Email is fast becoming the preferred method of business communication. It has many advantages over using the phone. It is less time intensive because there is no possibility to get off topic. It can also be tracked and saved for archiving purposes. At some point, a business may need a robust email system similar to Microsoft Exchange. However, this can prove to be out of reach for some businesses due to the considerable investment Exchange takes to implement. Therefore, businesses may consider the use of a managed email provider. A managed email provider can offer all the functions and benefits of Exchange, but keep the business from incurring all the initial expense that goes along with the deployment.
What is a Managed Email Provider
A managed email provider is an organization that provides email services to a subscriber using their own infrastructure and expertise. In other words, the provider supplies the hardware, licenses, storage and expertise. The subscriber pays a residual fee to use the service.
Who Should Use Managed Email Services?
Any business can benefit from the use of managed email services. However, there are some instances where managed email really shines
One area is businesses that operate in industries with strict regulation. Two prime examples are healthcare and finance which operate under HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley, respectively. These pieces of legislation have strict requirements for how data is stored, retained and transferred. It can take a great deal of technical expertise to make sure an in-house system meets these requirements. However, many managed email providers are certified to handle email under these strict regulations. A simple phone call or email to them will verify their compliance.
Another business that can benefit from managed email services is one that does not possess an internal IT department. Rather than trying to implement a complicated email system on their own, they can leverage the expertise of the managed email provider to handle it. The provider can handle collecting requirements, set up, migration from existing email, backups and other technical issues that arise.
A business that has a small IT budget can also benefit from using managed email providers. Implementing an email system can be expensive. There will be costs for hardware, licenses and labor. Furthermore, there will be ongoing costs to maintain the system. Using a managed provider gives the business the flexibility to pay for only what they need at a given moment. A business trying to do it on their own may have to spend money to support 100 users wher they only need 25 to get started. Conversely, a business going the managed route can just invest enough to set up 25 users and add incrementally as they grow.
Businesses that need to access email from various locations, and from various devices, can benefit from using managed email providers. Again, setting up this kind of infrastructure can be complicated. It can also involve added expense in the way of licenses and security certificates. However, the managed provider, usually, has all of this already built into their system by default. Some may charge more for this kind of access but it is just a matter of requesting it to have the option.
What to Look for When Choosing A Managed Email Provider
Businesses will have choices when looking for a managed email provider. Therefore, it is important to know what is needed before searching. Otherwise, a business may make choices on cost alone. This could result in a bad experience and prevent the business from enjoying the benefits of hosted email.
Looking for providers that offer spam and malware protection is crucial. Most legitimate providers will offer this at no extra cost. It is important to make sure it is offered for incoming and outgoing email. This is another cost saver because the business will not need to purchase additional software to handle this. However, it is still important to have anti-virus protection on computers.
It is a good idea to make sure the provider offers service level agreements or SLAs, for the product. One should make sure they offer an SLA for uptime, deliverability and SPAM filtering.
Anyone interested in subscribing to services should also make sure the provider is flexible to allow for growth. One of the advantages of these providers is the ease to add additional email users and remove old users. It is a good idea to make sure the provider in question offers this ease of use regarding user management.
Having a robust email system with all the features does not have to cost a business a fortune to implement. In most cases a business could get a new system built and going the same day. There are other complications for existing email users, but the provider should be able to help with migrating to their infrastructure. In the end, using a hosted email provider is the way to go for most business organizations.