Messaging infrastructure is the core component of almost all IT systems at various companies. E-mail communications are today so prevalent that often users and managers consider it as common sense that e-mail is always and everywhere available to them.
Due to legacy software or often incomplete or even, one could say, close-minded way of thinking about email many companies are stuck with inferior e-mail solutions be it open source or proprietary. Most importantly, those solutions in most cases cost a lot and they often have hidden costs that you take for granted but when you add them up you can come up to a number that can blow your head off.
E-mail infrastructure - the old wayGone are the days of having 5 MB mailboxes at your ISP. Ok, you can probably still find those in offering but for various reasons almost nobody is using them anymore. First, for business purposes having @aol.com or similar domain is considered unprofessional. Second, only explanation for using such mailboxes is either utmost ignorance or, what's much worse, incompetence. Harsh truth is that Internet Service Providers suck at providing mail. Not because they lack the skills but because they simply don't want to mess with that. Even though at first glance one could consider e-mail as being part of the ISP's core business, when you think about it you soon come to conclusion that in fact it is not. When you think about it and try to decide reasons to categorize e-mail as an asset or as a liability for an ISP on one hand you've got a marketing material that has a line that says "Free e-mail account with 10MB mailbox". On the other hand, as a liability, they need to create and maintain infrastructure, create backups, maintain customer support and, as the most problematic, fight spam and maintain security. This costs a lot of money. When you consider on-premise e-mail infrastructure in most cases you can safely compare it to some poor and lonely patient who always requires some mending throughout his lifetime but never quite gets what he really needs and deserves. When I see some customer's e-mail infrastructure it's almost always built around:
- old servers
- old software
- unpatched software
E-mail as a commodityUnfortunately, when you come with the above story to the managers they'll probably just throw you out of the office, in a more or less polite way of course. Why? Shouldn't one be worried about his core IT system? Well, they should but then again that poor old mail server runs for years now and will probably continue to do so happily so why worry? As good old Murphy's Law teaches us if something can go wrong it will do so. Things brake, computers too. Catastrophe is inevitable one day be it an evil hacker, flood or simple disk failure. Slowly, we come to the point where e-mail infrastructure is your inevitable pain. Someone feels it, many don't, but it costs the company a lot of money. Lets write down some costs of maintaining your own e-mail infrastructure:
- Power costs
- Environmental costs (server space, cooling, location security, etc.)
- System engineers that maintain servers/software
- Lost user productivity on managing spam
- Lost systems engineers productivity on managing spam/security