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September 28, 2020

What is “Email as a Service” (EaaS)?

Arguably, one of the most game-changing outcomes from the rise of cloud computing, has been the rise of as a Service (aaS) offerings. No longer do you need to break the bank to purchase physical hardware to run computer systems in-house, or be beholden to rigid and overpriced equipment lease agreements with vendors; as a Service allow companies to commission a cloud-hosted software platform without building or managing it themselves, as well as scale their platform easily on demand.

From Software as a Service (SaaS) and Security as a Service (SaaS), to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), to Analytics as a Service (AnaaS) and Data as a service (DaaS), there are almost as many Anything (or Everything) as a Service (XaaS) plays as there are Uber for Anything (Uber for X) offerings. But that’s the beauty of cloud computing; if you can dream it, you can build offer it… without the  physical hardware or in-house expertise.


Email as a Service

Email as a Service (EaaS) is an offering that provides access to an external, cloud-hosted, email application, so that you do not need to build or power your email platform in-house.

It’s ideal for telcos and service providers who provide a consumer or SMB email platform for their customers but know that email is not their core business specialty, so they prefer not to consume valuable internal technical resources on email, when that investment is better spent elsewhere.

By subscribing to an Email as a Service, companies can enjoy the benefits of a managed email service, without the associated long-term investments in capital infrastructure and human resources that are typically required to deliver and maintain large email platforms.


Benefits of Email as a Service

Parallel to the benefits of cloud computing, Email as a Service has the following benefits:


1. Scalability

In the past, an organisation’s ability to scale its email userbase, storage and compute power has been restricted by the size and power of its physical hardware. This has always represented a limitation for fast-moving telcos and service providers whose speed of growth outpaced their ability to procure, install and/or migrate to new equipment to expand their email system.

Hosting email in the cloud takes away this barrier to scalability. It allows telcos and service providers to stretch their computer resources on-demand, so that they can quickly scale their email muscle and user licence count up or down as needed.


2. Speed to market

The ability to release new email products and/or upgrades quickly, without needing to wait for the purchase of hardware or the development of new platforms in-house, has created a newfound agility for organisations to innovate and deploy platform improvements at unprecedented speed.

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3. Strategic value

Moving email to the cloud has strategic value on two levels. Firstly, it can serve as another tick box on the ‘cloud first’ checklist of in-house systems that need to be migrated to the cloud. And secondly, by freeing up internal resources, it can allow an organisation to better focus on strategic initiatives of their core business, rather than worrying about taming spam and maintaining email servers.


4. Reduced costs

Email as a service has the potential to reduce your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of email, because many CAPEX costs would no longer apply (such as data centre buildout, hardware purchase, improvement of hardware, upfront software costs, and the need to buy operating systems to support the software), and indirect costs (such as downtime, reputation damage from downtime, risk of not replacing End-of-Life (EOL) hardware/software) would also be mitigated.

Along these lines, Fujitsu, in response to a Forrester Research, Inc. study which asked executives to estimate the cost of their email platforms, had this to say:

“…when you add in the costs of staff, maintenance, storage, archiving, mobile email, and financing, it can be four times higher [than first estimations]. So, while the cost to an individual budget holder might look low, the fully loaded cost of [on-premises] email is surprisingly high.”


5. Cost effectiveness

Beyond TCO, the more consistent argument for moving email to the cloud is cost-effectiveness. More specifically, the cost-effectiveness of three key elements:

  • OPEX
    • It no longer makes financial sense to outlay significant hardware and software costs upfront in a CAPEX model, if it can be avoided.
  • Capped costs
    • Cloud email hosted externally allows organisations to better adhere to agreed budgets.
  • Opportunity cost
    • Any diversion of resources to manage an in-house email platform becomes a lost opportunity cost when organisations cannot use those resources elsewhere in more strategic parts of the business.


6. Staffing

Staffing a large-scale, on-premises email platform is a significant burden. First, there is the huge price tag. Second, there is the management load to recruit, train, manage, mentor, replace, retrain and complete admin for the in-house email team. And that’s assuming that you can even secure technical talent (in today’s competitive marketplace) who are willing to forgo more exciting IoT and AI projects to work on traditional, in-house, email platforms.


7. Security

Despite news headlines arguing otherwise, cloud computing is more secure than traditional on-premises email platforms (especially at the equivalent cost) and cloud-hosted email can provide the following security benefits:

  • Faster and more effective resolution of security issues
    • Vendors can push security fixes and features to the cloud as soon as they are available, which significantly reduces the risk of unnecessary security vulnerabilities;
    • In-house teams, who are not routinely email security experts, no longer need to scramble to create interim security patches while they wait for slow vendor releases;
  • No end-of-life security or compliance concerns
    • Cloud-hosted email solves a longstanding problem of in-house teams neglecting to update or replace software on time and thus leaving telcos and service providers exposed to security and compliance breaches;
  • Greater ability to add more security layers
    • Antispam, antivirus, antiphishing and other premium offerings can generally be added easily on-demand in a cloud-hosted environment;
  • Compliance options
    • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Lawful Interception (LI) and other compliance options can be offered out of the box and do not need to be reinvented by in-house teams; and
  • Robust security
    • Email vendors typically devote more resources to email security than in-house teams who are juggling email on top of their core business responsibilities.


8. Uptime

From a resourcing perspective, the on-demand nature of cloud email also facilitates uptime. This is because unlike in an on-premises model, telcos and service providers should not experience downtime due to an overload in their email platform capacity. Instead, they can easily scale up to handle service peaks and therefore maintain high performance levels at all times.

From a reliability perspective, for telcos and service providers wanting an even higher level of uptime guarantee, cloud email providers can also typically offer a multiple redundant site option, which is something that many on-premises providers simply could not afford under a CAPEX model.



Email as a Service has been a natural ‘as a Service’ evolution, which has matured into a legitimate option for telcos and service providers wanting to lower their CAPEX/hardware costs, free up their internal technical resources for more critical core business, and move their email platforms to the cloud.

Benefits include: increased scalability; speed to market; strategic value; reduced costs; cost effectiveness; decreased staffing requirements; increased security; and more reliable uptime.


New to atmail?

atmail is an email solutions company with 22 years of global, email expertise. You can trust us to deliver an email hosting platform that is secure, stable and scalable. We power more than 170 million mailboxes worldwide and offer modern, white-labelled, cloud hosted email with your choice of US or (GDPR compliant) EU data centres.


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