A 2012 Forrester Research and Disaster Recovery Journal joint survey revealed that 60% of organizations queried said that communications was extremely important during a crisis. In fact, the report showed that respondents ranked the underestimating of the importance of communications during a disaster among their top three lessons learned.
Email is one of the most prevalent and important communication tools in business today. It makes sense to protect this line of communication, so should disaster strike, a business can invoke its Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan in a timely manner as well as communicate to employees, strategic partners, and clients.
The best way to protect your firm’s email communication system is by separating it from your onsite server configuration and host it in the Cloud. Under this Hybrid Cloud Configuration, email will continue to operate even though a catastrophe has claimed a company’s office and rendered its IT equipment inoperable. Email will still be accessible from any other location with an internet connection whether that location be at home, an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or other location.
Since Exchange is the most popular email server, we are primarily speaking about Hosted Exchange as a viable option to bolster any company’s crisis communication plan. Hosted Exchange Providers utilize multiple state-of-the-art hardened data centers in different geographical areas to ensure uninterrupted email communications no matter what happens. As unlikely as it is, should a hardened data center have issues during a disaster, the service provider can quickly transfer a company’s email operations to another center in a different location.
There are two flavors when it comes to Hosted Exchange: Third Party Hosted Exchange and Microsoft’s Office 365.
Third Party Hosted Exchange offers more options, better direct and timely support, simpler plans, and in many cases free data migration, which is usually a financial barrier to conversion for small businesses. However, Third Party Hosted Exchange is more expensive than Office 365 even though it is still very cost effective.
Microsoft Hosted Exchange is more restrictive (for example, Public Folders are not supported), support is not as quick as we would like, plans are confusing, and only offers automated tools for self-data migration. But, Office 365 is less expensive than its third party counterpart.
The bottom line: do your homework before choosing. The cheaper plan may not always the best choice. Make sure that whatever option you choose meets your company’s needs.
The point of this article is not to sway you from choosing one option over the other. Our purpose is to show you that physically separating your email from your onsite server configuration is a strategic move to protect this vital line of communication and better protect your firm from the ravages of Super Storms that are sure to come in the future.
Preparation is vital to Disaster Planning and Business Continuity for all businesses. Don’t become a statistic; be prepared.
XSolutions offers both Third Party Hosted Exchange and Microsoft Office 365 options. Call 845-362-9675 to learn how XSolutions can help you maintain email communications even when disaster strikes.