One of our clients wanted all of their staff to have email access through Microsoft Outlook on each PC, but they didn’t have the need for a Microsoft Exchange server. Instead, we configured their domain to install Google Apps, created email accounts and distribution groups for the staff members, then configured Microsoft Outlook on each staff member’s PC to allow them to have access.
“The difference between Exchange and Google Apps is transparent to the user, ” said Erich Stauffer, Business Consultant at Erich Stauffer, Inc. “They don’t know and they don’t care – as long as it works.” And it usually does. Google Apps sports a 5-nine’s uptime which means they are up 99.999% of the year. This means they can statistically be down for up to 8 hours a year, but uptime is significantly higher with Google than with your own standalone Exchange server.
However, cloud computing like this is not for every customer. Some would not be able to keep secure data on remote servers and Microsoft Exchange does offer the ability to keep all email stored locally, but even so, only the email kept internally stays secure. Once it leaves your organization, unless the email is encrypted, it is prone to eavesdropping. Another reason for an Exchange server would be for backup’s, but with Outlook, you can download Google Apps mail as a PST, then store the PST as your back-up.
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