Office 365 vs Hosted Exchange – Pros and Cons

The correct cloud hosting solution can help eliminate the hassles of server management and save you money with pricing that scales per usage. There are many hosting options, this type of evaluation can be rather complicated.

There is a lot of buzz surrounding Office 365, you may be looking to see if this solution is a good fit for your company, or is a hosted Exchange service better suited for your needs. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons to help you make the right choice for your business.

Pros Office 365
Because Office 365 is managed by Microsoft, some IT managers believe it is superior to third-party hosted Exchange providers. They believe Office 365 is empowered by Microsoft’s resources, investment, and level of expertise.

As updates are released to the public, your hosting provider will likely need to test it before introducing it to the customer hosting environment. However, Microsoft can test products as it develops them, potentially rolling out Office 365 updates more quickly.

When you choose Office 365, you automatically get Instant Messaging, Sharepoint and Lync Online for meetings. While other providers offer an array of added services, purchasing Office 365 bundles these services are upfront.

Cons Office 365
Office 365 limits the number of email recipients you can have within a 24-hour period to 500 for small business accounts and 1500 for enterprise accounts. These limits apply to the total number of emails you send and not just to one email.

While downtime is a risk associated with any provider, Microsoft’s Office 365 services seem to go down with more regularity than some companies are comfortable with. And when Office 365 customers have problems, they are left high and dry–which brings us to the next downfall.  Small business Office 365 users do not get direct phone support. Instead, they must settle for searching through Help articles on Microsoft’s website or posting questions to the community forum to resolve their problems.  An IT Support service partner helps in these situations.

Pros Hosted Exchange
Unlike Office 365, hosted Exchange providers excel at providing support to their customers–and this includes phone support. If you have a problem with your account or service, you can get real support from real people, right when you need it. With most hosted Exchange services, you only pay for what you want. For companies looking to make every dollar count, it makes sense to pay for only the services that are right for your business rather than be forced into a bundle.

Hosted Exchange providers do not impose the daily total recipient limits that Office 365 customers must contend with. But, for many users, the biggest issue with the Office 365 limits is that the clause is obscured in the fine print. Hosted Exchange providers give you easy access to customer support, so you can learn about your service from a person instead of reading about it in the fine print.

Cons Hosted Exchange
While everyone in the business world is already familiar with Microsoft, companies opting for a hosted Exchange solution will have to do their homework on the provider they choose. This issue can easily be mitigated by knowing what your company needs and discussing your options with the provider directly. Reliable providers will be happy to discuss your needs and concerns to guide you to the best solution for your company.

Customers who go with a hosted Exchange service may not get an automatic bundle of services. However, most customers appreciate the option of selecting only the services they need, creating custom solutions for their business.

Hosted Exchange providers are not directly affiliated with Microsoft, but they enjoy strong partnerships with, and full licensing of, Microsoft and its products. And, most providers employ Microsoft Certified Professionals who are experts in providing you with cloud services.

Deciding which cloud services are right for your business doesn’t have to be a headache. Simply weighing the pros and cons of using hosted Exchange or Office 365 can clear things up quickly. As with any business decision, the most important considerations are your particular company’s needs and budget. Whatever your situation, a little research will lead you to the solution that’s right for you. In addition, speak to an IT Support expert or consultant to provide an independent view of your needs.

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