Email is the face of communications between the business and its customers. And whether it’s a recent order placed or a newsletter, customers expect quality from a trusted business.
For these reasons, email is one aspect of business procedures that should be handled with care. The IT manager has two choices: host the email server in-house or choose an email hosting provider handle maintenance and delivery of business email.
Benefits of Email Hosting versus In-House
Email applications on a server such as Windows Server 2008 or 2012 are easy to install, but it’s the configuration and maintenance that makes managing an email server a huge headache. Every new user added must be set up, and any users leaving the company should have their emails deactivated. The email server must have ports opened on the firewall to send and receive emails, and emails should be backed up and archived for future use. Not only are email servers difficult to manage, but email is also a security hazard if it’s not protected properly.
With all of these risks and management headaches, using a hosted email system can take much of these hassles out of the hands of IT employees and into the hands of an email host that has hired personnel to manage email servers. Hosted email means none of the security, management and backups are tied to internal systems. Businesses with several hundred users can also find that email takes up much of the storage space on the network. Cloud hosts charge only for the storage used, so the cost is reduced as well.
Reduction of Network Traffic and Resource Usage
Any network manager who has dealt with email traffic knows that it can take up much of the network resources. Not only is storage capacity a growing concern when employee count increases, but the network traffic and performance also take a hit. Email between internal users is not the only communication used. Businesses that set up automated emails can sometimes send thousands of emails a day to customers. For instance, large businesses with automated emails for orders, customer service and newsletters need an email server with the power to handle these messages.
A business email hosting company uses servers specific for email volume and performance. The host also has dedicated email servers where some companies with a smaller budget put email applications on the same server as other hosted resources. This means that heavy volumes of email can affect applications during peak business hours.
Support for Email Servers
Since email servers must be active and functioning at all hours, using a hosted email solution greatly reduces the late night phone calls in case of an outage. Customers lose trust in a company if email messages fail. A crashed email server means customers receive an error when email is sent. This problem is mitigated using an email host, because the host receives an alert when a server crashes and a support person can fix the problem before too many messages fail. A good host has around-the-clock support, so email services don’t stall for long periods of time.
Although having an email host is slightly more expensive than hosting in-house, it greatly reduces the chance of bounced emails, crashed servers and late night phone calls to the IT manager. Customers have high expectations for communication, and a hosted solution can maintain these high expectations.
Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for open cloud company Rackspace Hosting.