The Right Way To Do Exchange In The Cloud
The Story of Exchange Server
For the past decade, front office and back office systems, such as CRM, payroll, and document management, have gradually moved to the cloud. That change has been relatively seamless. But now enterprises are contemplating and executing the migration of once immovable major systems that have been ensconced inside the walls of the corporation for decades. At the top of the list is Exchange Server, Microsoft’s enterprise stalwart.
With the introduction of Office 365 in 2011, Microsoft is encouraging businesses to shift core apps like Exchange, SharePoint and Lync, to the cloud. It’s an attractive prospect for most organizations: offload the maintenance and security to Microsoft yet keep the same basic look, feel and experience for employees. Office 365 is a fine offering for small to mid-size businesses, but larger enterprises looking to make the move to the cloud should consider new options for Exchange in the cloud, such as the one now offered by SilverSky in partnership with IBM.
In this white paper, we look at the best way for enterprises to make the move to the cloud and explore how to ensure that security, scalability, and flexibility are not compromised.
The Unending Struggles of IT
Exchange Online and Office 365 aren’t ideal, but that doesn’t mean the traditional, on-premises Exchange Server world is Nirvana. The already over-burdened IT departments in large enterprises face unending struggles. With small staffs, they’re charged with developing apps, managing desktops, overseeing firewalls, provisioning and maintaining servers, and answering every question imaginable about the ballooning number of mobile devices in today’s enterprise. You name it, they’re doing it. So managing and securing a large Exchange Server installation is often the last thing they want to focus on.
But if IT doesn’t focus on it, you know who might? Malicious hackers looking to exploit any threat vector they can find. And a system like Exchange—with its expansive reach across the enterprise, its hooks into every employee, and often only cursory oversight from IT—is as ripe a target as there is. Microsoft is constantly patching vulnerabilities in Exchange, on the well-known Patch Tuesdays, but it’s unclear how many enterprises regularly apply those patches. Unpatched, Exchange can be insecure and a major security threat to an entire corporation.
Looking at it Differently
In April of 2014, Microsoft will stop extended support for Exchange 2003 and a few years later Exchange
2007 will suffer a similar fate. So the many companies on either of those versions have a choice to make: Stick with on-premises Exchange headaches or cross their fingers and opt for the inherent risks and compromises involved in Office 365. At the same time, many IT professionals must be asking why there isn’t another way. There is.
Some vendors are looking at it differently. For example, SilverSky has teamed up with IBM to provide Fortune 100-grade Exchange 2013 in IBM’s SmartCloud. The solution comes with the security, customizations and performance of a premises-based Exchange 2013 installation combined with the ease of use and low maintenance of a cloud implementation.
Hosted Exchange 2013 from SilverSky and IBM is highly configurable, fully integrated with Active Directory giving your users the same experience as it would be if you were running messaging yourself. The SilverSky approach also builds in comprehensive email protection that helps mitigate risks, prevent the loss of sensitive information, and ensure compliance with internal policies and government regulations.