back to article There’s more to selling email than meets the eye

Cloud is a broad term for several different approaches to delivering IT services. There is currently much discussion about the role of managed service providers (MSPs) in delivering this type of offering to business customers. MSPs could be pivotal to the long-term adoption of such IT solutions since most are acquired from …


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'Cloud-based email along with its associated facilities such as diary management, task lists, contacts and so on,'

I run a mailserver at home and it has that functionality (or could if I enabled the services) and a web interface. Does that make it 'cloud based'?

This omnipresent use of the word 'Cloud' is getting right up my left nostril :)


Why am I left thinking this is just an excuse to charge for something that was traditionally free?

Or more importantly, what will you get now that you didn't before, and is it going to be worth the price?

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Free is still there

MSPs replace internal services with external ones, meaning you no longer need to manage those services, someone else does it for you.

Managing stuff isn't free, so when we moved from Notes to Google Apps, it freed up one Domino developer to do stuff that didn't make him sad all the time, 1 sysadmin whose job was keeping the global databases in sync and making sure the notes-blackberry bridge stayed working suddenly had time to work on some of the infrastructure backlog, and a bunch of rack space suddenly became free.

It's far cheaper to have google supply mail and calendaring tools than it is to do it ourselves.


What am I looking for?

As someone who currently hosts an in-house solution there are a number of areas where a cloud-based solution can fall short:

- Less sophisticated (or no) access to message tracking data when troubleshooting

- No control over the rollout of new features or updates (for example an altered logon page can alarm users)

- Less control over editing custom attributes (crucial for us)

- BlackBerry Enterprise Server support

- Content migration to and from the cloud can be a bit iffy (I'm thinking of Google calendars)

- A surprising number of local servers may still be required (Office 365)

- Projected savings often assume you no longer need a datacentre

- Losing internet access means you lose email too. In-house email means you can still contact colleagues.

- Fewer options to customise - end users must accommodate the cloud's needs not the other way around.

That's not to say it's always a bad idea. But if you don't consider all the aspects it may not be as good an idea as it first sounds.


This is an unbelievably poor article. At every level.

What's a Lamp stack? A big pile of lights? Now a LAMP stack on the other hand is something quite different.

The author strains to distinguish between two types of MSP namely those who manage the email service and those who get others to manage the service and merely resell it. When is an MSP not an MSP? When he's a reseller. All that this article does is to describe the difference between a service provider and a reseller.

There was absolutely no point in writing or publishing the article. It's awful.

And yes I did get out of bed the wrong side this morning and have indeed been looking for a good target for spleen venting.


There was absolutely no point in writing or publishing the article. It's awful.

I have to agree. It read like a briefing for a TV presenter, possibly Jeremy Kyle. No actual information was contained.

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I'd be willing to pay for

Setting aside the disgraceful shortcomings in the article...

I'd be willing to pay something for

. a service much more trustable than we have today

. where identity fraud was a lot harder than it is today

. where tampering with email was a lot harder than it is today

. where proof of delivery (and reading) was a lot easier than it is today

. where compound document support (and various other nice-to-haves) was architected in rather than added on as an elastoplast on a band-aid

. where because of the above, spam, phishing, etc was almost non-existent

. [maybe] where encryption was designed in rather than an afterthought

. [etc]

Now, where do I need to look for that?

Oh I know, set the wayback machine to the mid/late 1980s and bring back x.400 email and x.500 directory services, now that we've all got more than enough compute power and bandwidth for them,and now that we realise that trustable identity services don't come for free and do need a bit of supporting infrastructure, otherwise all that's left is basically chaos with a shiny front end.

By all means keep the teletype-era POP and SMTP protocols and associated stuff for those who insist on lowest common denominator functionality and associated snags.

For those of us who realise you can't turn a pig's ear into a silk purse, deliver a service worth paying for.


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Variety is the spice of life

I would think all email service providers (ie those doing the hosting, not resellers) would want to offer flexible options? In fact I'm pretty sure they nearly all do (declared interest: I work for one so regularly check what the competition are offering).

After all we're here to give businesses a service they need and if we don't offer a package to suit them, someone else will.

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