Yes. You should outsource your e-mail

Yes. You should outsource your e-mail

Summary: In response to yesterday's post about how Google may soon let you host your email systems (under your domain names) on its servers (powered by GMail), ZDNet reader JM James thinks I was off my rocker when I wrote:In fact, I'm willing to bet that better than 90 percent of the businesses currently in-sourcing their email can't legitimately justify the practice.Responded James via ZDNet's TalkBack:This is a joke, right?...

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In response to yesterday's post about how Google may soon let you host your email systems (under your domain names) on its servers (powered by GMail), ZDNet reader JM James thinks I was off my rocker when I wrote:

In fact, I'm willing to bet that better than 90 percent of the businesses currently in-sourcing their email can't legitimately justify the practice.

Responded James via ZDNet's TalkBack:

This is a joke, right?...Do I really need to rehash for Mr. Berlind and the rest of the ZDNet community all of the reasons why mission critical applications and systems should not be outsourced? Does "Salesforce.com" ring a bell? What is wrong with you? Are you a shill for some [Software as a Service] SaaS vendor?..Mr. Berlind, you have gone way too far this time...I suggest you get your nose back to the grindstone for a bit of time and learn how IT really works, recharge yourself or something. Posts like this turn your credibility to zero.

The key phrase here is "mission critical." So, one question I have for Mr. James is, of all the stuff being outsourced today, what of it isn't mission critical?  Who on earth would outsource something that isn't critical to the mission of the business? Competitive advantage? Now that's a different story. If your insourced IT delivers a unique  competitive advantage that can't be had through commodity software, then I absolutely agree that it should probably be insourced. It's one of your trade secrets. But email? There's no doubt in my mind that when used effectively, email can be a great competitive weapon. But aside from the handful of hand-built customized competitive advantage-driving systems that integrate messaging and email into their functionality, are any of us really that deluded to believe that insourcing something as basic as email can make us more competitive than the next company (setting aside those companies with real security concerns that can prove their insourced system is more secure than the outsourced one).

James invokes the recent Salesforce outages as proof that I've lost my marbles.  How could I possibly recommend outsourcing to a SaaSer like Salesforce or Google when the SaaSers can't seem to keep their systems running? First, I didn't recommend outsourcing to a SaaSer. Not that I wouldn't. But let's not put words in my mouth.  There are other ways to outsource e-mail. Centerbeam for example would be happy to  take over the management of your Exchange Servers (if that's what you have). According Centerbeam spokesperson Brian Johnson:

What we offer to do is the hard work for people that they can't afford to do themselves.  We manage their Exchange Servers, their desktops, every point on the network, the temperature inside every server.  When you have the infrastructure for thousands of customers, we can offer them a high level of service for very little money.  We charge $45 per user per month.  That covers desktop management (anti virus, backup and restore everyday, 24/7 800# dial up helpdesk, server management, email management, VPN services, etc.).   The last thing a banker wants to do is have anybody on staff running an Exchange server.  All a banker wants is more bankers and salespeople on staff. They don't want a Microsoft Certified Exchange Engineer on staff who is only available for one shift a day.  Even if you do run an Exchange Server with three shifts of engineers 7 days a week, they'll be advising you on best practices such as backup and restore. They'll say you need a Storage Area Network (SAN) and need to send tapes to Iron Mountain everyday.  The economic model for a banker to do that is very intimidating.  But when you spread a best practice across thousands of customers, it allows a company like ours to offer the service the banker needs at a reasonable cost.  We built a SAN.  One storage area network that we build supports thousands of users.  But none of those customers on their own could afford a SAN.

Setting aside any decisions regarding the type of company you might outsource your systems to (a hoster versus a SaaSer), the point is that a leveraged model (where an outsourcing outfit spreads the infrastucture costs across more users than you can) is not only going to save you a lot of money, but headaces too.  Salesforce.com's outtages were undoubtedly painful for many of Salesforce.com's customers.  Like the outages of the insourced saleforce automation systems out there weren't? I'll bet that Salesforce.com's outtages (on a percentage downtime basis) pale in comparison to the downtime record of in-sourced systems.  In the context of email, how about we look at this way? Raise your hand if you've used GMail, Yahoo Mail, AOL's mail or HotMail because you needed to send mail but couldn't get access to your corporate email system (for whatever reasons).  I don't know anyone who hasn't done this multiple times.  Email systems, as it turns out, aren't that easy to run 24/7.

Lastly, for a commodity system like email, what leverage do you have over your certified email engineer to keep the email systems up and running 24/7?  His or her job? Oh, that's what you want.  You'd rather spend time hiring and firing email engineers than making money for your company? Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are a lot easier to negotiate and enforce with service providers than they are during an employee's annual review. 

