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The question has been raised by many small and medium sized businesses, should we switch to Office 365 or Hosted Exchange?  There are now many options in regard to how they store their documents, manage their internal applications and send emails.

Although the purpose for Office 365 and Hosted Exchange can be similar in comparison, there are features that cannot be easily shared.  Hosted Exchange is essentially renting server space from a provider instead of maintaining an on premise server.  Using this method of email hosting stills allows their business to manage their internal applications, such as Office, and also allows them to remain at their current office versions.

Office 365 offers an all in one service to its customers.  There are several features that it offers such as Skype for business, the usual office packages, including Word, Excel and Outlook. The packages can be used via the web or the traditional full client install on the PC.  Office 365 is managed from a control panel giving customers control over what they use and gives them the ability to add additional administrators in order to deploy and manage Office 365 in their organisation.

Customers no longer need to worry about paying for upgrades as this is included in the subscription costs, however this can cause problems especially if the customer requires a certain office version for compatibility with other applications.

While Office 365 provides a lot of features for a reasonable cost, Hosted Exchange services are not without their charms. Providers that offer Hosted Exchange also offer a personalised service to its customers. When a problem arises or a request is raised with the service provider, they can liaise directly, more so when the customer requires a change to the service or a feature enhancement.

There are a pros and cons to each deployment and many will argue against the other, however both should be considered as each will have its own benefits to the customer depending requirements.

  • Office 365 offers a 50GB mailbox size per user.  Typically, most Hosted Exchange service providers offer 25GB, however this is a large amount of storage for email.
  • Hosted Exchange providers usually limit the size of email boxes so resources are equally shared however they are more likely to increase these if requested than in Office 365.
  • Office 365 is fully integrated and easier to share files across applications.
  • With Hosted Exchange the versions do not update automatically, a provider will normally plan an upgrade with its customers or create a new Hosted Exchange environment.  This is useful for customers who need a certain version of Exchange.
  • Hosted Exchange customers know where their data is being stored.  With Office 365 it could be anywhere in the world.
  • Office 365 upgrades are automatic, customers will always be at the latest versions with no upgrade costs.

When choosing between Office 365 and Hosted Exchange, there are numerous factors that a business needs to consider before choosing.  Whilst Office 365 would ultimately work out cheaper if using all the features of Office 365, Hosted Exchange would work in favour for email and customer service from the service provider.  Microsoft also make migrating to Office 365 easy however should a customer wish to migrate away, the process can be much harder especially if there are large amounts of mailboxes to migrate.

If you are simply looking for a somewhere to migrate your Exchange environment to, then Hosted Exchange would be the recommended choice.

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