Thinking about hosted SharePoint or hosted Exchange? OMG! There's so much to think about!

So I'm researching a market watch article about hosted SharePoint/hosted Exchange that I'm co-authoring with B.K. Winstead, who will write about hosted Exchange, and today we talked to Exchange guru Tony Redmond. Good thing we did, because he opened my eyes to how complex this undertaking can be, especially if you're not a small business. (If you're a small business, hosted Exchange is actually a no-brainer, it seems.)

Besides the SLAs you need to set up, besides considerations about what you're even going to send to the cloud and why, besides how you even make a decision to even think about doing this (all subjects of future articles, I'm thinking), is something that piqued my interest: the back-out clause.

No, not backup. Back out. If you decide after a year that hosted Exchange or SharePoint isn't for you after all, how do you back out? What penalties might you pay? What will happen to your data? Do you even have a way to back out?

Yes, this is just a tiny snippet of the huge picture of hosted SharePoint/hosted Exchange, and some would say, it's a small, unimportant snippet. But as someone who has gotten myself into situations where I then needed to back out (and sometimes couldn't without severe penalties), I think it's good to consider as you look over that contract, or maybe long before you even select a hosting company.

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