Maybe I am off my rocker.

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  • no advantage by outsourcing email

    1) the bandwidth is already there in the form of internet access.

    2) All email takes is running Exchange servers. They are pretty low maintenance.

    3) Outsourcing requires the business to pay a monthly fee. Keeping it inhouse is far more cost
    effective.
    zzz1234567890
    • Advantages

      1) By outsourcing email, the email provider uses their bandwidth blocking viruses, spam, etc. Your bandwidth is used ONLY for legitimate mail. This can be significant!

      2) Exchange and low-maintenance do not belong in the same sentence.

      3) Depends on the size of the organization, and how many server gurus you already have on staff. A company of florists, photographers, accountants, or lawyers would save money by not hiring a geek to do what an outsourced email solution can provide.

      It is important to note that some businesses have "special needs" when it comes to email, such as hierarchies of shared inboxes, programs that handle certain messages, etc. Many email outsourcing shops cannot (or will not) do any custom configurations for these needs. There are also certain needs (security, accountability) that require a mail system to be kept completely inhouse-- but these are rare.
      RestonTechAlec
      • Replace Exchange with IMAP

        IMAP is very low maintainance. If the MS people want calendars they can use OpenXchange on a Linux server; it works with Outlook.

        You can still outsource the geek without outsourcing the E-mail server; small companies have been doing that for years.
        balsover
    • Keeping Windows servers and Exchange servers running 24x7 is NOT something

      that does not take time. It takes a lot of time to keep it patched and backed up, software upgrades, hardware upgrades, employee turnover, etc. Managers do not need all of those headaches.

      About the only people that benifit from insourced email are the engineers running the servers. They keep the managers in fear. It's what is called job security. But, Managers should not be spending time hiring and firing engineers for comodity services.

      I have seen all the problems over the years. I end up sending urgent communications to the persons Yahoo or Hotmail account.
      DonnieBoy
    • Wireless Mobility and Converged Communications Services

      Just happened to see this argument about insourcing vs. outsourcing for email. Convergence of all forms of messaging with voice telephony is becoming "virtual" and moving away from the wired desktop and premise-based servers. Just listen to what Microsoft has just been announcing this week at the GSM show!

      Further, federated presence is becoming the new umbrella for controlling all personal contact accessibility, both real-time and asynchronous, and that is going to be a "public" service offering across and within enterprise domains.

      So, what you all are arguing about is already starting to change and converge, as witness Microsoft's consolidation of their Exchange and Instant Messaging groups. Person-to-person communications is all going to become a converged set of services, sharing storage, directories, and multi-modal device endpoints, that have to serve the individual user wherever he is and with a choice of modalities. Where such communication activities and content are logged, stored, and archived is another issue of service. Supporting device independence at the desktop and for handheld device interfaces is still another issue of service through software. Controlling communication usage and content access, as well as customizing the use of traditional business process software applications, those will remain the real responsibilities of the enterprise, not the service technologies themselves.

      The question is, who will you trust to provide those services and for what price?

      Read the handwritings on the wall, people!
      artr_z
  • Email servers are a commodity. Email contents are not.

    Mr. Berlind is absolutely correct is quite a large number of his statements, and he does indeed provide a compelling arguement for outsourcing email. But he has made some mistakes, which is where we differ on this topic.

    The first number one problem here, is that Mr. Berlind's original blog post is titled "Google to provide email hosting?" and is 100% about outsourcing your email to Google. I put forth the question "Now, let's look at the premise: assuming I would outsource my email, why would I outsource it to Google, of all companies?"

    Mr. Berlind has not even addressed this at all. Not in the slightest. He provides a good (but flawed) arguement in favor of outsourcing. He does not even touch the idea that Google should be the one to do it. Mr. Ou adds a quick little list of why, even if outsourcing email is the right choice for your company, Google is not the one to do it (http://www.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=17781&messageID=349545&start=-1). Admittedly, he did not go into nearly as much length or detail as I would have, but his comments really don't need much explaining (except for the user interface bit; GMail is pretty decent as far as web mail goes, and is garbage compared to a desktop app, is a good way of putting it).

    Now, onto the topic of the current blog post by Mr. Berlind: "Yes. You should outsource your e-mail".

    I say, "No. You should NOT outsource your e-mail".

    "So, one question I have for Mr. James is, of all the stuff being outsourced today, what of it isn't mission critical?"

