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An Exchange upgrade isn't your only option for email

Email remains a vital tool for businesses large and small. And more than ever before, there are options for how to provide it.

Running a business entails many things, but how many of those things are absolutely required? Other than a staff, which essential elements need to be in place? More than a building or a product or a coffee budget, a business needs email. The lowly email remains a form of oxygen for any endeavor, be it a startup or a global enterprise.

For most of the past few decades, an Exchange upgrade was how businesses kept that vital resource functioning. One iteration of Microsoft's Exchange Server was followed by another. Migration led to migration, and Outlook mailboxes sent and received the messages that got things done. For the most part, it worked just fine.

Options now exist that can make the obligatory Exchange upgrade a thing of the past. Realistic -- and appealing -- alternatives are part of the conversation more than ever before. These options have changed an IT team's analysis from when to shift to a new version of Exchange to whether to bother at all.

This handbook looks at Exchange -- the latest version of which appeared in late 2015 -- as well the other ways an organization can provide email services. Microsoft's Office 365 platform continues to gain momentum, offering a range of services while eliminating an organization's need to maintain on-premises Exchange. At the same time, Office 365 raises new concerns. Organizations will want to consider Office 365's implications on things like licensing and resiliency.

An organization that's unsure about another Exchange upgrade might even choose to look at email services outside of the Microsoft portfolio. There will certainly be pros and cons, as there always are, to whatever path is chosen. The essential thing is to keep the email flowing.

Next Steps

Other articles in this handbook:

Email options: Upgrade Exchange or go another way?
Staying with Exchange Server is a valid choice. But there are other email options that deserve consideration.

Five Exchange 2016 migration best practices
If your organization is considering an Exchange 2016 upgrade, follow these expert tips to make the transition as painless as possible.

Beware of these six Office 365 cons for IT shops accustomed to on premises
Office 365 offers many benefits, but there are plenty of cons to consider before leaping to this cloud-based productivity suite that includes Exchange Online.

This was last published in February 2017

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