I host my email with Intermedia and am quite pleased with their customer service (rock solid) and service overall. They are a bit pricey, I think, but maybe you really "get what you pay for" in this case. Great service.
Microsoft Exchange 2010 will be released later in 2009, according to Microsoft's web site. I spoke with an Intermedia spokesperson and they explained that Exchange 2010 is better than Exchange 2007 for a few reasons:
End User Facing:
Outlook Web Access: MS has complete redone the Outlook Web Access interface to better replicate the MS Outlook client experience through a browser.
I though the web access in Internet Explorer was pretty good, I'm looking forward to seeing how much better it is.
Cross browser/platform support - OWA now supports FireFox on Windows and Safari on Mac (previous OWA versions only had a minimal functionality “light” version for these platforms)
Since so many of us use FireFox it's nice to know that Microsoft finally enables web access, with all the capabilities, for FireFox.
Some other features include:
• Conversation threading - messages are automatically orgnizaed by conversation to easy tracking of threads across multiple messages, regardless of which folder the messages reside in the user’s mailbox
• Advanced searching and filtering to match Outlook 2007’s capabilities
• Ability to view shared calendars
I also asked the Intermedia spokesperson about smaller businesses hosting their own Exchange Server.
Intermedia feels that there is no compelling reason why a 20 person company should be running their own Exchange server. Their spokesperson said that it is near impossible for that organization to provide its users the same level of security, data protection and reliability that a strong hosting provider consistently delivers at a comparable cost. That being said, here are three criteria a small business can use to decide whether to host or go in-house with MS Exchange:
Level of customization - Hosted solutions tend to limit customization. If a company required a high degree of non-standard customizations or integration with other in-house apps, they might favor an in-house solution to a hosted solution.
Management resources - Exchange is a complex solution that requires a large investment in time keeping the environment patched, monitored and optimized. If your business does not have expert resources to allocate to properly manage the environment, they should more strongly consider a hosted solution
Location of users - Evaluate the structure of your organization. Are your users also consolidated in one or two centralized locations with minimal mobile workers? A company that has many locations, remote or virtual employees, and lots of mobile warriors will benefit greatly from hosted solution with servers “in the cloud” where access is available all the time from anywhere.
Ramon Ray is the editor and tech evangelist of the Smallbiztechnology.com