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A number of industry reports have noted that company migrations to cloud email platforms have picked up steam at an exponential level. Now that the IT networking format has become very much mainstream, the unique position is increasingly becoming those entities that want to remain on a traditional home server network and email platform instead. Many of reasons for doing so are based on data security, confidentiality, fear of losing control of digital assets once stored, and regulatory compliance concerns and how to use the cloud to meet those requirements (HIPAA and health data requirements, for example). These are valid concerns, and every company should ask these data protection questions when considering reliance on an outside party to handle internal communication tools. However, today’s cloud email platform is a very different environment than the first cloud platforms which did have a good number of control weaknesses.
The fact is that well over 13 percent of publicly-traded companies now use a cloud-based email platform, and it’s based on a system designed by a major player like Microsoft or Google, not a small, unknown third party outfit. That may not seem like a big, all-encompassing number, but the companies that are part of that 13 percent are some of the largest players on Wall Street. With plenty of sensitive information in their hands that they have to keep secure as well as meet federal regulatory compliance rules (Dodd-Frank Act financial requirements, for example). So they’re not likely to use a cloud platform that is flimsy and full of IT security holes.
The above said, preconceived ideas about how the cloud works continues to hold back many. Some argue it’s not reliable under pressure, actual system management is challenging and missing clear administrative controls, and custom-tailoring to meeting regulations comes with hidden cost traps that only spring once a company is full committed contractually to a service provider.
Ironically, the first institutions that have moved wholly into cloud email with great success are the very entities people say know nothing about real IT and real business: the higher education institutions (i.e. colleges and universities). Just about every major college and a university has adopted a cloud email platform because it is extremely scalable, cost-effective, secure when contracted with a primary provider, and easy to implement. Students and administration are easily kept apart in their own cloud modules, and no one has security issues. Further, the systems run reliably 24/7 no matter when one needs to communicate online. And right behind the universities are many major agencies in the federal government.
The fact is, email management is yet another area of business administration that can be handled externally just as well as it can be managed internally, and sometimes even better. While it would be foolhardy to say that an email cloud platform can improve every company’s communications hands down, it would also be a mistake not to give today’s cloud platform option a real consideration for each situation possible. There are real benefits to be had for today’s companies, and the smart businesses are already moving over.
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