    That all depends on the business, but I have not encountered a business that did not consider email to be mission critical since about 1998, if not earlier than that. Furthermore, the fact that companies *are* outsourcing portions of their business process does not mean that they *should*. I can think of a number of anologies to this, but this principle is best summed up by David Hume: "One cannot derive an 'ought' from an 'is'". If everyone in New York jumped off the Empire State Building, that certainly does mean that I should as well.

    "But aside from the handful of hand-built customized competitive advantage-driving systems that integrate messaging and email into their functionality, are any of us really that deluded to believe that insourcing something as basic as email can make us more competitive than the next company (setting aside those companies with real security concerns that can prove their insourced system is more secure than the outsourced one)."

    This is a correct statement on the technological level, but an incorrect statement on the business level. On the business level, it is not the email system itself that matter; if carrier pigeons were ferrying letters printed up on Guttenberg presses at the speed of light, businesses would use it. What matter on the business level is the contents of the email, that is the mission critical part of email. Email is the lifeblood of companies, having replaced to a large extent phones, couriers, postal systems, fax machines, and so forth. What is contained in an email is often of an incredibly sensitive or important nature. Furthermore, archived emails are a frequently a knowledge repository. There is a reason why my personal email archives reach back to 2000 (and would go back to 1996, if I did not have a lapse in judgement in 2000). My major disappointment with email is that the tools are still rather primitive for mining that data.

    Any outsourcing situation has to acheive at least one of two goals: better value, or less cost. There are two ways to handle outsourced email: one is the way most small business do it, to have an external host, and they pick up the mail via POP3 and store it internally. The other way is to have an external IMAP or Exchange server offsite, and leave the data there. In the first situation, all you have outsourced are two TCP/IP transactions, one for SMTP and one for POP3. There is no added value here. And there is no reduced cost. If this is all your needs are, get the cheapest server you can find, load a Linux or BSD on it, and load qmail. For $500 in hardware, and the recurring fees for DNS and domain name registration, you are providing the same level of service to your company that the external provider is. Heck, your existing Windows server (nearly every business larger than 10 employees has one now) comes with an SMTP and POP3 server on it. So outsourcing this level of email service adds zero value and costs a lot more. Use those, if you don't feel like getting a second server. The second option also adds no value (again, you can put Exchange onto a server yourself) and costs more. Look at the numbers you quote from Centerbeam: $45 per user per month. In a company of 10 people, that is $5,400 per year. That is more expensive than a server with Windows 2003 and Exchange, plus a lot of data AND a backup solution! Go the open source route (didn't you guys just blog about Scalix a day or two ago?) and you have enough money left over to buy every employee an XBox 360 for a bonus. Gee, that doesn't seem like such a value at all, does it?

    "What we offer to do is the hard work for people that they can't afford to do themselves."

    I know this is you quoting someone else, so I am now arguing with them, not you. As I show above, anyone who isn't working on the US Government's budget can see the math problems here. How much does it cost to run your own SMTP/POP3 server? It takes what, a few hours to properly setup and establish a server using either *Nix with qmail or Scalix, or Windows with the built-in servers or Exchange? The Windows route is especially useful, because all of your account management is being handled via Active Directory, so that is one less system to learn. Is an outsourced server, regardless of what it is (POP3 or IMAP/Exchange) going to integrate with your in-house identity management system? I think not. What, you're going to set up a PPTP connection to their system, do a trust delegation to their AD system and yours, just so you don't have to manage separate usernames and passwords? Or would you prefer some awful webadmin system to go in and change stuff?

    "That covers desktop management (anti virus, backup and restore everyday, 24/7 800# dial up helpdesk, server management, email management, VPN services, etc.)."

    The in-house solution, except for 24x7 support, is still cheaper. Sorry.

    "All a banker wants is more bankers and salespeople on staff. They don't want a Microsoft Certified Exchange Engineer on staff who is only available for one shift a day. Even if you do run an Exchange Server with three shifts of engineers 7 days a week, they'll be advising you on best practices such as backup and restore. They'll say you need a Storage Area Network (SAN) and need to send tapes to Iron Mountain everyday."

    This guy makes me forget just about every bad example I have ever given in a ZDNet TalkBack. Bankers have all of these things anyways. Bankers run a 24x7 database of millions if not billions of database entries where even a moment's worth of downtime can cost millions of dollars. This organization is going to be unable to support an additional few servers for email? But let's pretend he didn't say "banker". Let's pretend he said "small business owner". If having these hordes of MSCEs on staff is a problem for him, he may want to check out *Nix+qmail. I personally cannot vouch for Scalix (never used it, relatively new), but *Nix+qmail is a time tested, battle hardened system. It requires zero maintenance. None. Heck, Exchange, when properly configured, doesn't need any maintenance anyways. And at the end of the day, what good is his elite commando team of MSCE's going to do for a business owner if that business does not have someone on their end who can actually understand what they are saying and how to work with them? The only time his MSCE army is a decided advatnage is when their server starts behaving erratically and the problem is definitely on their end. If their software does something like that, where you need an MSCE to troubleshoot something that was working fine, then maybe that software isn't very good.

