Security and value of cloud based email systems highlighted

A leading supplier of equipment to various energy industries has shown that switching its internal email systems away from on-site solutions to a cloud-based alternative is the best way in which to improve communication and security.

Weir Valves and Controls UK Ltd took advice from a large number of firms, including analyst Gartner, before implementing its cloud-based email system back in April 2008. This replaced the numerous independent platforms that service the firm’s 300 staff working at different sites around the UK.

Weir adopted Webroot’s Email Security Service, which allows for a messaging platform complete with anti-spam and anti-virus measures to counteract the impact of malware.

Gartner is a firm supporter of cloud computing solutions and believes that it will be email that paves the way for further developments and wider adoption of the cloud platform across sectors. Cloud-based email hosting is expected to grow to accommodate 20 per cent of the market by 2012, which is a very significant increase on the 1 per cent share that various cloud-based companies held just two years ago.

It is the low cost of the cloud email systems, rather than the intrinsic security improvements, that will attract the most new custom in the coming years. Each month cloud systems will cost just 1.80 per user, whilst on-site platforms can cost as much as 6 per user.

Moving email provision to the cloud will also reduce the costs of storage, with 85 per cent reductions in the annual outlay that is required for traditional, independent email platforms.

Weir IT head Dr Phil Meyers explained that the motivation for the shift within his own firm was influenced by convenience rather than value. The fragility and unreliability of the old on-site platforms meant that email could all too often become unavailable to all staff if the central system was compromised.

Dr Meyers confirmed that with the cloud system now in place, individual sites and indeed any employee with a broadband connection could access email at any time and from any location without hindrance.

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