entry barrier to having your own in-house exchange in form of software licenses and server infrastructure, there are no recurring monthly costs involved with running your own in-house exchange. Furthermore, the hardware and software is purchased, it belongs to the company that purchased it. With software as service, there is no ownership of the software licenses or hardware infrastructure.
Legacy Systems â€“ As a corporation, you may have invested heavily in legacy computer hardware and software and completely moving away from them may mean having to do heavy write-offs.Â Moreover, with software as service you have very limited ability to customize them, if at all.
Existing IT Staff â€“ One other consideration, with using software as service, is that it is not necessary to hire and train additional IT staff, since it is taken care of by the company providing the service.Â If you already have an IT department, then adding one additional service may not be such a big deal. One issue to watch for, however, is over-extention of existing staff. Therefore, it is a good idea to adequately canvas the needs associated, to really understand what handling the service will entail.
Financial Considerations â€“ If one off purchase of hardware and software is a financial burden on your company, a lot of software and hardware companies are these days offering an option to lease the servers and software from them.
Data Security â€“ With software as a service, proprietary data is stored on servers owned by someone else, and not located in your premises. This usually means that you have no control over data security, which may be a concern for some companies.
As a matter of fact, some governments have introduced data protection laws and having data on third-party servers may mean a violation of those laws. Therefore, it is a good idea to check with legal counsel about any ramifications, if this is the route desired.
Disadvantages of In-House Exchange
Maintenance â€“ If you are opting for in-house hosting of an exchange server, then you have to remember that it is going to be a technically demanding and time-consuming job. You will be required to design and install the infrastructure for maximum efficiency and then maintain it. Quite frankly, few companies are in a position to do this adequately, particularly, small to medium sized businesses. You will also be required to install and maintain effective anti-virus and other protection software and ensure that all patches and upgrades are applied on time. This would mean additional responsibility for your IT Department and you have to make sure that they are up to the challenge, in addition to having the time to adquately perform those duties, which can eat up a lot of time. With software as a service, you will not have to worry about initial setup, infrastructure deployment or maintenance of upgrades and patches. This will be handled by the company providing the service.
Hiring IT Staff â€“ If you do not have adequate staff in your IT department or your staff is not properly trained to setup, manage and provide support for the exchange server, then you will have to either train existing staff or hire new employees to manage the exchange server.
Both of these prepositions can be expensive and very cost prohibitive. With hosted software, you do not need to hire any additional staff to setup, maintain and provide support for the software. This is usually done by the company which is offering the software as hosted service.
License Costs â€“ When you are hosting exchange as in-house software, then you will have to either purchase or lease the software licenses from Microsoft. This can indeed mean a major financial burden on your company and something you need to consider when you are considering opting for the option to have in-house exchange. With software as a service, you pay a fixed monthly price based on number of users.
License costs can especially be an issue if the level of staff in your company fluctuates. Software companies usually offer their software based on the number of people who will be using the software â€“ the more the number of people, the higher the cost of the license. If your company, for example, hires temporary staff and freelancers to work on projects, then you will have to purchase licenses for software considering the maximum number of people who will be using the software. This would mean that you will be paying for software licenses which may not be used, from time to time.
With software as a service, you pay only for the number of people using the service. If the numbers of people using the software decrease, then you do not have to pay for them.
In Conclusion â€“ Both in-house hosting and software service have pros and cons, as do all business considerations. It is important to realize that the company needs are, vs. costs and time involved, to make the right decision based on each particular circumstance.