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On-Premise vs. Cloud-Based Email Archiving: How to Determine Which Email Archiving Solution is Best for Your Organization.

There are several email archiving solutions available in the market today — the most popular of which involve either on-premise email archiving or cloud-based email archiving. Choosing the solution that meets the needs of your organization is critical. The following guidebook will walk you through the steps of evaluating both email archiving solutions to determine which one is best for your organization.

A Basic Breakdown of On-Premise vs. Cloud-Based Email Archiving

A basic breakdown of the two email archiving solutions looks something like this:

An on-premise email archiving solution, aka a self-contained appliance, is typically deployed in-house to handle the process of archiving – capturing all emails to an indexed database, making the emails searchable and accessible.

A cloud-based email archiving solution, which is offered by some of the largest vendors in the software industry (i.e. Microsoft and Google), captures all emails and indexes this data in a secured cloud environment.

While the basic comparison of both email archiving solutions may tell you everything you need to know, there’s a few more things to consider to ensure you’re investing in the best solution available to your organization. The following exercise will help you better narrow down which is best for you:

The Two Most Important Questions To Ask When Selecting an Email Archiving Solution

The decision of which email archiving solution to use — cloud-based email archiving vs. on-premise email archiving— starts with asking yourself two very simple questions:

  • What does my current in-house IT infrastructure look like?
  • Does my organization have a philosophy on cloud computing?

The reason answering these questions is important is because an email archiving solution should be looked upon as an investment — not only in the time and effort it takes to implement the new solution, but also potentially in terms of new hardware, software and other startup costs.

Answering these two questions will help you begin the process of finding an archiving solution by assessing your organizational capacities and beliefs as well as your current IT infrastructure:

What does my current in-house IT infrastructure look like?

The size of your organization is more often than not directly proportional to how advanced your IT department is.

For instance, a small organization will likely not have as large an IT department as a Fortune 500 company. Instead, a smaller company may have a few people dedicated to IT and, to fill in the gaps, may rely upon third-party software providers. A Fortune 500 company, however, likely has hundreds of employees dedicated to various IT tasks, not to mention a robust IT infrastructure.

Larger organizations with dedicated IT departments more often than not already have the IT infrastructure needed to handle an on-premise email archiving solution. This is unlike smaller organizations with little to no IT department that typically rely on cloud-based services due to the fact that they have no IT experts on staff, nor the infrastructure to support an on-premise set up.

But the size and depth of your company’s IT department should not be the ultimate indicator of which email archiving solution is best for your organization. If only it were this simple. Your organization likely has unique needs, not to mention beliefs, best practices and processes, that will influence which type of solution is best. This leads to asking yourself the next question in the process.

Does my organization have a philosophy on cloud computing?

The overall philosophy of your organization towards the cloud will undoubtedly have a make or break impact on whether you go with a cloud-based solution vs. an on-premise solution.

For instance, if you’re the director of your organization’s IT department and you’re staunchly against the cloud for whatever reason, you’re less likely to turn to a cloud-based solution for your email archiving needs — regardless of whether it’s the smarter of the two options or not. If this is the case, then the on-premise email archiving solution likely makes the most sense.

Conversely, if you’re a smaller organization with no real IT hierarchy, but you’ve embraced cloud technology, then the answer is more obvious — the cloud-based solution would seem ideal.

Now that you’ve hopefuly figured out the two most important things about your organization’s IT needs/beliefs, you’re ready to evaluate how each email archiving solution aligns with your long and short term goals from not only a storage perspective, but also in terms of cost, management and accessibility of your data.

Further evaluating these key areas of importance will ensure you’re finding the archiving solution capable of providing the most effective return on investment for your organization.

What Are Your Organization’s Current and Future Storage Needs?

Your storage needs will likely have a major impact on whether you go with on-premise vs. a cloud-based email archiving.

For instance, if your organization has hundreds of employees then it makes sense to choose a solution with as much space as you need to accommodate the activity of hundreds of different emails users, each of whom is sending and receiving numerous emails on a daily basis.

Conversely, if you’re smaller organization with a few dozen employees, having a solution with a large amount of storage capacity may not be a priority. In general, the following rings true when it comes to the storage capabilities of cloud-based email vs. on-premise email archiving.

  • Cloud = Unlimited — Cloud-connected email archiving solutions typically offer unlimited amounts of storage space, meaning you’ll likely pay a monthly subscription rate to maintain these unlimited storage capabilities.
  • On-premise = Limited — on-premise email archiving solutions typically offer a limited amount of storage space, meaning you’ll need to purchase more when you’ve hit capacity.