    "[T]he point is that a leveraged model (where an outsourcing outfit spreads the infrastucture costs across more users than you can) is not only going to save you a lot of money, but headaces (sic) too."

    Economics of scale is an idea I can buy into. But if they are leveraging economics of scale so well, why do they need to charge $45/user/month? Earthlink charges me $6/month for a POP3 only account. Is Centerbeam's economics of scale really so bad that they need to charge nearly 8 times as much for Exchange services? Maybe I need to reconsider those Exchange servers at my company, and put my new BSD server there to task with the email duties, the idea that Exchange is 8 times more expensive (with economics of scale, so it must be a few dozen times more expensive for our 5 person company!) than basic POP3 is total hogwash. Economics of scale distributes the cost of a Windows & Exchange license to something like 25 cents per user. So they're just ripping you off. Sorry, I don't like to be rpped off, and neither does my boss.

    And what headaches are they really solving for me? Managing and maintaining an email server? It seems to me like they are giving me new problems, not taking away any existing ones. Let's make a headache list:

    In-house:
    - Hardware failure
    - Network failure (immediate Internet connection and LAN only)
    - User maintenance
    - Initial installation and configuration
    - Backup/restore
    - Patching
    - Security (95% of this is a subset of install/config)

    Outsourced:
    -/+ Hardware failure (should be be a problem if they are doing their job right)
    - Network failure (their network AND immediate local Internet connection and LAN only, we've doubled our headaches)
    - User maintenance (compunded by it not being part of my local authentication scheme)

    So really, all I am giving up is responsibility for the hardware, backups, and maintenance. As I have already stated, email servers require nearly zero maintenance. I am patching my internal systems anyways, adding one more item to the list. Backups, again, I should be doing this anyways, what's one more server to have dump to tape/SAN/NAS? And for this I would be paying $45/user/month, which is much more expensive than a single Windows server in a 10 person environment? And if I have a large company, I can apply economics of scale to myself. An Exchange server can handle 1,000 users without a problem. Can my IT budget handle $45,000 per month for email alone? That's the cost of adding 6 MSCEs to my staff on a full time basis! And then I could have two of them monitoring my servers 24x7. Hmm, maybe I had better stop discussing Centerbeam's business model before his investors pull out now. Or better yet, maybe I should call those investors and ask them if they'd be interested in this bridge I have to sell, it connect Brooklyn to Manhattan...

    "Raise your hand if you've used GMail, Yahoo Mail, AOL's mail or HotMail because you needed to send mail but couldn't get access to your corporate email system (for whatever reasons)."

    I'll agree with you on this one. It's happened to all of us. On the other hand, this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. If I had the money to pay for Centerbeam's services, I would have the money for redundant email servers, in which case the only thing that would take me down would be a disaster (natural disaster, virus/worm, fire, etc.) or a complete network outtage, in which case my users would not be able to reach GMail, HotMail, etc. or Centerbeam's servers. So once again, this flounders on the cost issue. And also remember, I'm comparing Centerbeam's Exchange servers to in-house Exchange servers. If you compare a plain old outsource POP3 to an in-house *Nix server, the numbers are even more in favor of the in-house solution.

    "Email systems, as it turns out, aren't that easy to run 24/7."

    I have been doing it for years. The only thing that ever goes wrong are things that take down an entire server, or the whole network. Again, the price of in-house vs. outsourced makes this point hard to argue.

    "Lastly, for a commodity system like email, what leverage do you have over your certified email engineer to keep the email systems up and running 24/7? His or her job? Oh, that's what you want. You'd rather spend time hiring and firing email engineers than making money for your company? Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are a lot easier to negotiate and enforce with service providers than they are during an employee's annual review."

    Ah yes, my most favorite topic in the world! I guess I *do* have to rehash this topic. OK, time to brew a fresh pot of coffee!

