Office 365 is a cloud based hosted service, where as Microsoft Exchange is email software that runs on a server in house. For the purpose of this blog think of Office 365 as a synonym for cloud based or hosted email. The benefits are the same regardless of whether Microsoft, Amazon, or Google provides the hosting.
The main benefits of Office 365 is its hosted nature. This means all the email software and email data itself lives on Microsoft’s servers. Since all the data is stored by Microsoft they manage it as well.
Unlike traditional in house hosted email, disaster recovery, storage, and service outages are handled by Microsoft instead of your IT department.
Similarly if the client is running an onsite email server and for some reason the internet becomes unavailable, or equipment breaks, the server is shut down and they will not receive email. With Office 365 hosted email, no matter what happens to the client’s servers or workstations, they will receive their email when they reconnect.
Simply put email is a mission-critical part of every business. Unless you want to have an on premise IT department, or purchase a maintenance package, Office 365 is a good way to outsource the servers and administration of email hosting.
The biggest advantage for an onsite email system is data security. If data security is absolutely vital to the operations of the company, the company should move forward with an onsite email system and accompany it with onsite IT personnel.
For cloud hosted email systems there are currently three large competitors. Microsoft and Office 365, Google and Google Apps for Work, and Amazon with Amazon WorkMail. Amazon WorkMail costs $4/user per month will give you 50GB of storage per user. Google Apps for Work costs $5/user per month and offers access to Google Drive Apps (it is essentially a google doc’s application) and 30GB of storage per user. Office 365 Business Essentials is the email-only version and costs $5.61/user per month and includes 50GB of storage. However, you can buy Office 365 business premium for $12.50/user per month however that includes full Microsoft office 2013 1TB of file storage and sharing per user and unlimited online meetings with Lync instant messaging and HD video conferencing.
For our customers, we prefer to set them up with Office 365 because it gives them the most file storage and is the most user friendly of the versions we’ve tested. If you are interested in moving your companies email to a cloud based system, please give us a call 970-266-0703.