Cost and efficiency are the two aspects of a product or process that any community financial institution must balance as it strives to find middle ground that satisfies stakeholder needs without breaking the budget. Email is no exception to this rule. Email has long been seen as a free communication tool. However, this free communication tool can easily end up costing $50,000 over a 5 year period. When email started it was a “nice to have,” but it is now a key part of communication and business processes. In fact, email has morphed into such a “must have” that email system sluggishness, instability, or downtime is not an option for most institutions.
What makes email so expensive?
Over a five year period, financial institutions that host email internally have costs related to:
- Client access licensing
- Server OS license
- Microsoft Exchange license
- Backup and storage costs
- Email filtering cost
- Securing messaging (encryption) cost
- Support cost – External or internal expertise
- Monitoring/alerting cost
- Redundancy/uptime/Recovery costs
- Exchange Migration/upgrade costs
- Costs for optional features such as archival and other add-ons
So, the cost of hosting an email server within your bank can add up quickly and be quite expensive. In addition to the high cost, many banks and credit unions prefer or even require a solution that is tailored for the specific needs of the financial services industry. For a community bank or credit union, the highest levels of security and confidentiality are necessary to meet strict regulatory requirements, making an off-the-shelf email platform unsuitable without modifications.
Outsourcing Email Hosting
To combat some of the expenses of hosting email servers internally, many financial institutions have turned to outsourcing their email needs. At Safe Systems, we have worked with financial institutions as they completed a simple cost comparison of hosting their email server internally versus hosting it with an outsourced provider, and most chose to outsource. In fact, we had almost 100 financial institutions move their email to our system, SafeSysMail, in the first year after it was released. Those that chose to keep email in-house often overlooked an increasingly critical cost – the cost of ensuring high availability of the email system. Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen institutions re-evaluate hosting their email with us in order to address this issue of availability.
The cost of using an outsourced email solution is typically much more straightforward than hosting internally. Here are some typical costs associated with moving to a hosted email solution:
- Email, encryption, filtering – Price/User/Month
- Add-ons – Price/User/Month
For this flat cost per user, customers receive:
- High availability of email services
- Minimal to no additional cost for maintenance/upgrades
- Backups to geographically distributed locations
- Email expertise that is hard to match on a smaller scale implementation
- Ability to respond to phishing/social engineering attacks quickly
- Responses to issues or downtime quickly
Customized Email Platform for Financial Institutions
To meet the demands of the financial services industry, Safe Systems has customized our email offering, SafeSysMail, specifically for financial institutions by adding on layers for compliance and security. Our platform runs on Microsoft’s Office 365 Exchange platform which is the biggest, most robust platform on the market today. Safe Systems eliminates the burden of running Microsoft Exchange internally, while maximizing productivity. With SafeSysMail, a previous winner of the BankNews Innovative Solutions Award for best Consulting/Outsourcing/Training solution, financial institutions can eliminate the operational headaches and minimize the costs associated with the implementation, management, maintenance, and recoverability of your email system. This is accomplished while also greatly enhancing availability, maximizing uptime, and adding redundancy only available at scale.
Email is not free. In fact, it is very expensive. As a vital part of your institution, your email solution needs to function smoothly and consistently in order to support your business functions. In the end, it should provide a stable, scalable, robust, and redundant solution, but meeting all of these requirements cannot be easily accomplished with an internal solution at a reasonable cost. Working with Safe Systems gives you access to an email solution that, while powered by Microsoft’s cloud email solution, is designed exclusively for financial institutions. SafeSysMail includes extra layers of protection including products highly rated by Gartner and used by the government for SPAM and malware filtering, and on demand encryption. Working with one of the largest providers of hosted services designed exclusively for financial institutions and their specific needs offers the peace of mind and confidence that your bank’s email will be compliant, protected, and available – all at a lower cost than hosting internally.