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Despite the best efforts of social networking vendors to convince us to the contrary, email is alive and kicking in the enterprise. In fact, research from Dell shows 81 percent of enterprise workers consider it their most important collaboration tool.

The problem is it is not evolving.

Resisting Change

Despite the development of cloud computing and improved security around the cloud, many enterprises still prefer to leave their email as an on-premises application. These findings appear in Dell sponsored research called The State of Corporate Email, which is based on a survey of 202 IT professionals that are responsible for corporate email systems in enterprises with more than 1000 employees.

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The importance of email

To discover the story behind the figures, CMSWire talked to Michael Tweddle, senior director of product management at Dell Software. He pointed out that, despite advancements in cloud computing, many enterprises — including those enterprises that are using Exchange — are still reluctant to consider cloud-based email services.

"When the survey came back we were really surprised to find that, even though a large number of the respondents were using Exchange, very few have made the move to Office 365," Tweedly said. "In fact, 82 percent of them say they are still considering their options, which also suggests that they may also be considering a move away from Microsoft." 

When companies think of data governance they think of things like file sharing, SharePoint or information in the CRM systems. But one of the things that is not often mentioned is the amount of data that is in flight or even at rest in Exchange.

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Email as an enterprise collaboration tool

Cloud Computing Fears

The survey also showed that the principal obstacles to moving to the cloud remain the same: availability, security and data loss.

Asked why they didn't move to the cloud, or have decided to stay with an on-premises system, close to 80 percent of respondents said they didn't want to lose control of their email, which is what moving to the cloud could result in. The other major concern around email in the cloud is security:

"While providers like Microsoft and Google do have a secure data center and are data compliant with the regimes that are currently in place, they also have administrators that will have have access to email for better management. They will also often work with third party solutions, so there is considerable concern about offering outsiders access to these emails."

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Why enterprise email is kept on-premises

Enterprises are also concerned about data loss. Migration is a complicated process and without proper planning, large amounts of information can end up lost or permanently misplaced in vast data storage systems.

However, there is a flip side to this. It seems that if these problems could be managed, a large number of enterprises would be prepared to consider migrating to the cloud.

The research found that 55 percent of enterprises want constant upgrades to their email, as well as the functionality and features. If the desire is to stay on the cutting edge of email technologies, then surely the cloud is the best choice. 

Email in the Cloud

Many enterprises will have to face a tradeoff. If they want to keep abreast of technological development, moving to the cloud is the way to go. But what about all those concerns and issues around cloud computing?