    First, some links to the extensive library of my thoughts on this subject:

    * http://www.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=16070&messageID=318442&start=-1

    ^^^^^^^^^ Number one most important post about the subject

    * http://www.zdnet.com/5208-11406-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=16244&messageID=321399&start=-1

    * http://www.zdnet.com/5208-11406-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=16278&messageID=322734

    * http://www.zdnet.com/5208-11406-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=16324&messageID=324436&start=-1

    * http://www.zdnet.com/5208-10532-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=16070&messageID=318442&start=-1

    Wow! There's a lot of real-world, real-life, in-the-trenches experience in those links!

    Now, to be fair, I don't always think that outsourcing is always bad, indeed, I have presented a compelling business case for it under certain circumstances: http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=184332&messageID=1921068&id=2926438

    My direct response to Mr. Berlind's statement. Have you ever worked someplace and had a hard time with the customer, and the boss pulled you aside and said, "look, I know you're right and the customer is wrong, but we have to swallow our pride and give them what they want"? I have. That's the way companies work, as long as it is profitable for them. As soon as giving the customer want they want is no longer possible, they say "no". If a company cannot deliver on SLA (no measurability, no proof of failure, little enforceability, blah blah blah TPVs stink blah blah blah, just some self deprecation there at this late hour), you are tied to them for a contract. And what are you going to do? Spank the CEO for being naughty? It isn't like the underpaid, underexperience, fresh-from-working-at-McDonalds-but-know-how-to-setup-a-CounterStrike-server kids who fill Third Party Vendors are going to be held responsible if a customer is lost. I am a big fan of "The Buck Stops Here". TPVs always manage to find a reason why it isn't their fault, SLA wasn't truly violated, etc. For a TPV, "The Buck Stops Here" really means "Your Money Ends Up In Our Bank Account".

    Employee annual reviews are a lot easier to manage than SLAs. I can directly measure and manage my employee's success. SLAs are notoriously difficult to manage. I have seen cases where a customer spent nearly as much time and money simply managing SLA than they did to manage the service themselves. That is rediculous. If you think SLAs are easy to manage and enforce, try an experiment: call your cable company to make a service call. You will get a 4 hour time frame where you must be home (heaven forbid if you're in the bathroom when they come by, "The Cable Man Knocks Once" would be a good film), and chances are they will be late anyways. If you're lucky, they'll give you some excuse about it. I remember working for a TPV and being instructed by managers to "invent" weather conditions that caused SLA misses, since poor weather was an SLA escape clause. How much money will you spend just hiring lawyers to 1) write the SLA 2) help you get out of the contract when SLA keeps being broken 3) sue to recoup the costs to your business when SLA is blown? If I have a bad employee who makes a serious goof, I can take them to task, or even fire them if need be and replace them with a more competant person. If SLA is blown, there is no recourse.

    Finally, there is the issue of commoditization itself. Declining levels of quality are the largest result of commoditization, outside of pricing. Look at cars. The only reason why cars improved one bit after 1972, is being foreign competition started selling better cars at a better price in the 80's. Before that, American cars had become commoditized to the point where they were all equally junk. Now, American cars are often significantly better than their foreign counterparts, because they were forced out of commodity status. Consumer electronics is another example. Even though cell phones are cheaper now than five years ago, I spend more on them because their quality stinks. My year-old cell phone has worse battery life now than my friend's 5 year old analog phone. The worst thing that can happen, outside of a destructive monopoly, is commoditization. It freezes the desire to improve quality and replaces it with ruthless cost cutting to match the price cutting. When you cannot compete on features or quality because everyone is the same, then no one cares about it. Again, cell phones. At this point, consumers expect poor service, because that is the price we paid to save money. There are no "premium" or "luxury" carriers out there (well, Verizon is a bit pricey, and they do seem to have slightly better coverage, from my experience), but in general, cell phones stink. Why? Because with today's price slashing, no one can afford to innovate.

    J.Ja
    Justin James
    • What a load of garbage you spew out. Why trust something so important to

      engineers that do not have the time to do the job right. You can not afford to have engineers available 24x7 at multiple data centers. Your internal email service is probably 100x more likely to be down that Googles. Your sensitive data is about 100x more likely to get stolen or lost on your internal system than with Google. Your email on a Windows server on your site is about 10000x more likely to get hacked that if it was stored at Google. And, remember, most of the security problems are from within. Keep your email at Google and that is eliminated.


      Do you realize how stupid you post was???
      DonnieBoy
      • Do you actually have anything substantial to say, or just screaming?

        "Your internal email service is probably 100x more likely to be down that Googles."

        http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=183520&messageID=1950201&id=4260638

        Looks like GMail was down for more total minutes recently than my servers here have been down all year.

        "You can not afford to have engineers available 24x7 at multiple data centers."

