All businesses are heavily reliant on Email, but how efficient is the Email service you’re using and is it the most reliable, cost effective solution? Cloud email services are the future…
Most small businesses either have their own email server or are using some form of cloud based email technology. Choosing an email service that suits a company’s requirements is a vital decision; it can determine the level of employee productivity and help win or potentially lose business. With so many email solutions on the market, it’s crucial to investigate and choose the best service that suits your needs.
Currently the main cloud based solutions are offered by Microsoft in the form of Office365 and Google with their Google Apps service, on top of this there are many smaller companies offering cloud services at competitive prices.
Microsoft and Google’s price plans work on the same basis; you pay per mailbox or user per month, Microsoft also offers a volume licensing option. The cheapest Office 365 plan is £4.00 per user, per month, whereas the plan from Google is 70p cheaper at £3.30 per user per month.
Both Microsoft and Google offer an online Office suite as part of their Email service, this enables users to create and work on documents, such as letters, spread sheets and presentations. To use these options in Microsoft’s Office 365 you would need to purchase a more expensive price plan, however Google provides Google Docs as part of their basic £3.30 per user service plan.
There are many advantages of opting for a cloud based email service. It was once the case that you could only benefit from advanced business email when purchasing an expensive server running software such as Microsoft Exchange. Now it’s the opposite, with more features available using online email solutions.
After working with both Microsoft and Google’s solutions, we favour Microsoft’s most. That being said, don’t rule out Google Apps, as it’s sometimes a better fit depending on organisation requirements.
Microsoft’s Office 365 uses Exchange without the expense and responsibly of buying and storing a server. It offers the solution to businesses as small as 1 email address, and as large as global corporations. The main benefits of Microsoft’s Online Exchange are;
- Backups – all email is stored on online servers, no need for manual backups anymore
- 99.9% uptime – financially backed
- Cost savings – no requirement for Exchange IT support or maintenance, no electricity or server running costs, just the £4 per mailbox per month
- Redundancy – if your businesses internet fails, email is still accessible via phones or mobile devices
- Built in anti-spam and anti-virus security
- Excellent 24/7 free Microsoft support service
We are seeing a major trend with small to medium sized businesses moving their email solutions to cloud environments. The only companies holding back are ones with security concerns, and for some this is down to the cloud still being a new concept. Only time will tell how things pan out, but it’s our vision that most SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprise) email will be hosted off-site within the next 5 – 10 years.