Perhaps you are still limping along on Exchange 2003. Maybe the NCUA examiners are pushing for you to add Secure Messaging. It might be that you just can’t handle dealing with blacklists or spam one more time. Whatever the reason, if you are thinking about moving to Hosted Exchange or Hosted E-mail this post will help outline the impact to your Credit Union Technology Department.
Hosted E-mail is simply the transition from owning the hardware, software and infrastructure associated with running your own e-mail server to leveraging a Cloud Hosted E-mail provider. There are a number of ways the transition will impact your IT department.
The biggest impact here is that you will no longer need an in-house technician or administrator. Instead Ongoing Operations will handle all of the administration. This means the following things are taken off your plate:
- Patching (security or Microsoft)
- Black List Management
- Spam Filtering
- Product Enhancement
- Help Desk
- Mobile Device Integration (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry)
- Backups, Replication, or Offsite Data Vaulting
- Secure Messaging
- Archiving or Journaling
The reality is that when Microsoft Exchange is working – it works well and requires very little day to day attention. However, when it goes wrong it can go very wrong. Delivering e-mail reliability and consistently really requires a special expertise and knowledge that most Credit Unions never truly staff. Instead the responsibility is assigned to one or more generalist who are probably ok at administering the system. Ultimately, when you look at all the soft costs associated with maintaining, enhancing or managing e-mail it really can be quite distracting and keep you from delivering key business value to the Credit Union.
When you co-source Hosted E-mail you get a fully staffed help desk team that can deal directly with your end users as well as a portal that allows pretty much anyone to add or remove users, functions, or access to secure messaging, archiving, or content filtering applications etc.
There are two main components here that get better quickly. Basically, you will no longer need to worry about licensing any of the above software while simultaneously you won’t need to worry about hardware, disk space, event logs or networking associated with your e-mail environment. It is all bundled into the solution. Never again tell your CEO they can’t have more room for e-mail.
Security improves in a number of ways. Every Outlook client and user now uses a fully encrypted certificate based authentication. This means your e-mail is always secure and protected from traffic sniffing or other vulnerabilities. Simultaneously you can get secure message on a per user per month basis. Finally, anti-virus and anti-spam are bundled in and delivered using enterprise grade solutions like Cisco Iron Port. Consequently you get a lot less spam while also greatly reducing your quarantined items (I haven’t had a single false positive quarantined e-mail in 2 years…)
Your team will no longer need to worry about hosted exchange disaster recovery or hosted e-mail business continuity. Instead, we run a clustered replicated exchange environment that runs between two data centers 2500 miles apart. If one cluster fails or one site goes away – everything runs out of the other. Also, if your data center or connectivity experiences a problem – as long as you have internet you have access to your e-mail.