Hoe kies je de juiste Microsoft Hosted Exchange Service Provider?

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1 White Paper Cloud diensten zijn populairder dan ooit. Veel bedrijven zien nu dan ook de voordelen van het uitbesteden van bepaalde ICT onderdelen. Voordelen als: Beschikbaarheid van data, Snelle Implementatietijd & Kostenbesparing zijn enkele hiervan. Door de populariteit en het zogenaamde hypen van deze diensten komen er ook gevaren om de hoek kijken. De Hype van deze diensten brengt als gevaar met zich mee, dat veel leveranciers mee willen liften op het succes ervan. Echter, het aanbieden van Hosting oplossingen is niet iets wat je er zo maar even bij doet. "De noodzaak om een betrouwbare en veilige Hosting Partner te kiezen is dan ook van het hoogste belang." Hoe kies je de juiste Microsoft Hosted Exchange Service Provider? 1 / 11

2 50 Questions to ask Prospective Partners Switch2asp Hosted Services Willigenburg LJ Enkhuizen Noord Holland The Netherlands Web: Tel: Foreword In today s highly competitive business environment faster and smarter IT operations and corporate processes need to be in place to increase reach and capitalise on emerging digital markets. Employees need to have access to technology to facilitate speedy, secure, anytime and anywhere communication with customers, suppliers, partners and colleagues. For many businesses, particularly small to medium sized companies, the implementation and delivery of a sophisticated IT infrastructure along with the associated costs can be a daunting prospect. Outsourcing the complex management and infrastructure of and other essential business services is one easy way to address this dilemma. 2 / 11

3 At a time when business executives are scrutinising their expenditures and analysing potential cost savings, outsourcing critical business functions can help to meet this need of reducing costs. But there are also other factors to consider when selecting a provider of Microsoft Hosted Exchange services. This paper outlines the key areas an organisation needs to consider to help mitigate any potential risks posed by down time, network intrusion or lack of scalability etc. If a reputable and established provider is selected, one that can provide advanced levels of data integrity and security as well as customer support, all sorts of business advantages can be realised. This includes reduced costs, increased efficiency and productivity gains. Companies like Switch2asp provide these elements as part of its managed service offerings. Switch2asp s Hosted Exchange 2013 Service is designed to help eliminate the IT headaches that business executives have to deal with from time to time, giving them the opportunity to focus on core business objectives and exploit revenue growth opportunities. Michael Korbacher Director, Web Services and Hosting Microsoft EMEA Introduction Whether you are just starting to look at or have made the decision to outsource the delivery of your organization s messaging solution the task of selecting the most appropriate service provider can be daunting. A search for Hosted Exchange on Google UK returns over 224,000 responses. Just how do you tell the difference between providers? This whitepaper from Switch2asp, Europe s leading Microsoft Hosted Exchange provider, is designed to help simplify that task for you, by arming you with the important questions to ask prospective providers. The whitepaper provides a quick overview table at the end of the document that you may find helpful when conducting your research and comparisons. 3 / 11

4 The content of the guide is split in to 10 key categories, all of which need careful consideration to ensure that the delivery of your messaging solution will meet the needs of your organization both today and in the future. Company Background Service Infrastructure Data Integrity & Security Mobile Access Service Functionality Management and Governance Service Level Guarantee Setup & Migration Customer Support Microsoft Licensing Company Background 1. What is the primary focus of the business? You should look to select a Managed Services supplier whose core business is the delivery of Microsoft Hosted Exchange services. 2. How long has the Provider been delivering Microsoft Hosted Exchange services? Experience in delivering managed services is vital and the longer a provider has been in business the better. 3. Are customer references available? A high quality provider should have to hand a wide range of customer references and testimonials about the quality of the services delivered. 4. What Microsoft Licensing Agreements does the provider have? A Microsoft Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) is the basic requirement for offering Microsoft Hosted Exchange services. If a provider does not have a SPLA the likelihood is that your solution will not be properly licensed. 5. How strong is the Microsoft relationship? If you are delivering Microsoft Hosted Exchange services it is critical to have a strong and deep relationship with Microsoft. 6. What Industry and Microsoft Certifications does the Service Provider hold? Examples of key accreditations are ISO 27001, ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and Microsoft Gold Certification. 7. What Awards has the provider won? Whilst not a critical reflection of the quality of a service 4 / 11

