Cloud-based services are highly scalable and resilient and have a clear advantage over traditional arguments about cloud costs, service maturity and distrust over outsourced critical infrastructure. It is obvious to all.
Microsoft is joining this shifting tide. Server 2016 is packed with cloud-centric features. Azure Active Directory support, the cloud-friendly Nano Server, and native hybrid functionality in apps such as SQL Server or SharePoint are just a few of the many cloud-centric features available to Server 2016.
Microsoft’s shift towards the cloud raises a difficult question: Should you migrate your email to cloud computing?
Microsoft Exchange is one of the most established and trusted on-prem business applications. It provides email and calendaring to hundreds of thousands of businesses. Exchange Online, the SaaS version, is a natural evolution of the ubiquitous email server. It has been adopted by large enterprises as well as small, one-man businesses.
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Start training It seems like a simple answer for admins. There are fewer servers to backup and patch, which means fewer outages and less licensing headaches. It might not be the right fit for every company. Let’s find out why.
Beware of the government and healthcare professionals
Certain industries are more affected by security and compliance laws than others. FedRAMP, the U.S. federal government’s assessment and authorization process, is the gold standard for cloud services evaluation.
FedRAMP provides a standard for evaluating a cloud service’s security and controls. FedRAMP can be used by any government agency to evaluate any SaaS provider. It ensures the security of all data stored or accessed through the service. No FedRAMP authorization? No cloud business with government. Without an authorized vendor, your cloud migration project for email will be stopped.
Each industry in healthcare has its own rules. The U.S. HIPAA contains strict provisions to protect patient confidentiality. The majority of these provisions concern staff training. However, IT systems must also comply with HIPAA, including email. HIPAA violations can lead to large fines for healthcare providers, so make sure you choose where your email is sent.
For your security
Multi-tenancy is a common feature of cloud services. The servers that hold your data also have data from other companies. This is not a problem if you have good security. You can restrict user access. The virtual servers that run on the same host can communicate only with one another.
Security isn’t always perfect. Automation can go wrong, configurations can be incorrectly applied, and vulnerabilities that allow guest VMs direct entry to the host can become public (this happened last year).
Multi-tenancy is rare for dedicated email hosts. If you want to avoid this, it is possible to run your own servers.
99.999% is not 100%
Pro of SaaS – No servers to repair during an outage
Con of SaaS – No servers to repair during an outage
You have access to all your infrastructure, hosts, backups, and everything else you need to troubleshoot the problem. Exchange Online can go down. You can open a ticket to wait. Managers love to hear “There’s nothing that we can do.”
No amount of quick response time from your team is worth it when you are completely dependent on Microsoft support. Remember, your uptime is more important than you think.
Exchange 2016 offers many architecture options with high levels redundancy. Multiple servers located in different locations can run multiple copies of your database making outages rare. Exchange Online promises 99.999% uptime, which is quite impressive.
Remember that 99.99% allows for almost an hour of downtime each year, which could lead to an hour of pain.