        If you actually read my post instead of getting all worked up because you saw something that may have upset your preconceived notions, you would have seen that I directly compared the cost of the Centerbeam service that Mr. Berlind touts as a good alternative, and in-house services, and you would have seen that for the cost of outsourcing, you can bring it in-house with money to spare.

        "Your sensitive data is about 100x more likely to get stolen or lost on your internal system than with Google."

        I must agree with this one, surprisingly. Not the "lost" part (backups are pretty easy to do), but with the "stolen" part. It's common knowledge that at least 70% of all "hacks" are inside jobs, typically by people who already have the root passwords anyways like sys admins. So thank you for that point, it is a valid one and a good one.

        "Your email on a Windows server on your site is about 10000x more likely to get hacked that if it was stored at Google."

        If you exclude inside jobs, I would have to say that this is absolutely false. I set up a server so that it is not accessable from outside the local network (no wireless here, either), unless the external user is on the VPN. That's some pretty tough security.

        More importantly, if you had not been so quick to perform a forum assualt, you would have read my post more carefully, and seen that at no point was I strictly talking Windows/Exchange. Throughout my post, I suggested *Nix/qmail, and showed many times throughout that it was a more cost effective, secure, and efficient way of doing things. Implying that I am a Microsoft zealot just shows that you did not read my post carefully - you simply overreacted and decided to start screaming.

        "Keep your email at Google and that is eliminated."

        OK, I get it... I have at least a 70% chance of being hacked from the inside, so if I store my data externally, my internal mischeif makers can't make mischief. But for whatever reason, people who make this argument seem to forget that the "70% of all hackers are internal" APPLIES TO ALL COMPANIES EQUALLY! Sheesh! What, you think Google is so special that 70% of the security breeches they may suffer don't come from the inside? No! All it means is that the hackers in my company can't get the data! In fact, Google is SO MUCH BIGGER than my company (5680 employees vs. 5, making Google) that if the 70% number holds true, they are 1,136 times more likely than my company to experience hacking attacks from the inside. No matter WHERE your email is stored, it will be potentially hacked. Google is a company filled with brilliant engineers. If one of those guys decides to go rooting through email, they are probably a zillion times more likely to suceed than any of the people in my company. The only reason why I can even "hack" this server, is because I'm the sys admin with the root passwords. My point is, sure, outsourcing email eliminates your own employees from doing the hack job, but now introduces someone else's employees into doing the hack job. At least my employees are people I know and have checked out. Who knows who the third party vendor is?

        Like so many people on the ZDNet TalkBacks, you sit there and spout out some pithy sayings about how everyone is an idiot for not agreeing with you, some phrases about "Windows in insecure" (and BTW, did I ever say it was?) patching is a nightmare (not really, to be totally honest with you, try it one day, it isn't bad), blah blah blah, but don't actually offer any substantial analysis, critical thinking, or logic/deductive reasoning.

        J.Ja
        Justin James
        • Man, write a book if you want to. You are still spewing garbage.

          Small to medium size business can NOT afford the employees to do email reliably. And, the staff you need keep up with spam and viruses is another thing.

          Employees can spend 15 minutes a day dealing with spam at small companies that do their own email.

          And, you can bet Google would figure out how to make it impossible for the average employee to read anybodys email. They would be exposed to millions in damage if they didn't.

          Do you have any idea how ridiculous your posts are?
          DonnieBoy
          • Still nothing substantial in your posts

            "Small to medium size business can NOT afford the employees to do email reliably. And, the staff you need keep up with spam and viruses is another thing."

            Show me some numbers. Show me how paying $45/month/user (Centerbeam's numbers) versus owning a server is cheaper. If they make sense, I'll agree with you. I'm a reasonable person, and not immune from making mistakes.

            But I will say, doing email reliably is not rocket science, nor is it expensive. All it takes are two dinky *Nix servers running free software. Having the two of them gives you reliability. The free software (qmail+clamav+spamassin) gives you security, anti-virus, and anti-spam. What do you think most of your email hosts out there are using? OK, they might be using sendmail, nothing wrong with that either. But by and large, they are running *Nix, in a configuration that is not difficult to replicate. So if you can show me some numbers instead of just screaming that I am "spewing garbage", I will be more than happy to agree with you. I would rather be right than to hold onto an incorrect beleif out of pride.

            "Employees can spend 15 minutes a day dealing with spam at small companies that do their own email."

            Or someone could install a simple spam filter on the server (or the clients) in 15 minutes. The choice is theirs. Personally, I receive between 50 and 100 spam emails a day. It takes me less than 60 seconds of my life total to deal with it, and that is with zero filtering at all. It's really easy, I hold the Control button and click on all the emails that are not from people I know, and have rediculous subject lines.

