Hosted email provides SME’s (Small / Medium Enterprises) with a viable alternative to in house email servers. It can offer businesses fully featured email services, which are quick and easy to setup.
These solutions can accommodate the needs of many business types, while maintaining cost efficiency. There are a number of reasons to choses hosted email and they are discussed below.
The costs associated with purchasing the hardware and software required for an email server are none existent with hosted email solutions. So low initial outlay can help the aspiring enterprise get going with corporate standard emails services while driving down costs.
You can expect a monthly/annual cost associated with the email service you choose, but with hosted email providers make use of large data centers with huge resources they cut down on costs of individual accounts.
There is an opportunity with hosted email solutions to free up your IT staffs time to do other tasks which are essential to your business succeeding, rather than maintain the companies email server. After time and with company growth the running of an email server can become complex and demanding as it needs to meet the requirements of modern enterprises, which may send and receive high volumes of emails daily basis. This complexity and demand takes times from your IT Department to keep a communication channel open that your business cannot do without. If anything major happens with your email server it I also worth considering that your whole IT Departments resource may be taken up as they focus on trying to resolve the problem. Passing this pressure to a company that specializes in email services may be the best and quickest way to get you back up and running again.
As hosted email solutions are often based in large data centers with hug resources they are often flexible in terms of expansion and features. This can be used to the advantage of the developing company which may wish their email solution to scale as fast as their company can develop.
4) Backups & Data storage
Backup options and data storage should be considered when moving to hosted email. Backup may be included as part of the package or at an additional cost. There may even be more comprehensive backup plans which give better peace of mind. Storage is important also as you want a mail box size that will work well with the volume of email your staff send. The up side is that you can find flexible options with hosted email providers and that you can normally select the option which gives the best balance between cost and practicality.
Staying whitelisted is incredibly important, as mail could otherwise be sent to SPAM resulting in messages being unread and your company looking unprofessional. There can be a number of reasons why you may get into problems with maintain whitelisted email, such as sending high volumes of email, or if its contents discusses something email filters believe seems suspicious such as financial information. Your provider should, provided your intentions genuine, help you to stay whitelisted and will most certainly want to maintain their own whitelisted servers. This can be incredibly helpful in maintaining steady email communications at a time when email can be considered as one of the most important business communication channels.
Other Important Considerations
IMAP Vs POP3
It is also useful to consider two of the most commonly used email types available, IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and POP (most common version being POP3 at this moment in time or to give it, it’s full name Post Office Protocol version 3) when looking at hosted email. They both offer different ways for your staff to work with their email. The best way to remember most important aspect is that that IMAP is generally stored on a central server and POP is downloaded to the local computer. There are advantages and disadvantages of both however IMAP is a useful solution which offers some distinct advantages
- Email is stored centrally resulting in easier management.
- If data is lost or corrupted on a local computer email is still accessible on the server.
- Email can be assigned from one computer to another easily and quickly.
- It is often easier to backup tis option comprehensively with your email provider.
- This type of mail account can be easily synchronized between multiple devices.
- It can be a better method for shared email accounts.
- It is faster than POP to see new messages coming through as only the header is downloaded. The rest of the message is displayed on request basis when the user select the message they want to view.
- You may need to consider your mailbox storage size carefully if you want all your staffs’ emails to be stored on the server.
- You will generally need to be connected to an internet continually to work well with IMAP.
- Loading messages fully may take longer than POP as the parts of the message may need to be downloaded from the server upon request.
- May not be as fast to work with and manipulate messages as POP, as it takes extra time to synchronize with the remote server email server.
- Email storage is limited by the capacity of the local computer rather than the capacity of the online email hosting provider’s mailbox size (provided emails as downloaded regularly). The size of your local storage is often larger than the capacity offered by hosted email providers. This is an important consideration for staff who are likely to have large mailboxes as it can drive down costs and time associated with archiving emails.
- The reassurance that your email is stored on your local computer and the responsibility for it is your own.
- If the local computer is not backed up email could be lost.
- It can be more time consuming to move email from one computer to another.
- Increased storage requirements on local computer.
- Can be slower compared to IMAP as the whole message is downloaded.
Above are general guidelines, however there is the possibility that there may be some variation depending on how each account is setup and which provider you choose.
Traditionally storage was expansive making POP the popular option for most businesses, however with decreases in cost the landscape is changing and this has become less on an issue. Also as we move into modern times where internet access is common place IMAP is starting to make more sense for business, as it improves flexibility, manageability and accessibility, provided you choose enough storage space to accommodate your email needs.
Email Provided with Your Website.
If your web hosting provider does not offer a specific corporate email service it is often possible to setup an email that is linked to your websites control panel. While this may seem cost effective there are some significant draw backs, such as having limited support if something goes wrong with your email account, as the provider may concentrate more on web site hosting then email which is one for many features which can be setup. Also online software provided for email and email management may also be less feature rich and not to the standard expected by most modern business. So if cost is not the only factor you are considering then a specific service for hosted email will probably be a better choice for your business.
Selecting a hosted email service may well present your company with many benefits, however as with choosing any new service there are considerations to be evaluated first. Finding the balance that is right for your organisation means looking into many factors including the ones discussed here. Should you require any further advice on this topics discussed above please contact us.