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Should I migrate from onsite Exchange Server to Office 365 Exchange online?

Posted October 20, 2016

Each option comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Have a bit more clarity about Office 365 and make the best decision for your organisation.

By Nick Hughes, Client, Solution and Strategy Manager

migrate-to-exchange-online-or-notAs IT services increasingly move to the cloud, Australian businesses face a critical decision. Should they retain their on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server, or migrate to the Office 365 Exchange Online environment? Each option comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, and this article will hopefully help you make the best decision for your organisation.

Benefits of onsite Exchange Server

More control and flexibility: With an in-house system, you have full control over your configuration and the timing of your upgrades and changes. You’re also responsible for backups, maintenance, installation and sizing, as well as choosing which services to implement and which third-party applications should be integrated.

Drawbacks of onsite Exchange Server

Higher costs & increased risk of data loss: Maintaining the application and associated infrastructure consumes significant resources, and you must budget for regular hardware refreshes. New versions of Exchange often demand different configurations, and you will also require IT assistance with specialised Exchange skills. And, since your information is stored onsite, a disaster or security breach could result in catastrophic data loss. Robust network protection and a strong business continuity plan can help mitigate these risks, but again, these come at considerable cost. To guarantee a 99.99% uptime (on par with Exchange Online) requires substantial investment in infrastructure.

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Benefits of Exchange Online

Lower costs and reduced risk of data loss: With Exchange Online, you always have sufficient capacity to meet current needs. There’s no requirement to purchase additional infrastructure in advance to cater for future growth. Microsoft’s flexible pricing plans let you choose to deploy Office Online or the Office Suite on up to five devices per licence, as well as giving access to SharePoint Online, Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business. You also enjoy regular updates and new features as they are released. This happens seamlessly, without the need to plan for a long and costly upgrade. And since your data is stored in the cloud, backups are more secure, and you have protection against disasters like power failure, fire and flood, so your business always stays up and running.

Drawbacks of Exchange Online

Less control and flexibility: With Exchange Online, you have less control over your configuration. Since you don’t have administrator rights to the Office 365 Exchange servers, you can’t install third-party solutions, and your customisation capacity is more limited. Migrating your existing data to Exchange online can also require considerable effort, and rolling back to an onsite solution in the future may be challenging without the appropriate skills and support.

The verdict?

Hosting your Exchange servers on-premises gives you complete control over your platform, but this comes with an increased cost and risk of data loss. On the other hand, Exchange Online delivers a cost-effective, secure and stable environment, but with a reduced capacity to customise your platform and integrate 3rd-party applications. To find out more about the pros and cons of Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online, or for assistance in planning your own migration, simply contact Bremmar today on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

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By Nick Hughes, Client, Solution and Strategy Manager

Result-driven professional with over 10 years’ experience in the IT industry specialising in process optimisation, strategic alignment and driving continual improvement.

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