How to know when to send your email to the cloud

How to know when to send your email to the cloud

Summary: Email will ultimately move to the cloud/software as a service model, but the math may not add up for larger companies. How do you know when to make the jump?


Email will ultimately move to the cloud/software as a service model, but the math may not add up for larger companies. How do you know when to make the jump?

Gartner analysts Matthew Cain and James Lundy went through the cloud vs. on-premise email conundrum, but what really made the presentation was a series of charts that serve as decision grids for making a move.

I've talked to a bunch of IT executives at the Gartner IT Symposium in Orlando and many of them were at least pondering moving email to the cloud. Gartner reckons that 20 percent of email seats will have a SaaS or cloud model by 2012. In addition, smaller companies will lead the cloud email charge, but large enterprises will tag along. Bottom line: Cloud email costs will be 50 percent less than their on-premise counterparts in 2012.

Here's the comparison:

Lundy and Cain said that email will move to the cloud for the following reasons:

  • Hosted models can deliver significant economies of scale. Most organizations don't scale past tens of thousands of users, while hosts will ultimately provide services for millions of users.
  • Browser-based email will lower costs.
  • Storage will be cheaper for cloud email providers.
  • And the offline access problem will be solved. Gartner expects hosts like Microsoft and Google to offer offline email access in a browser with a 30-day cache.

Nevertheless, cloud email won't be for everybody. Enter the second useful chart from Lundy and Cain.

The big takeaway is that you have to consider cloud-based email in long-term planning. The challenge is that there are multiple players. Gartner also expects that Cisco will enter the hosted email game to join Google, Microsoft, IBM and a bevy of others.

Topics: Collaboration, CXO, IT Priorities

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  • Never

    I would never use the cloud for corporate data: never.

    I want to be in control of my infrastructure and mostly who has access to my data. I would rather trust my employees to take care of my data rather than some company that will accidently expose my data for everyone to see (the latest case being Google Voice), lose my data for days (Microsoft/Danger) or being down for a day without any way to interact with customer support (when this happens it is impossible to reach anyone to get a status).

    Thanks, but no thanks.
    • I'm right with you

      Corporate data needs to be behind the firewall and under total control of the IT department and the legal departments policies.
      • The computers are connected to the Internet no matter where the reside

        physically. Remember, Google purchased Postini, and
        they have an army of experts on legal retention
        requirements, etc for email. Remember, the CEO is
        NOT a computer expert, and it is a huge waste of his
        time recruiting people to manage email servers. How
        is he able to determine if these people really know
        how to secure email?

        It would be better to focus on running the business
        and pay Google to host the email. PERIOD.
    • Wait a minute. The CEO that is NOT a computer expert MUST put his

      confidence in people to keep his email safe. He
      MUST have other people "controlling" the data as
      you say. For him to spend a lot of time evaluating
      resumes, reading up on computer technology to try
      and evaluate professionals that would manage his
      email system and keep it safe is a huge pain in the
      arse, and worse a huge waste of time.

      Or, do you cut a check, for a LOT LESS money to
      Google, whom you can SUE if the system is hacked,
      and who has an expansive army of engineers working
      24x7 to keep it all secured.

      Remember, all of those in-house people have zero
      advantage over Google. Those email servers are
      connected to the internet NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE
      PHYSICALLY LOCATED. Let Google take care of finding
      the best professionals to manage email servers,
      while you run your company.
      • Contact them

        Did you ever try to contact an actual person when Google/Microsoft/Yahoo/ goes down? The "other people" you mention are working for him, just a phone call away (or often a few steps away).

        Sue Google? That would cost more that 10 years of in-house hosting! ;-)
    • Re: Never

      Then you'll soon be obsolete. Email is not a core competency of a company - it should be outsourced ASAP.

      Just because something is hosted doesn't mean it is a Cloud App - the MSFT/Danger platform is client/server. Also, and more importantly, Google Voice did not have a data breach - users posted their messages on public web pages which were then crawled by search engines.

      Better get your head in the clouds or find yourself a new job.
  • RE: How to know when to send your email to the cloud

    Everything you need to know...

