There are a few different types of email services that you can use for your business. Which one you use depends on many factors. So, how do you know which type of mail service is right for you? Let’s go through the options.
POP and IMAP
POP is the oldest and most basic service available. It was designed in 1984 for personal use, so it’s really on the way out. With POP, when you receive an email, it’s downloaded to your locally installed email software (such as Microsoft Outlook, Windows Live Mail, IBM Notes etc) and stored in a single file on your computer. However, no data is synchronised between devices so you may end up with a bit of a mess in terms of managing your inbox. POP is also slower and less reliable than many other services.
IMAP is similar to POP, but it does offer some synchronisation of emails and calendar items. On the downside, it’s very unreliable and often doesn’t keep the data up to date due to the amount of information we now send and receive on a daily basis. It’s particularly tricky to get working on a Mac, too.
Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange
Office 365 (also known as Microsoft Exchange) is an email platform and suite of tools by Microsoft which provides full synchronisation. This means if you mark an email as read and move it to a folder that you’ve created, you’ll find that email in the same place even if you’re checking emails on your phone or tablet as well. The same goes for calendars, contacts and more.
On top of this, it also allows you to connect each mailbox/user account to your existing network, so that when a user logs onto their office computer or device, the network knows who they are, and which mailboxes they have access to. There are countless other benefits such as shared network storage space and business-grade antivirus solutions to protect you from spam.
Exchange offers the following key benefits over POP and IMAP:
- You can still use the same software you have always been using.
- Since you access this software over the internet using the cloud, all you need is your mobile device or PC and an internet connection – and you are good to go.
- All of your data is centrally located, so you always have the up-to-date version of documents and files, regardless of your location.
- Security is very high and you can set the access for specific files to allow or disallow access by certain employees.
- It brings collaboration to a whole new level, with instant updates, backups and multiple user access to files and documents.
So, Office 365 is definitely the way to go for any business, but now comes the next decision: Do you purchase an in-house server to manage your emails, or do you opt for an online cloud-based version such as Office 365?
Should we buy a server or use cloud email?
The answer usually lies in the size of the organisation and your budget, which means there are three distinct options:
- If you already have a server for your network, and it has appropriate software in place, it’s usually best to utilise those facilities.
- If you don’t have a server, but your network warrants one and/or you have the budget to purchase the server and related hardware/software, again this is probably the way to go.
- For smaller businesses (say, up to 10 staff members) who don’t have a server, using a cloud-based email such as Office 365 will keep up-front costs down while making it easy to scale up or down as needs change. It’s also handy if you’re looking for a Microsoft Office software licence, because this can be included with each mailbox, if required.
So if you are suffering with an outdated POP email system or you simply like the idea of increased productivity and collaboration, then call 07 3333 2122 or enquire online about the best option for your business.