5 provider, awards from partners or the industry are significant indicators of the quality of the service you will receive. Service Infrastructure 8. What is the Service Architecture? A Microsoft Hosted Exchange service should be based on Microsoft s Hosted Messaging and Collaboration best practice recommendations. 9. Does the provider have a test environment? It is critical that any changes to the production Hosted Exchange platform can be tested in a real-world environment before being applied. Having a replica of the production environment, including items such as SANs, is therefore essential. 10. Are there any single points of failure? The provider should ensure that there is no single point of failure within the service delivery platform. 11. What configuration are the servers in? All servers should be redundant with load-balancing or clustering used where possible. 12. What data-storage architecture is used for the Service? The performance of Microsoft Hosted Exchange services is heavily dependent upon efficient storage infrastructure. A Storage Area Network with RAID1+0 configuration provides optimal performance and advanced features. 13. Is Microsoft s Provisioning System (MPS) used within the Service? An integral part of the Hosted Messaging and Collaboration platform MPS enables service providers to deliver sophisticated self care environments. 14. Who provides the Service hardware? For maximum reliability your Hosted Exchange provider should only use servers and storage from tier 1 vendors e.g. EMC and HP. 15. Where is the Service hosted? The service should be provided from a Tier 1 data centre that has multiple Internet connectivity providers. 16. Does the Service have redundant internet connectivity? As messaging services rely on the Internet for delivery multiple diverse connections with auto-failover are an essential service element. 5 / 11

6 Data Integrity & Security 17. What kind of Backups are performed, and how often? The provider should make at least daily backups of data. 18. How often are Backup and Restore procedures tested? The provider should regularly test the backup and restore procedures there is nothing worse than a backup which fails to work. 19. Where are the Backups stored? A copy of the backups should be stored offsite for maximum protection in the case of disaster. 20. What are the processes for Installing Security Patches and Hot Fixes? Your provider should have a test environment identical to the production platform where all patches and updates are tested before being applied to the live platform. They should be able to detail how they do this. 21. What anti-virus protection is included in the Service? The service should include anti-virus protection from multiple vendors and offer 100% protection against viruses. 22. Is Spam protection included in the Service? As with anti-virus protection, stopping spam entering the work place is critical for productivity and for protecting employees against undesirable material. Mobile Access 23. Is Web Access included in the Service? Not everyone is in the office when they need to access their . The provider should include access to your via any Internet connected PC for Outlook Web Access at no additional charge. 24. Are Windows Mobile Devices supported? Mobile workers are increasingly being equipped with devices powered by the Windows Mobile operating system. Switch2asp Hosted Exchange provides support for these devices natively and should be a standard feature included at no extra cost. 25. Is Microsoft Direct Push supported? The service provider should support the ability to automatically push s to Windows Mobile devices. 6 / 11

7 26. Are BlackBerry Enterprise Devices supported? The device of choice for many mobile workers and organisations. The Microsoft Hosted Exchange service should provide support for BlackBerry as well as Windows Mobile devices to enable individuals to select the device that is best suited to their needs. Service Functionality 27. Does the service include tiered functionality to meet the needs of different users? Can you get multiple levels of functionality to meet the needs of all your employees and your budget by only paying for the functionality you need? 28. Is Outlook included in the Service? Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 provides the very best experience for users of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and your service provider should include the Outlook 2007 client. 29. Does the Service include Outlook Anywhere? This functionality enables remote users to seamlessly and securely connect via any Internet connection. 30. Are older POP3/IMAP clients supported? Some users may be using mobile devices such as an Internet BlackBerry or accessing the service via PCs with Outlook Express. The provider should allow any POP3 or IMAP based client, whether hardware or software based, to access the service. 31. Can Spam settings be customised? One person s spam is another s business opportunity. You should be able to customise white lists and black lists and vary the level at which s are considered as spam to ensure that you receive all of your valid Are Public Folders fully supported? The provider should allow Public Folders to be used as meeting room resources and to be mail enabled. Service Level Agreement 33. Is there a Service Level Agreement? You should expect to see at least 99% availability for your service. Higher levels of 99.5% or even 99.9% should not be a problem for quality providers. 7 / 11