    China Expands Cyberspying in U.S., Report Says

    • Yep, Great point, and EXACTLY why non tech companies do not have ANY

      business trying to run their own email servers.
  • Both would be fine

    If Google made a database that worked across both,
    then I would be okay.

    Or rather, if our Finance department kept records in
    house and membership records 'out there', then that
    would minimize any 'scandal'.

    Besides finances there is little a person would want
    from a company. Now it could get ugly if they messed
    with data, saying a member owed something that they
    did not or vice a versa.

  • Well if HP's CEO wouldn't put any of HIS companies data in the cloud...

    ...""wouldn?t put anything material in nature outside the firewall.""...why would anyone else do the same?;col1
    • Remember, HP's CEO makes a TON of money selling overpriced under utilized

      servers to companies stupid enough to do things that
      should be outsourced. What do you expect him to say?

      Also, HP is a tech company, selling servers to host
      email, the had damn well better eat their own dog

      A NON tech company has NO business managing email
  • Yep, it just makes sense to move to the cloud for email. CEOs should NOT be

    spending time deciding who to hire and fire for managing
    email servers, approving hardware purchases, space for
    the servers, etc.

    Anyway you look at it, the email servers are connected to
    the Internet. They are not any more safe at your site
    than they are at a providers site.
  • RE: How to know when to send your email to the cloud

    When the Cloud / SaaS can give me:
    - Absolute change management control
    -- This does not mean notice that something is changing. It means there MUST be approval to go forward.
    - Have offline capabilities
    - Protect my data the same as managing it myself
    -- Allows for an offline backup and recovery
    -- Legal discovery must pass through corporate legal and follow their instructions
    - Provide the same level of compliance capability
    - Provide the same level of audit capability
    - Provide the same level of legal liability
    - Will co-exist with my existing applications
    -- This may mean that it is locked to a specific version
    - Understands that businesses which consume services don't make spending decisions on what is new, trendy or "the next best thing."
    • SaaS gives you many of these things, though not all

      If your implication is that the things you listed are not available from SaaS, you're mistaken. Here are just some of the things Google does (there are others who can cover more of your list):
      - Change control -- No
      - Offline -- Yes
      - High level of protection -- Yes, with Postini
      - Offline backup and recovery -- Yes, with Google partners
      - Corporate legal control -- Yes, with Postini
      - Compliance capabilities -- Yes (for most scenarios), with Postini
      - Audit capabilities -- Yes, with Postini and/or Google partners
      - Co-exist with existing applications -- Maybe (depending on your implementation), with Google partners
      - The "trendy or 'the next best thing'" comment certainly doesn't apply to Google, which is very conservative with e-mail

      One further comment. Absolute change management control will not be helpful without a bullet-proof roll-back plan. For services accessed with a browser, the incremental value of this control is not very high (in most cases). One should ask who can better manage change management -- someone who does it frequently with massive scale, or someone who does it infrequently on a smaller scale.

      Bottom line is that unless tech infrastructure is a big part of what an enterprise does as part of its business, looking hard at cloud solutions makes a lot of sense.
  • RE: How to know when to send your email to the cloud

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  • Study was totally wrong...

    This study is completely wrong. My personal e-mail has been in the cloud since the 90's when Yahoo started offering e-mail services. I even pay for their better services. BUT, in a business it's not always best. Especially small/medium businesses.

    But this report of the cost and factors is completely and entirely incorrect. My cost per employee is currently about $2/gigabyte per year for in-house e-mail. I use Kerio Mail Server which contributes a lot to that low cost. And this setup is 100% configurable to our needs, which cloud e-mail is NOT.

    Question: Answer: Results:
    No. of users? I'm unlimited!!! Wrong!
    Ops Model Low touch Wrong!
    Cost $2/month Wrong!
    Storage Type Who gives a rat? Too many options, both on-site and off! Wrong!
    Storage Costs Where did 3.75 come from? Wrong!
    Storage Amount Another wrong assumption! WRONG!
    Tape Backup Who backs up to tape anymore? WRONG!
    Client Most in-house offer both fat and thin client. Mine has web-mail, uses Outlook and even works 100% with the iPhone as if it is Exchange.

    This article is so wrong it's silly! Terrible reporting. Terrible!