Microsoft and Cloud Computing for Small Businesses

April 21, 2009

In a prior post, Onsite Computer Service in New Orleans attempted to explain cloud computing and the potential benefits to small and medium businesses with Microsoft-based systems. A perplexed client with concern for housing his data at another site emailed for a further explanation of the benefits of hosted services as opposed to in-house operation of a Microsoft environment. Onsite has significant experience with enterprise computing as a consultant to clients like Tulane University, Loyola University, Entergy, Fluor-Daniel, and R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates.

Most of our clients use Exchange Server and Outlook so let’s discuss an example of the costs associated with owning an in-house Exchange Server for 100 users. It is estimated that 70% of a company’s information is located in their email so Exchange is important. Owning an Exchange server entails the purchase of a server, Microsoft server software, Microsoft Exchange Server Software, an email server security software, and a Microsoft trained Exchange administrator to initially install and configure the system. Once the system is up and running, the expenses associated with administering the system commence.

From Onsite’s experience, when employees integrate Outlook and email into their daily lives the system is expected to work 24×7, from anywhere on Earth. To facilitate this reliability, an Exchange system requires a knowledgeable administrator who is ‘married’ to the system. Server up-time, server monitoring, server administration, and backup of critical data are some of the daily duties of the administrator when everything is working. If the system is compromised with a hardware failure, data corruption, hacker, malware, or any of a plethora of evils, then the Exchange server generates additional expenses including repair and service, downtime and lost employee productivity. Considering this brief explanation, owning an Exchange Server can be expensive.

One alternative to owning an Exchange Server is the use of cloud computing and hosted services. In this scenario, the provider of the hosted services invests in the equipment, software, and technical expertise to operate the system from an off-site data center. In addition, the provider offers redundant systems in the event of a server failure to insure 100% up-time. Conservatively speaking, 100% up-time is very difficult for a small business to achieve; however a provider of hosted services operates on a large scale with many servers to ensure the highest degree of system reliability.

The move to hosted Exchange services is a efficient and simple process. Some of the immediate benefits to a company using a hosted Exchange Server are reduced IT staff, equipment, and software expense, in addition to an increase in employee productivity with the use of enterprise-class services. Businesses only pay for the hosted services they utilize. Additionally, all employees are able to access their data 24×7 from anywhere in the world. Could your business benefit from a hosted Exchange server?

If you’re searching for New Orleans computer service or repair of your Microsoft based system or network, then call the Microsoft specialists at 504-469-6991. Onsite Computer Services, Inc. in New Orleans

You may also be interested in Onsite Computer’s Blog.

This New Orleans On-Site Computer Service post was provided by Eli Lucas. Eli can be reached at eli@onsitenola.com. Onsite Computer serves the Microsoft computing needs of small businesses throughout the Greater New Orleans area including Uptown, Lakeview, Broadmoor, Mid-City, Metairie, Jefferson, Kenner, Westbank, French Quarter, and the Warehouse District. Please visit our website for New Orleans Computer Service.

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