How to Select a Microsoft Exchange Hosting Provider?

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All of us have heard the dashy sales pitch for exchange hosting provider several times on internet. But, figuring out the factors that can make one provider better than others is something that we all are a bit confused about. Hosted Exchange Providers offer an array of cost advantages and help keeping the focus on core competency. There are too many relevant reasons for considering in favor of switching to hosted exchange. But obviously, you need to be a little cautious as all Hosted Exchange Providers do not deliver the same. While selecting an exchange hosting provider below mentioned factors can prove to be crucial.

How to Select a Microsoft Exchange Hosting Provider

1. Considering the price

Price, for many, is the first consideration and obviously so. Maybe you are getting it at just $5 a mailbox of 25GB size. But what about a price tag of $10 that besides offering a mailbox offers a whole gamut of added features? Therefore, there has to be a balance between the price and features offered. Charging less while also providing less does not make such cheaper options attractive. So making a comparative and balanced study of features and the price would be recommended before you zero-in on your final choice.

2. Size of the mailbox

At the end of the day it is the size of the mailbox that matters to the customers. Selecting a large mailbox without any considerable feature set is not recommended as later on the absence of additional features will gnaw at your conscience. As soon as you see that the price and features are equivalent to that of two competitive services, the provider offering larger mailbox size should be the clear winner.

3. Considering updated version

As a customer you should always look for the updated version. There are many Hosted Exchange Providers who offer several different versions of hosted exchange. Though, almost primitive-sounding Exchange 2003 versions are clearly out of context, many providers and customers continue relying on 2007 version. But that is also sufficiently outdated and at any time can be felt utterly non-contextual. Therefore, it is better to opt for adoption plans of Exchange 2010.

4. Management tools

Simplicity and ease of use are the two most important factors required to drive the customers. Typically, for running an in-house Exchange environment the customer always likes to opt for the simplest service with a user friendly interface. So, you need to look for a provider that helps simplifying the tasks besides providing all the major features and advantages listed here. An easy to use , simple web interface should be there for allowing logging-in and creating distribution list, list of new users, etc.

5. Additional features

Added features that come with a service without incurring any extra charge is also a big consideration to decide upon your options. From virus and spam mobile support, there is a whole lot to ask for. Some of the most recommended features that as a customer you should look for include recovery backup solutions, mobile device support, SharePoint collaboration, directory synchronization tools, mail archiving, etc. However, many of these features cannot be free and can be paid ones. Though it depends on the priority of the customer, some additional features being valuable for businesses can actually prove critical element in making a choice. Providing a latest version of Outlook or offering two simultaneous versions of choice together, in various ways a value added pack of features can be offered to the customer.

6. Customer support

Finally, it is the customer support that makes a clear winner among the comparable services who in features, price and other aspects have been tied. Basically, there are two distinct categories of support one can expect: (a) support for the standard features and (b) support for the additional provisions. A standard feature set should have regular backups, optimum committed uptime, web and phone support and a great tool for easy configuration. Besides the so called support, you need to look for a great help page offering answers to frequent questions on the subject.

There are few other factors for consideration as well. For instance, whether you want a long term or monthly contract? Secondly, you must assess beforehand the reputation of the provider. In the end, it is the feature set and pricing that would be the biggest consideration while deciding upon the choice.