Should Exchange be free?

On May 26, 2008, in Exchange, by

Interesting post.  Should Microsoft make hosted Exchange free so that it keeps people “tied to Microsoft”.  Or should Microsoft provide a cloud filtering service to ensure that small businesses aren’t ripping out Exchange? 

Spam is winning, make no mistake, and it’s still my strong opinion that one should not, nor cannot these days deploy a mail server without an edge filtering device of some kind.  (I use Exchange Defender at the office)

But should everything that a business depends on be free?  Remember the old adage…. Nothing in life is free and we all pay for it in the long run.

“Report it to your insurance, it’s free”= higher insurance costs

“They overcharge us anyway, they won’t miss one”= average loss rate in retail

If we depend on email, if our business relies on it, should we have it as free?  Can a company monetize support services if they give something away?  I just have a hard time having as a business asset a free service that gives me no reliance that it will remain with the same service.  Long term wise, no company can give away service or product without some long term monetary strategy.

Conversely, I’d argue that email is not as dependable as we think it is.  It’s certainly not secure (can be sniffed if not protected), and unless we all turn on return receipts (which are annoying), you cannot, nor should not expect that it’s reliable unless you call and follow up and confirm that it got there.


6 Responses to Should Exchange be free?

  1. e-mail is a disaster. It’s the door through which the vast majority of threats enter a home or business, and the world has been highly resistant to changes that might address the problems.

    I recently ditched my SBS for a hosted Exchange (Appriver, i recommend them), but before that I used Sunbelt Ninja for edge defense and it worked very well.

  2. Chris Knight says:

    It’s a waste of time turning on return receipts – they’re easily filtered.

    The lack of guaranteed service with “free” assets is really no different to the commercial assets. How many technology companies have been and gone over the last however many years who would have all touted their wares as the next best thing since sliced bread? The really important point is to have a strategy to migrate onto a new platform if the current service changes unacceptably or disappears entirely. Those of us who have used SQL 2000 Std or ISA 2004 in SBS Premium will know all about this 🙂

    Follow up is important, by whatever means is useful. It could be just as easy to use IM, Twitter or any other technology you’re comfortable with.

  3. Isal says:

    Nice article. I combine my sbs with linux firewall & amavisd to reduce spam. So now my IMF only catch less than 50 spam a day. Previously without linux, my Imf work very hard to catch 1500 spam email a day.

  4. Tim Combs says:

    I echo your sentiments. Remember the Heinlein novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress?” TANSAAFL “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, or these drinks would cost 1/2 as much.” Relying on free services that my clients depend on is chancy at best.


  5. Nick says:


    At least if it’s a paid product it’s easier to hold someone accountable, and I don’t think MS is going anywhere anytime soon.

    We use ED for edge defense as well. Our IMF filter rarely gets hit, and if it get’s passed ED, most likely the IMF won’t catch it either.

  6. Brian Reid says:

    Don’t use any filtering apart from the built in Exchange filtering and get nearly zero spam. Configure SenderID, IMF, RBL, Sender Filter, Recipient Filter correctly and you are good to go.