Thinking About Going to Microsoft 365
95% of our clients host their own email!
24/7 Uptime: Well, we just saw how that went. Microsoft 365 went down yesterday. And there have been other disruptions in service.
Control Over Your Email: This article is for those that are considering Microsoft 365, not for those that already subscribe to Microsoft 365. Why? Because once you migrate to Microsoft 365, it is very difficult to migrate back to an on-premise solution. Microsoft throttles the connection. How do we know that? Because we took a client from Microsoft 365 to an on premise solution. So control over your email is a good reason to stick with an on-premise solution.
And control should include the legal ramifications of email as evidence. Email can be a valuable asset in a lawsuit so email archiving is important. We use Barracuda, an add-on product, for advanced security & to backup & archive Microsoft 365, SharePoint & OneDrive.
Many MSP's sell Microsoft 365 licensing as a profit center for them, and to make it more difficult to leave. If our clients decides to go to the Cloud for email, disaster recover, remote backup solutions or to store files, it is their credit card on file. Our clients remain with us because they value our services. We do not host any of our clients' solutions. We believe this is in our clients' best interests.
Support: You're at the mercy of their support. Going to Microsoft 365 doesn't eliminate email problems, it just introduces different problems. And if you're having an issue with your email, be prepared to wait.
Cost: For very small companies & non-profits, to avoid the costs associated with a server solution including a backup solution, uninterrupted power supply...Microsoft 365 is a viable option. For companies with 15 or more employees, not so much. First they're constantly changing their pricing & models, so you're at Microsoft's mercy.
Subscription based pricing has become all the rage for a good reason, Microsoft & others are raking in the money. The first year of Microsoft 365 pricing covers the cost of the Exchange Server License & user licenses. Years 2-5 is pure profit for Microsoft.
If you're in Microsoft 365, manage your monthly invoice carefully. Your human resources should have a process to add or deactivate a license if an employee leaves the company. Almost, without question, every time we examine a new clients' 365 invoice, we have saved that company money by deactivating or combining licenses.
Phishing: All of our clients that are hosted in Microsoft 365 have additional security with Barracuda. We believe that Microsoft 365 is at a higher security risk for phishing attacks. Two of our clients, hosted in Microsoft 365 (their prior IT support migrated them to Microsoft 365), had credible phishing emails that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. I think it's valuable to recall these two incidents and how they occurred.
1) The "owner & president" directed the CFO to pay a new vendor $300,000. The "owner" and the CFO went back & forth a bit, but the CFO did set up the the new vendor and paid the attacker via ACH. The email was written to emulate the president's email and diction. And the email address was clever - with only one letter off.
2) The 2nd attack was through a vendor's email. They directed their email to the accounts payable clerk who was familiar with the vendor. They said that they went to another bank and gave the new banking information. The a/p clerk said that she would need that on company letterhead. It was sent. They paid the vendor's invoices with the new account. A total of $500,000 in losses.
Was this a coincidence? I don't believe in coincidences. The bottom line: Before making the move to Microsoft 365, just consider the arguments against it.