And because the storage capabilities of the email archiving solution you’re considering directly relate to the associated expense your organization will incur, it’s important to next consider the cost implications of cloud-based vs. on-premise email archiving.

What Are the Short/Long Term Cost Implications of Each Archiving Solution?

As mentioned above, the cost of an email archiving solution likely depends on what type of storage your organization requires. Generally speaking, the cost breakdown for cloud-based vs. on-premise email archiving looks something like this:

  • On-Premise Email Archiving — Most non-cloud email archiving solutions are priced by capacity – meaning you’ll spend more money to purchase more storage space as needed. An on-premise solution will also tend to have a higher startup cost in order to purchase and implement hardware and software. However, it will not require a continuous allocation of budget over time unless you require more space. In summation, your organization can look at an on-premise email archiving solution as more of a capital expense.
  • Cloud-Based Email Archiving — Cloud-based email archiving solutions, which typically include unlimited storage, are sold by the number of users or “seats” needed. While the cloud can become more expensive over time, your organization won’t need to shell out a bunch of money for start up costs and will never have to worry about using up all of its storage. Unlike the on-premise email archiving solution, the cost of cloud archiving is spread out over time by the aforementioned subscription rates. In summation, your organization can look at a cloud-based email archiving solution as more of an operating expense.

In addition to storage and cost attributes, each email archiving solution requires a different investment in time and personnel in order to properly manage the solution.

Who Will Manage the Email Archiving Solution I Select?

While the management of the archiving solution ultimately depends on what your current IT set up look likes, the following gives a general idea of the investment needed to properly manage each type of archiving solution:

  • On-Premise Email Archiving — If you’re considering an on-premise email archiving solution, then chances are you already have the IT infrastructure needed in terms of equipment and personnel to adequately manage the archiving process. If not, then you’ll most definitely need someone in-house who is responsible for managing and monitoring the email archiving solution, as well as maintain the hardware. This may require hiring a new employee. It may also require you to re-purpose current employee responsibilities. In summation, an on-premise solution requires more hands-on management.
  • Cloud-Based Email Archiving — As mentioned earlier, a benefit of cloud-based email archiving solutions is that they are typically managed by third-party professionals who essentially serve as your go-to IT support specialist. You will likely not be required to hire anyone to help implement, manage or monitor a cloud-based solution. In summation, cloud-based email archiving is more of a “set it and forget it” solution.

While management is important, having a versatile set of accessibility capabilities of your email archiving solution is paramount.

What Type of Accessibility Do You Want Your Email Archiving Solution to Have?

The accessibility of your archived emails differs very little from one email archiving solution to the other. In general, accessibility capabilities for cloud-based vs. email archiving looks something like this:

  • On-Premise Email Archiving — Accessibility for on-premise solutions are typically dictated by in-house IT experts — meaning if you’re the IT director than it’s up to you where, when and how someone with permission can access archived emails.
  • Cloud-Based Email Archiving — Accessibility for cloud-based solutions is typically an option to be discussed with your third party provider — meaning you set up the access and control preferences and permissions along with the person in charge of managing your solution.

As you can see, accessibility capabilities are pretty similar from one solution to the next — in the end, the decision on which email archiving solution to choose comes down to which solution gives you the most peace of mind.

Finding a Peace of Mind with Your Email Archiving Solution

The last and perhaps most important question to ask before selecting an archiving solution is determining whether peace of mind is important when it comes to your archived email.

For instance, an on-premise email archiving solution allows for a peace of mind only your in-house IT department can provide. This is because an on-premise solution set up by your IT staff is hardwired into your existing setup and is managed according to your infrastructure preferences. Therefore, anything that goes wrong internally will have a direct impact on your email archiving capabilities. The ball is always in your court when using an on-premise solution.

A cloud-based email archiving solution is slightly different. A native cloud-based email archiving solution, such as Microsoft Exchange, has the backing of Microsoft — giving you the peace of mind only a major tech company like Microsoft can provide. A third-party email archiving solution, unlike native, relies upon the competency and existing software infrastructure of other reputable providers (i.e. Amazon, Dell etc.). The peace of mind achievable in both scenarios is palpable.

The Intradyn Difference

Intradyn offers a single email archiving solution, with flexible deployment options.

If it’s cloud-based email archiving you’re in need of, Intradyn offers the most cost-effective, reliable and scalable solution on the secure Amazon Web Services.

If it’s on-premise you’re interested in, Intradyn offers both a virtual applicance compatible with VMwareVSphere and Microsofot Hyper-V, as well as a physical hardware appliance built on Dell-based hardware

For more information about Intradyn’s singular email archiving solution, please contact us.

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