8 34. Does your SLA include a Money Back Guarantee? Any quality service provider should share your pain and provide money back if you are affected by a service outage. Your service provider should pay service credits if they fail to meet the SLA from when you first report an issue. 35. How many months in the last year has the provider failed to meet SLA? The history of how your service provider has performed is a good indicator of likely future performance. 36. What Business Continuity plans are in place? Reputable service providers should have documented plans and procedures in place to get the service back up and running in case of disaster. 37. What is the providers financial position? As with any business agreement, check the financial credentials of potential suppliers - you don't want to be looking again in six months time. Setup & Migration 38. Is there a dedicated setup team? Transitioning to a new service can be a complicated process. Your selected Service Provider should have a dedicated Setup team that are able to walk through the process with you. 39. What migration experience and support is available? Migrating seamlessly from an existing service to a Microsoft Hosted Exchange solution requires experience and expertise of many different systems and platforms. Your Hosted Exchange provider should be able to demonstrate this experience to you and have a Professional Services team which has performed 100 s of migrations to ensure that they have the correct level of experience and knowledge. Customer Support 40. Is a Web-based Self Care Portal provided? Managing the service should be as easy as possible a web based self care portal means that you can stay in control of your service even though its delivery has been outsourced. 41. What are the hours of customer support? A premium provider will always offer 24*7 customer support on their services. After all you never know when you will need help on your 8 / 11

9 service, particularly if your employees travel internationally. 42. How is customer support delivered? The time critical nature of means that you should be able to contact the Service Desk by telephone and not just 43. Is the performance of customer support included in the SLA? Check that customer support is included in your Service Level Agreement and ask for the specs on how long it takes to answer calls and what the committed response times are. Software Licensing 44. Are all software licenses included? Your service should include all Microsoft, Anti-Virus and Spam Protection licenses by default. 45. Are upgrades to all future versions included? Check that the service also includes upgrades to all future versions included in the price quoted. About Switch2asp Switch2asp is leading hosted services provider and was formed in 1996 to provide Managed IT services to small and medium sized businesses. With data centres in London and Fareham, more than 10,000 businesses benefit from uninterrupted access to applications, and the 9 / 11

10 internet. Working in an exciting and vibrant market space, our experience enables us to make the most of the new trends and approaches and our profitability ensures we make the right investments in technology and infrastructure. With over 5,000 Hosted Exchange customers, we are Europe s leading provider of Hosted Microsoft Exchange services and has been delivering these services since Since our launch as a business-to-business ISP in 1996 we have delivered business critical services to our customers and the experience gained over the past twelve years underlies our capabilities to meet and exceed our customer s needs and expectations. Our company values are focused on delivering excellence in everything that we do. We strive to be a fun, friendly and professional organisation that has a clear vision to provide our customers with a competitive advantage through the use of Hosted Applications and services. We have embarked on a series of industry best practice certification program s to provide our customers with further reassurance of our capabilities: - ISO9001 Quality Management (Assessment passed 1st time Sept 04) - ISO27001 Information Security Management (Assessment passed 1st time Mar 06) - ISO14001 Environmental Management (Assessment passed 1st time May 08) Our close partnership with Microsoft is critical to the success of our organization and services. As a member of a number of Microsoft s Early Adopter and Technology Adoption Program s you can be assured that we are at the leading edge in understanding how to best deliver Managed Business services, both now and in the future. We are Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with 5 competencies demonstrating the breadth and depth of our Microsoft expertise and skills: - Networking Infrastructure Solutions - Information Worker Solutions - Mobility Solutions - Hosting Solutions - Unified Communications Solutions In addition we have selected the best of breed partners to support our services delivery, HP, EMC, Parallels, MessageLabs and Nortel to name a few. We are a privately owned and funded business with significant equity investment from a leading UK PLC bank and other high-profile private investors. Legal Notice This document is the Copyright 2009 of Switch2asp is correct at the time of publication. 10 / 11

11 All content is provided for informational purposes only. Switch2asp is not liable for any errors or omissions in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. All Trademarks are hereby acknowledged. Selecting a Microsoft Hosted Exchange Service Provider V1.04 The Switch2Group 11 / 11

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