The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Enterprise Emails

Combined, outsourcing email may have the greatest effect on increased email security. According to The Radicati Group, in 2007, the hosted e-mail market, including corporate and consumer mailboxes, totaled 1.4 billion mailboxes. Over the next four years, the group expects this figure to increase at an average annual rate of 9%, totaling nearly 2 billion mailboxes by year-end 2011. That’s a lot of viruses dumped before they light on unsuspecting business machines.

Sara Radicati, president and CEO of Radicati said the hosted e-mail market is heating up with the release of Microsoft Hosted Exchange Server 2007, and “ … its increasing adoption by many leading and up and coming service providers,” as the latest Microsoft hosted platform opens the way for more advanced features and functionality, such as wireless support, e-mail security, unified communications, and more.

The group attributes further growth to the growing appreciation of hosted e-mail solutions as a cost-effective alternative to in-sourced messaging platforms, since they require no on-site deployment or maintenance. Radicati also said renewed competition is driving the price of hosted e-mail, making it more affordable.

To determine whether you should outsource your enterprise email, weigh the following pros and cons:


1) Costs are fixed based on the number of users.

2) Gets new users/groups up and running quickly or for specific periods of time.

3) Outsources server and patch management, system availability, and end-user support headaches to trusted 3rd party expert.

4) Frees up IT staff for other projects.

5) Consistent with trend to outsource non-core business operations.

6) Easily solves multiple office/geographic spread needs.

7) Possibly reduces energy costs / carbon imprint since it reduces the number of servers the enterprise needs.

8) Adds additional layers of security to email.


1) Requires a change in status quo to trusting 3rd party with critical email operations.

2) Doesn’t leverage existing hardware equipment or expertise.

3) May cause compliance and regulatory problems.

4) Integration is trickier with the Cloud vs. premise-based gear, but this problem exists in other areas and is therefore not completely avoidable.

5) Poses security issues of sensitive data at the 3rd party level.