Outlook, paired with Exchange Server, has vastly more features than Gmail and other email services, especially considering there are hundreds of 3rd party add-ins available. (Most of these add-ins are listed in the Tools section on many of the pages within our site.)
You can read your email from anywhere, using a webmail interface looks almost like Outlook.
Hosted Exchange is an affordable solution for small organizations who need calendar and contacts with other members of your Exchange organization. Some hosted Exchange providers include a small Sharepoint site with the mailboxes.
Over-the-air access to your mailbox (including calendar and contacts) using Blackberry's BES or Exchange ActiveSync (supported by Windows mobile phones, iPhone, Androids).
Many hosting service provide a free license for Outlook 2010. While we recommend using an Office suite for the best experience, some users may need an additional license for Outlook on another computer.
Cost: about $7/month and up depending on the hosting company, your storage space needs, and the level of support you need.
Yes and no. While saving money is important, you don't want to pinch pennies. Based on reports from others who have tried the cheap hosts, choosing the cheapest host is not the best value. Customer service is often lacking and service outages more frequent.
Most hosting providers advertise a 99.9% uptime guarantee - this is still nearly 90 hours of downtime a year. While all hosts need some downtime for installing updates, the better hosts are rarely down for other reasons.
Some hosts offer al la cart pricing - others offer everything in one package. While al la cart pricing can be less expensive, if you need most of the features, you lose any savings.
My recommendation: avoid the lowest cost providers. Compare the costs and features offered and pick the best plan for your needs. Also, go with Exchange 2010 - you want the latest and greatest version of Exchange. While many of the hosts offer free migration services, its better to start on the newest version.
Before looking for a hosting provider, you need to determine what features and service your users need
- What mobile devices do your users use?
- How much mailbox space do your users need? (There is nothing worse than a small mailbox quota. Using pst files to get past small mailbox quotas is poor mailbox management. Get a hosting plan that will meet your users needs without frequent archiving.)
- Do you want or need public folders? If so, will SharePoint work suffice as a substitute? (Exchange 2010 SP1 configured for hosting accounts does not support public folders)
- What protocols are allowed besides Outlook Anywhere (RPC over HTTP), POP, IMAP, Web (Outlook Web Access)?
- When you need to make configuration changes, do you need to go through a limited Control Panel to make changes, do you have to go through their helpdesk, or can you use Terminal Services or other remote access to connect to the machine directly?
- Do you have access to the Exchange Management Console and Exchange shell? Are you limited in the cmdlets you can use?
- Can you use Exchange filtering, including Intelligent Message Filtering, Recipient Filtering, etc?
- Does email go through any other filters, such as anti-virus or anti-spam solutions (Symantec, Barracuda)?
- Can you use Public Folders? (Exchange 2010 SP1 configured for hosting accounts does not support public folders)
- Is it an Active Directory Domain- do users log on as "HOSTINGPROVIDER\User1" or is it personalized as "YOURCOMPANY\User1"?
- How are Backups managed?
- What is the guaranteed uptime \ are there any 'maintenance windows'?
- Is disk space shared, so users who need more space can 'borrow' it from users who need less or is it assigned to specific mailboxes?
MailStreet's Microsoft Exchange Server hosting provides enterprise-class reliability for a low monthly cost. By selecting MailStreet, you enable your organization to reap the benefits of enterprise messaging without the high costs associated with implementation and maintenance of an in-house system.
Office 365 is hosted by Microsoft. At its heart is the familiar, rich Office applications customers use and love, now offered as a cloud service, so it's always up to date. Office 365 brings enterprise-grade services to organizations of all sizes, from online meetings to sharing documents to business-class email. Per user licensing means customers can download and use Office on their favorite devices (online or off), while IT administrators keep control over the organization's workloads from a single, easy to use console.
With Exchange 2010, team collaboration is easier than ever. Effortless sharing of documents, calendars, contacts, tasks, and notes saves you time and money. At the office, on your BlackBerry or iPhone, or via Outlook Web App, SherWeb's hosted Exchange brings you the connectivity you need to reach new heights of productivity. Includes 100 MB Sharepoint site.
Hosted Business E-mail and Collaboration (A list of Hosted Exchange providers maintained by Microsoft)
Exchange 2010 SP1 Information for Hosted Service Providers (May be useful for companies considering a Hosted Exchange solution)