            "And, you can bet Google would figure out how to make it impossible for the average employee to read anybodys email. They would be exposed to millions in damage if they didn't."

            Yes, I definitely agree with this. But they also have some extremely brilliant people there, and probably at a much higher rate than the average company. A company with the brilliant people to secure something also have the brilliant people to hack something. I'm not saying that Google is super insecure by default. I'm saying that assuming that they would be awesome at outsourced email, based upon what? The success of GMail? means something. Hotmail is extremely successful too, and I can't remember the last time I heard of them being hacked, but I doubt many people want to outsource their email to Microsoft.

            "Do you have any idea how ridiculous your posts are?"

            On this one, no. So far, all you have done is go on and on about what an idiot I am. You have not said anything other than "you're so wrong, you're spewing garbage, you're clueless, etc." without actually saying why. So far you have said that companies will save oodles of money by outsourcing their email. You haven't shown a single number that demonstrates that. I have shown numbers which demonstrate quite the opposite. If you want to go around screaming that I'm an idiot, fine. But show me why I am an idiot. Until then, you are not making a good case for your beleifs. You say that my posts are rediculous, and I've seen you try to slam me in these forums before. Yet I do not recall you ever posting anything substantial that shows me where I am wrong. A few days ago, I disagreed with Mr. Berlind. He posted this blog as a response. It was well written and had a lot of correct, factual information in it. I disagreed, and chose to respond with the reasons why I disagreed, with facts, numbers, and so forth. You chose to disagree, and think that "you're a garbage spewing idiot" is going to change anyone's mind. It won't.

            J.Ja
            Justin James
    • And another thing, Google has some of the best tools on the planet for

      searching all of your old emails. And, with Gigabytes per user, you will never need to delete email for technical reasons. And, with Google, you can download and backup all of the email locally if you want, though the risk of somebody stealing the backup is probably not worth it. Google can do better backups than you can.

      Oh, and since you don't trust anybody, better start building that vault right now. Do NOT keep any money in a bank.
      DonnieBoy
    • agree - content and SLA

      Content - no company I know of is going to trust its emails to an external host. Sure, all that email goes through the cloud so it could be sniffed out, but that's quite different from having the entire email correspondence of the company in one place. When your institutional memory (embedded in the emails) goes out of your control, it's a significant vulnerability.

      Anyone who has managed agreements with SLAs knows the truth of jmjames' statements. To get the full benefits of SLAs, you're going to have to lawyer up to the max: the lawyer costs alone will far outrun the costs of maintaining your own email servers.
      dotkayk@...
  • Message has been deleted.

    DonnieBoy
  • Why do you keep your money in banks?

    1. It happened that banks collapsed but people still keep all their money in banks. So why text email is more important than real money? What is missing now is law that regulates email outsourcing and data in general. Law should assure people that nobody at email hosting company won't read theirs correspondence. Unfortunately this is harder do to than with money. You give your bank x $ and will get x $ back. This is simple. How do you make sure that nobody from Google team read your email. Probably only with PGP but then how to search emails, etc. It seems that telephone has similar problems but people get used to that someone from for example gov. can listen their conversations.

    2. I agree that Google or Yahoo mail systems up-time is better than in-source Exchange systems. Far more better. Last 10 months I worked for a big company and _every_ month there was problem with my email account. What _never_ happened with Google or Yahoo.

    3. I also bet that Salesforce has better up-time than 90% of mission critical in-house systems. There are simple no news at CNet that system X in company Y was down for 10 hours. Competition between companies like Salesforce will make up-time even better. What competition has internal IT department?
    gdaniluk@...
  • are not both correct?

    Email and other utilities should be available as a service - at much less cost and effort than they take right now. But outsourced/managed services are still way expensive. Till there is more automation, shared service thinking, continuous improvement it is still not priced as a utility.

    The whole labor management area, the biggest component of such services, is ripe for a revolution as I wrote in Frederick Taylor and Technology services

    http://dealarchitect.typepad.com/deal_architect/2006/01/frederick_taylo.html

    so James is correct we are not there. But there is no reason we should not be headed there
    vmirchan
  • It's inevitable!

    Outsourcing Email has been gaining Steam in the Small and Medium business sector for some time now, particularly hosted exchange solutions.

    The costs of servers, operating systems, backup devices, the software platform for the email, the administration, any annual hardware and software support contracts is just not justifiable, let alone adding any failover or redundancy to the equation.

