Every employee expects email to “just work.” But in reality, there are many complex factors to consider when it comes to business email, from server maintenance to spam filtering and security. And whenever email servers go down, productivity grinds to a halt—costing businesses thousands or, in some cases, even millions of dollars.
So, while choosing an email hosting solution may not always be the most exciting project for business and IT leaders, it is often one of the most important.
Our Business Email 101 Guide offers a detailed, step-by-step walkthrough to help decision makers evaluate the many different email hosting options on the market (free vs. professional, in-house vs. managed hosting, Webmail services vs. hosted Exchange) in order to help them choose the solution that best satisfies their business’s unique feature and infrastructure requirements.
The guide offers an in-depth look into several key steps that all businesses should take when implementing a new email solution or transitioning to a new one. Some of these steps include:
Defining requirements. As with any major IT project, advance planning is critical to ensuring a successful email implementation or migration. Businesses must work with relevant stakeholders to understand functionality, infrastructure, security, integration and reliability requirements — among many other requirements.
Evaluating free vs. professional hosting. For smaller businesses, free email solutions offer attractive benefits such as fast account setup and easy-to-use user interfaces, in addition to hypothetical savings. However, decision makers must critically weigh these potential benefits against the need for key features and services (e.g., service-level agreements, uptime guarantees, business grade security features, spam filtering and malware protection, etc.).
Deciding between hosted and in-house. New startups or companies that lack a dedicated IT staff should consider a hosted email solution; however, for companies with an existing in-house email system, the choice is usually more complicated. The Business 101 Guide presents a detailed total cost of ownership comparison to help businesses account for the various hardware, license, labor and miscellaneous costs of a hosted email solution vs. an in-house solution.
Understanding different hosting options. Businesses must understand the various high-level email hosting services on the market — including professional Webmail services, Microsoft Exchange-based services and hybrid hosted email services — in order to zero in on the best solution for their needs and begin evaluating vendors.
Evaluating vendors. Businesses need to understand the various vendors on the market, as well as which features to prioritize. For example, most companies will need business-class support and SLAs. Once they narrow down their options, it’s important to ask a critical set of questions of each choice, such as whether the vendor has proven they can scale to meet their needs, whether their archiving solutions are easy to manage, etc.
Preparing to migrate. The actual implementation and/or migration process varies widely depending on the type of email solution and the capabilities of the chosen vendor. Based on the information gathered during the requirements process, businesses will need to consider a range of factors such as IT staff training, end user training and setting a realistic migration timetable.
Of course, executing these steps successfully is easier said than done. For a full, in-depth exploration into how to make the best email hosting decision for your organization—as well as TCO comparisons and more—read the full Business Email 101 Guide.