Non-Profit Business: Setup email Exchange on own Server or Host with 3rd Party Company?
Posted on 2007-04-01
We are a small/medium size church and I volunteer to maintain the computer system. My main question involves the best approach to handling our email. We are currently debating whether to host Exchange on our own server or continue to have a 3rd party host the email Exchange Server. Your advice on the best approach is appreaciated. I apologize the the long description below.
Our current setup: Our website provider currently hosts our domain name, email (with 17 POP3 email accounts) and website. There was a need to have exchange server capabilites for 5 to 6 of the email accounts. I was not comfortable with setting up or maintaining an Exchange Server, so I simply forwarded the five email accounts which needed Exchange capability to Intermedia.net for hosting. It is $9/email account each month. I have nothing to maintain and it was very easy to setup.
Looking at the future: We are now evaluating the best direction for the future. I am trying to get approval for funds to have addittional support from a local IT company. The local IT company suggested moving the email to our own server which can support Exchange. I replaced our old server recently with a Dell Poweredge 1900 running Windows SBS 2003 standard, so we are setup to do this. My greatest concern comes down to being able to support the Exchange server now and in the future and costs associated with maintaining an exchange server. I have the following concerns with some of the other suggestions that the local IT company made to support putting Exchange on our server:
1) Antivirus - We are currently using Trend Micro, but it does not have Exchange Server monitoring capabilites. We would need to spend atleast an extra $300/year if not more to upgrade. The local IT professional suggested using a free antivirus software called WinClam or Avast. Are these good Antivirus programs?
2) Backups - Buying the software to properly backup the exchange server is also costly. We do online backups with a company for our files and they provide the additional capability for Exchange Server at $8/month per device. What is the best way to do backups for Exchange Server? How difficult is it to actually recover from backups? I have heard of problems with recovering an Exchange Server.
3) Exchange Server Maintenance & Problems: I know that at my company office, we have problems with the Exchange Server from time to time. I do not want to create a maintenance nightmare for a small non-profit church. Especially when volunteers come and go. We are trying to get approval for the local IT company to do maintenance, but this can be difficult base on funds available.
Your advice on the best direction would be greatly appreaciated.