• United States

Companies willing to outsource some, but not all

Oct 16, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Why companies are willing to outsource certain messaging functions and not others

Hosted messaging providers offer a complete approach to managing an organization’s messaging system: They allow customers to simply plug their desktop messaging infrastructure into a remote data center and have all of the back-end functions of the messaging system managed for a fee per seat per month.

Hosted messaging services have had difficulty gaining customers for the past several years. But vendors of hosted messaging security services (anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-porn) have been much more successful in gaining customers.

Why the difference? Here are some theories:

* When an enterprise turns over complete control of its back-end messaging infrastructure to a hosted messaging provider, lots of issues come into play, not least of which is the financial viability of the provider. If the provider goes out of business unexpectedly, it might take days to regain control of the message store. When using a hosted messaging security provider, however, all that changes is the MX record of the domain, and this can be switched back within hours if something goes awry with the provider.

* When using a hosted messaging provider, the message store might be hundreds or thousands of miles away, leaving some administrators uncomfortable about the security of the messaging system content. With a hosted security provider, on the other hand, the message store remains behind the firewall of the customer.

* Managing a messaging system is well understood and relatively easy to do. Gaining control over virus, spam and pornography, however, is not as well understood by some messaging administrators. Consequently, some will be more likely to consider using third-party services for management of this unwanted content.

* Messaging administrators tend to be the key decision-makers with regard to hosted messaging, and they may perceive hosted messaging as a threat to their turf, potentially representing a loss of job security. Providers of messaging security services, on the other hand, may be perceived as relieving messaging administrators of a burdensome task.

I’d really like to get your input on this issue, particularly if you have a problem with using hosted messaging, but you’re comfortable using a provider of messaging security services. Please drop me a line at