What to consider when switching to a hosted email service

We are considering switching to Google Apps for our organization's email hosting -- seems like that would be one less thing to worry about for DR (as well as general administrative duties). What's your take on this approach? Are there risks I'm missing?

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Whenever a decision is made to shift from an in-house system to a cloud-based system, the due diligence is very important. The same considerations for any cloud-based service must be made for a hosted email service.

From an administrative perspective, the decision as to who will manage the email system is important. For example, will you be able to monitor system operations and performance, or will you shift that responsibility to the third party? How secure is the new arrangement? What flexibility is available for service billing? Will the third party honor your service-level agreement (SLA) specifications? Who will handle daily activities (e.g., adding/deleting subscribers, password resets)?

Assuming you can achieve an acceptable level of administrative and operational control over the new environment, and the financials are acceptable, a switch to hosted email services may be a viable option.

This was first published in February 2013

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