    An outsourced solution gives a small or medium size business not only functionality, but all the features, security, and reliability the large insourced companies enjoy, at a fraction of the cost! Eventually the outsourcing companies will reach a point at which the reliability, and features they offer will far exceed what even the largest insourced companies can offer internally, and then they too will switch.

    Much like chosing the cardiologist for heart surgery over your physician, they are both doctors and capable of saving your life, but given the choice I'll go with the specialist when it's appropriate!
    bretts@...
    • Faulty logic

      "Outsourcing Email has been gaining Steam in the Small and Medium business sector for some time now, particularly hosted exchange solutions."

      Oh man, I love it when someone says something like this, I get to play MadLibs with it:

      "[X] has been gaining Steam in the [Y] for some time now, particularly [Y Prime]."

      Let's replace some of these variables and see if this logic actually means that something is right. I know! Let's try these variables:
      X = "Adolph Hitler"
      Y = "Elections"
      Y Prime = "Bavarian Elections"

      Hmm, maybe the idea that Hitler is gaining momentum is not such a great thing after all!

      This is one of my favorite techniques in symbolic logic; you take the syntactical structure of a logical argument, replace the variables with other variables, and see if the argument is still a good one. In this case, it most certain isn't.

      "The costs of servers, operating systems, backup devices, the software platform for the email, the administration, any annual hardware and software support contracts is just not justifiable, let alone adding any failover or redundancy to the equation."

      Where does this come from? What makes you think that the outsourced provider does not have the exact same costs as you? Once you go beyond a certain number of people, software license costs do not go lower per user. Hardware costs scale linearly as well within the same class of equipment. The only time a big provider saves money over in-house on hardware is if they can pack a ton of customers onto one machine, but charge them as if the costs were for a smaller machine (ie: put a few thousand 5 user accounts onto a $5,000 server, versus each customer having a $500 server). Worst of all, when the vendor is using free software like a *Nix plus sendmail or qmail, the customer is now paying for a hardware/software/people combination, when the software cost has already been removed. Leasing a car is never cheaper than owning a car, renting is never cheaper than owning a house (unless rents are suddenly not following housing costs), and so forth. You think email is special?

      "An outsourced solution gives a small or medium size business not only functionality, but all the features, security, and reliability the large insourced companies enjoy, at a fraction of the cost!"

      Again, not entirely true. For a five person company, the answer is "this is probably true, unless the company has special needs". For a large company, is is positively false, and demonstratively provably false.

      More importantly:

      The in-house solution does not need to support the overhead of sales and marketing people. When you outsource, you're also supporting facilities, HR overhead, etc. that you do not have to pay for in-house. Plus, your in-house team doesn't have to cost your company any more than its direct costs. An outsourced company has to cover it's direct cost to provide the service to you (which is nearly identical to what you would have to pay for it, since most costs scale almost linearly), plus marketing/sales, plus CEOs, CIOs, and other management that you already have, PLUS TURN A PROFIT. You think they will save so much money on the technical components of this equation, that they will cover the costs of those other items as well and still cost you less in the long run?

      "Eventually the outsourcing companies will reach a point at which the reliability, and features they offer will far exceed what even the largest insourced companies can offer internally, and then they too will switch."

      What makes you think that an outsourced company is necessarily any better than an in-house provider? What, hardware failure, network failure, misconfigurations, mistakes suddenly stop happening just because someone else is now responsible for them?

      "Much like chosing the cardiologist for heart surgery over your physician, they are both doctors and capable of saving your life, but given the choice I'll go with the specialist when it's appropriate!"

      And the specialised costs a lot more money than a GP. More to the point, email is pretty trivial in terms of running it. It is the IT equivalent of pulling a splinter. You don't need an internal medicine specialist or special surgeon to pull a splinter. You don't even need a doctor. Do it yourself. Why would I pay someone else to do the same work you can do yourself, with less headaches? Then again, I also do all of my own car repair, unless the cost of equipment to perform the repair is more than the lbor cost of a mechanic, and only then if it is equipment that I will never use again.

      J.Ja
      Justin James
      • I agree with you J.Ja...BUT Office 2007

        will NOT even have OUTLOOK.

        How will you KEEP your mail insourced then?
        Betelgeuse58
        • Home and Student Editions only

          Both of which are markets better served by Outlook Express or another consumer-grade piece of software. :) Outlook is overkill for a lot of businesses, let alone home users and academic users who are just using it to pick up from 1 POP3 account, and that is it.

          J.Ja
          Justin James
  • Too much has already been outsourced!

    In addition to that, there is this privacy issue going on. Isn't this just an easier way for the 'powers that be' to surreptitiously spy even more?
    Betelgeuse58