Do I Upgrade My Microsoft Exchange Server or Move to a Hosted Exchange Environment such as Office 365?

You’ve been successfully using Microsoft Exchange Server for years to manage your electronic communications, but now you realize an upgrade is needed. You need to increase server space, and would like to take advantage of online cloud services. Does it make sense to move to a hosted Exchange environment such as Office 365 or upgrade to Microsoft Exchange Server 2019?

Move to Office 365 or choose Microsoft Exchange Server 2019?

Upfront costs will deter many smaller businesses from upgrading to Microsoft Exchange Server 2019. The physical server cost as well as the Microsoft licensing expense, not to mention the additional space, power and IT resources required to manage servers add up to a considerable cost. In comparison, per-user licensing fees for Office 365 range from $4 to $20, depending upon subscription plans. While no exact number of employees warrants a move to a hosted exchange environment, businesses with less than 50 users typically have an easier decision. Small businesses are more likely to make the move to the cloud. Larger organizations have to weigh the pros and cons and financial implications of either solution.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2019

Microsoft realizes there is still a big market for an Exchange Server, particularly with the popularity of the Hybrid Cloud, and with companies whose compliance policies demand an on-premise environment. Microsoft says its Exchange Server 2019  is “designed to deliver security, performance and improved administration and management capabilities.”

Microsoft Exchange Server 2019 key features*:

  • Support for the Hybrid Cloud – Deployments of Windows Server to Azure Cloud services (Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, disaster recovery) are simplified. You get an on-premise server with optional easy access to select cloud services.
  • Security concerns – If your company has multiple servers, IT administrators will be able to “encrypt network segments, with a flip of a switch to protect the network layer between servers.”*
  • Application Platform – Improvements optimize container deployments.
  • Hyper-converged infrastructure – Eases the daily management of HCI environments.


Upgrading to Microsoft Exchange Server 2019

  • A Microsoft Exchange Server is ideal for companies that want to maintain in-house control of emails and data.
  • Requires a major investment in hardware and software — and the IT resources to maintain it.
  • With its Hybrid Cloud support, upgrading to Exchange Server 2019 is a good choice for companies wanting an on-premise environment, and access to innovative cloud services.

Moving to a hosted Exchange plan (Office 365):

  • Does not require hardware expenditures because vendors maintain the data centers.
  • Costs are based on a predictable monthly subscription, but different configuration options affect pricing including:
    • Mailbox size
    • Storage preference
    • Performance levels.
    • Bundling SharePoint and other applications into the package.

 Security Considerations

Data breaches into corporate email occur on almost a weekly basis. That’s why many companies fear the “cloud” and want to secure emails in their own environments. But, many security breaches actually start within the organization where employees access confidential emails.

To protect the in-house infrastructure, organizations must maintain a certain level of physical and digital security. Servers should be monitored round-the-clock with platforms continuously updated with the latest spam and virus solutions.

In a hosted environment, an advanced level of security is built into the environment. Microsoft routinely updates Word, Excel and other programs in its subscription bundle. Updates release automatically to subscribers. There is no need to worry about installing security patches.

Microsoft Office 365 data centers continually obtain 3rd party audit certifications. Security experts monitor Exchange Online on a 24/7 basis.

An Office 365 hosted solution automatically updates to the latest software. Companies operating with an in-house Exchange platform, however, must consider the future and plan (and budget) for software and hardware upgrades.

Reliability and Availability Concerns

Small and mid-sized companies with in-house messaging solutions can experience up to 40 hours of unplanned downtime due to power outages and equipment failure without a disaster recovery or backup plan in place. If an in-house server is not built on a highly available architecture (which is cost prohibitive in many small businesses), the risk of downtime is far greater than with Office 365. With globally redundant servers and disaster recovery services, Microsoft reports a 99.9% uptime with Exchange Online.

Nettology can help you weigh your options

Small businesses have a lot to think about when deciding their next move. Should it be Microsoft Exchange Server 2019, or moving to the cloud? Nettology excels at helping small and mid-size businesses weigh their options. Let us help you make the best decision for your business. Call us at (610) 558-1730 or visit

Updated December 2018