Emails have attained a place of prominence in enterprise communications and are aptly viewed as a lifeblood of most businesses. Most corporates cannot conduct their daily operations without using email communication. Irrespective of industry or size of business, email has become an inseparable part of internal as well as outward business processes. Choosing the right email service provider is therefore a significant facet of smooth business operations.
1. Factors to Consider
Let us discuss important criteria to consider when choosing the right email service provider for your business.
i. Guaranteed email security
Business email communications often contain confidential data that needs to be accessed only by the intended recipient(s). Therefore, security of your email hosting service should be a foremost concern when selecting an email service provider. Any slack in email security can result in data breaches, unauthorized access and/or lead to unimaginable financial, operational and reputational losses especially where client confidentiality is breached.
- Choose an email hosting provider who uses advanced tools to secure your emails and ensures that these are continuously updated – anti-malware, antispam, antivirus and methods to protect against phishing and spoofing attacks.
- It should be possible to have two-factor (2FA) or multifactor authentication.
- For third-party applications which do not support 2FA, users should have the ability to generate application-specific passwords for emails accessed on local clients such as Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.
- Whether it’s POP3/IMAP/SMTP or webmail, your service provider should ensure that your communication with the mail service is encrypted.
ii. At least 99% uptime guarantee
Because email is a critical mode of communication for many businesses, it is imperative that your email service provider has mechanisms to guarantee you the highest level of availability with very minimal downtimes. This is usually made possible by availability of built-in redundant data centers – preferably in multiple geographical locations.
Always choose a provider that will keep you connected and guarantee maximum uptime. No matter what the hour, a trusted email hosting provider should ensure email services are up and running and any glitches are addressed as a matter of priority.
iii. Email access anytime, anywhere
- Your business email should be accessible anytime and anywhere in the world and should have enterprise-level synchronization with multiple devices.
- Your email should be accessible on webmail.
This is especially important for employees who are always on the move, business does not stop simply because you are not seated on a desk in your office. Your email service provider should be able to allow you to access your email not just on your desktop/laptop, but on any other internet-enabled device e.g., smartphone, tablet, etc., when you are on the move.
- Look for an email service that is compatible with commonly used operating systems (iOS, Windows, Linux, Android) and business applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.
- It is important to also consider a service that can be integrated with Microsoft Office 365, Google G-Suite or any other platform if these are already present in your environment or is to be adopted in future.
v. Ease of administration and operations
- The most ideal email solutions will have easy-to-use interfaces so that you can complete all your tasks with minimum need for support/guidance. Users should be able to set out-of-office messages (autoresponder feature), reset their passwords, recover forgotten passwords.
- A good email solution will also allow you to configure your mailbox with filters to allow a user to declutter their mailbox by organizing their emails in different folders.
- It should be possible for an administrator to log into a portal or other interface to create users, set passwords, delete/deactivate users.
vi. Calendar & address book features
Regardless of whether your business is large or small, a good email solution should allow you to store and contacts and calendars within the organization. This is helpful for reaching everyone easily as well as sharing meetings and scheduling appointments with others in your organization.
vii. Flexible and cost-effective
Whether you are a small or large company, the email service you are opting for should offer flexibility in terms of functionality you wish to include and features you do not want at all.
If you are a small business owner or have just started up, chances are you intend to start with a basic plan and move to an advanced plan later.
Even for large corporates, flexibility is important to ensure you only pay for what you need. Not all users in an organization need features of a premium email service to get their work done. Therefore, having access to an email service provider who understands this and offers plans with multiple service levels or allows you to tailor your selection to your employees’ needs (not just a blanket package) is an important consideration that will no doubt result in significant savings for your organization.
viii. Optimum storage and scalability
Seeing that “mailbox full” message is a frustration that many employees face when they log into their office mailboxes. You need to find a provider that provides you decent mailbox storage space for all your users, and also will allow you to easily scale up or down as your business grows.
Be wary of service providers who offer you unlimited storage and unlimited everything. There is no such thing as unlimited everything. This is often just false advertising. You will soon discover that there are indeed limits which are specified in the fine print of contractual agreements.
ix. Your emails should be hosted separate from shared web hosting
It is recommended to avoid hosting your emails on shared web hosting platforms. You may see a more detailed discussion of why it is not recommended to host your business emails on shared web hosting platforms here.
x. Backup and archiving
Your email service provider should be able to back up your emails (for a specified duration) in case of accidental loss or downtime to ensure continued availability.
xi. Round-the-clock technical assistance/support
You will want to consider availability of skilled technical support. Support is an important factor and the facility should be accessible round-the-clock 24*7 via email, telephone and/or other mediums of communications such as chat.
xii. Collaboration tools
Availability of collaboration tools such as video, chat, file sharing and editing is also an added advantage.
2. The Bottom Line
In today’s world where most corporates rely heavily on email communication, choosing the right email service provider will go a long way in optimizing the operations of your business. With the increased likelihood over the years of falling prey to cybercriminals, it is important to choose a partner who will help you alleviate the risk of threats that may come via email.
If you are looking for solid, secure, reliable, cost-effective email hosting services, look no further! MailSafi has got you covered. Our professionals are dedicated to assisting you in every aspect of email hosting. Contact us today for a quote or to hear more about our email hosting services.