Hosting Email In-House versus Hosting in Cloud for Small Businesses

Old 4 Comments on Hosting Email In-House versus Hosting in Cloud for Small Businesses 31

Email still remains as a vital communication tool in any business including other functions such as setting up marketing campaigns. Lately, businesses are moving from the traditional in-house hosting of email service to outsourcing email hosting from web-based services like Google Apps for Business. Cloud email hosting can be an economical way to manage services especially in businesses operating on tight budgets but there are other factors and trade-offs to be considered. If you have a small business and wish to migrate from in-house hosting of email to cloud based hosting, you may need to consider some crucial factors on hosting email in-house versus cloud hosting.

Email Management Policies

Managing your own emails in a business comes with freedom of control and you will be able to execute rules and policies that govern your emails data with full control. Consider if you would be better having full controls on hosting your mail with fast access or having emails hosted somewhere else and how that will impact on your business. When you consider data-retention policies and how critical they could be to a business, in-house hosting of email presents flexible email management policies compared to cloud hosted email services. Moreover, it can hugely cost your business when such cloud services decide to shut down unexpectedly or sued for trademark or patent related issues.

Email Privacy

Privacy is one of the hot issues with cloud hosted data because by hosting your business email on cloud, you are entrusting the privacy of your business emails to another party. Even though most cloud hosting services such as Google have privacy policies, you might not be certain about those policies when policy changes occur. On the other hand, hosting email in-house gives you full control over your business emails and you can monitor what happened and when. Hosting email in-house also ensures physical privacy of the business emails since you have sole access to both email platform and hardware.

Managing Downtime

Small business owner may not have resources or the budget to implement downtime mechanisms and precautions as cloud hosted solutions. Most small businesses have basic or limited solutions when it comes to data backup systems, disaster recovery solutions or even redundancy. Such businesses will benefit more when their email is hosted on cloud where infrastructures for handling unplanned technological failures and downtime are provided with minimal costs. Moreover, downtimes can negatively affect business image on customers and/or partners relations. Hosting email on cloud comes with service-level agreements that can be crucial to business image as compared to in-house hosting. Managed downtime also gives you freedom to concentrate on the core business functions rather than being slowed down by technical issues. It is my strong recommendation that you read many, many reviews on the hosting company you choose, InMotion Hosting Reviews,  a top notch review site to give you a baseline to research from.

Updates and Features

One of the primary benefits of cloud hosted emails over in-house hosted email is access to regular updates and features. With cloud hosted email, small businesses can enjoy expensive infrastructures just like big enterprises. Your business will be able to run on updates email platforms with minimal migration costs which could not be possible when done in-house. However a business could suffer when changes occur on certain cloud features that it had previously relied on. Acquiring own features such as Exchange model could provide more control but could also be very costly to a small business.


Jimmy Simpson III

I work small and micro businesses (between 1 and 75 users). I offer WordPress Development, Virtual IT Director Services, System Administration and Web Hosting.

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  1. Tony Sarju May 22, 2014 at 9:29 am

    E-Mail Management Policies: I would say this depends on the cloud provider. I personally use Google Apps but do not require fine grain management policies. But for a company that does, there are services like Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange which should be able to provide most if not all of an in-house Exchange solution, no?

    I’d bet that Google and Microsoft aren’t going to ever be shutting down so that point is null. Businesses shouldn’t be using an unproven provider anyway if they are truly worried about longevity.

    E-Mail Privacy: This seems to be a hot point whenever cloud services are discussed. I believe it is a valid issue but with Cloud providers trying to garner business from companies, are there really that many privacy issues to be worried about? If the data was not secure, they wouldn’t attract any customers. I’d even argue that the data might be MORE secure since all of the recent implementations of encrypted storage, encrypted data links and SSL updates. But I might just be spit-balling here.

    Managing Downtime: The cloud services definitely win here. There is so much more redundancy that clients should rarely if ever experience any downtime. If they do it might be other factors such as DNS (ahem….GoDaddy) or ISP issues.

    Updates & Features: Cloud offerings win here again. You’re always on the most up to date platform with little to no interaction from the users or admins.

    Plus the other added benefits of hosting in the cloud. To name a few:
    -No hardware costs
    -No power expenditure
    -No/Less cooling requirements
    -No License/Software costs

  2. Zoltan Kerenyi August 7, 2014 at 9:13 am

    If you want to set up an inhose email solution but don’t have much time, give a try to iRedMail. It is based on postfix and dovecot, you can fine tune it if you dig into postfix’s configuration. I tried it on Ubuntu 14 and 12 and now I run it on Debian Wheezy and on a small industrial PC without moving parts in it.

  3. cloud hosting September 14, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on cloud hosting.

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