5 Questions CIOs Should Ask Before Moving Email to the Cloud
Next-Gen Email and Collaboration
CSC CloudMail for VMware Zimbra offers Zimbra’s innovative email, files, calendar and collaboration platform. Zimbra enhances productivity by connecting people, applications and data on any device with an open, scalable platform that integrates easily with third-party platforms. Zimbra includes virtualization and portability across private and public clouds.
CSC delivers the VMware Zimbra platform as a fully managed service, with the reliability and security enterprises require. CloudMail for VMware Zimbra provides end-to-end application management backed by availability SLAs. It can be deployed from our CSC Trusted Cloud data centers or on your premises, with both deployment options offered at as-a-service pricing.
Zimbra has the proven ability to scale to millions of mailboxes. The CSC shared infrastructure leverages the base infrastructure across multiple clients, creating economies of scale while delivering a dedicated virtual application for every client. Digital transparency ensures that you know where your data is at all times — and if required, to specify where that data must reside.
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The modern, far-flung office requires instant and rich communications among workers located around the world. They need access to tools and services on many different types of devices and at all times throughout the global workday.
Cloud computing provides a way to give companies that flexibility with their collaboration and email services. Plus, they can trim upfront and ongoing email costs, free up IT resources for strategic initiatives and provide new functionality that makes end users more productive.
Users want applications to be available on any device, anywhere and anytime with a consistent user experience across devices. Employees want to experience the same ease of use and access to data and applications in their professional lives as they have come to expect in their personal lives. Answering this need using legacy email platforms is simply not feasible.
Adding to the end user challenge is a proliferation of separate applications such as Salesforce, Oracle and SAP, as well as social and Web applications like Facebook and WebEx. Today’s employees want a hub of communications that aggregates and integrates multiple applications into the one they use most frequently: email. Unfortunately, many legacy email applications are practically impossible to extend to third-party applications to meet the needs of the business and make life easier for end users.
Another challenge is the IT support cost to manage and administer legacy email platforms and provide the level of availability expected and required for any organization’s email engine.
An emerging answer
To meet today’s business needs and improve operational efficiency, many organizations are moving to an IT-as-a-Service delivery model. IT as a Service allows a company to shift from producing IT services to optimizing production and consumption of those services in ways consistent with business requirements.
Email is one of the applications that organizations are moving to this new model, because they want to reduce costs and make their messaging systems available to a growing mobile and flexible workforce requiring anytime, anywhere access to mail and documents.
Organizations need an IT-as-a-Service approach for their messaging platform that offers built-in security and reliability and reduces administrative support burdens. Companies are selecting cloud solutions that make it simple for administrators to manage service levels, perform remote device wipes of data and easily install software and security updates. Cloud-based solutions also lift storage limits by leveraging economies of scale to offer low-cost storage.
Companies need the flexibility to deploy applications in a private or public cloud depending on their unique security needs or industry compliance requirements. In order to maximize flexibility and drive down the total cost of ownership, applications need to be portable and provide support for standards-based virtualization and cross-platform backup tools, further easing the IT management burden.
If you are considering moving your email and collaboration to the cloud, there are several questions to ask when deciding on which solution is right for your organization:
1. Can users access email both online and offline and on any device? Be sure the vendor you select can support a variety of mobile devices. Best-of-breed solutions offer a comprehensive collaboration suite that includes unified communications, social media integration, support for a variety of mobile devices and other value-added services that are aligned with business functions.
2. Is the platform based on an open, extensible architecture? Integration with third-party or custom enterprise applications will greatly enhance end-user productivity, allowing end users to access other applications without leaving the messaging interface, and eliminating additional steps required to copy and share information easily across applications.
3. What level of management support and security does your company require? You need to understand the level of management support that is included with the service and the availability and response-time SLAs that will be delivered. You want to confirm that the cloud infrastructure provides the necessary physical, logical and access-control security standards.
4. Does the supplier build on a modern, distributed and highly scalable architecture? Best-of-breed applications offer native volume and hierarchical storage management to accommodate large quotas on commodity storage and can provide multiple mail domains to support changing business needs.
5. What are your total costs, including software, infrastructure and operating expenses? Consider your operating expenses for administration, bandwidth and data center resource costs. Once you understand these costs, you will have a benchmark to compare alternative cloud solutions to your current on-premises application.
Collaboration and communication are critical business tools, a simple fact that has led popular messaging systems down the path of increasing size and complexity as they try to keep up with changing needs. Users have become accustomed to light, cloud-based collaboration capabilities that work across the many types of devices they own, wherever they happen to be. And they expect the same at the office.
Cloud-based email solutions help companies meet those growing expectations, reduce costs and increase resources available for innovations instead of maintenance. It’s the next step in the cloud-enabled enterprise, and it’s one that will reward both employees and the bottom line.
MICHAEL WHALEN is a senior product manager in CSC’s Trusted Cloud and Hosted Services group.