There has been a few comments on the Geekzone forum lately about email issues, so I thought I would write an article about it. All the time people are playing Russian Roulette with their emails. Generally all the problems come from people using “Free email services”. Like pop email, imap email, xtra email, Gmail and other free email system.
These free systems are great until something goes wrong!
You may ask what could possible go wrong? Let me tell you.
- Your laptop, iPhone, pc or Mac can get stolen
- Your hard drive could crash
- Your PC can get infected by ransomware
- Your webmail account could get hacked
- Your PC or laptop is destroyed in a fire or flood or earthquake
It is when something like the above happens that people begin to realise the value of business quality email. Just like the person that decided insurance is a good after the accident. When the unlucky person that finds themselves in any of the above situations generally are wishing they had a more robust email system.
What is wrong with POP or imap email?
Pop email was designed for dial up, you know when we first got the internet back in 1999 and you had a 56k screechy dial up modem. Your PC would connect to the internet, then you would open your email client and download your pop email. You could then disconnect the internet and read your emails and reply. The next time you connect with your screechy modem it would send those replies. POP email was perfect for back then. Now we are always connected to the internet.
One of the biggest problems amongst others is that the only place that POP emails exist is on your one device when you download your email and when you respond to an email, only that one device has a copy of the sent item. There is no synchronisation between all your devices. And as anyone that is in IT knows, having important data in one place is just not a good idea. As a side note, people have their little hacks which involves leaving POP email on the server for 30 days to sync between different devices and have rules to send sent messages to other email accounts but really it turns into a convoluted setup fairly quickly.
What is wrong with Gmail?
Then even with a service which I consider to be very good for being free, Gmail. Don’t get me wrong, if someone wants a free email account for emails that are not that important I always recommend Gmail. I also used to setup clients with Gmail for business until not very long ago. But I had an issue, the person was moving from a pop account to Gmail and was using Outlook for Mac. I exported the email data and then for the life of me I could not import the email data for one user. I tried several different methods and it worked for everyone but this one user.
I realised then that I could not get any support from Gmail at all, apart from forum support. This point I realised the importance of having support for the odd time that it is needed.
What is wrong with imap?
Imap is ok and is a step in the right direction as it enables emails to sync on multiple devices, however it does not sync contacts and calendar. So I personally don’t bother with it at all.
So which email system do you recommend for business?
If anyone that had read my responses on Geekzone forums know, I recommend Microsoft Office 365. Why you might say well many reasons which are listed below.
- It is amazingly cheap $7.30/month or $6.10/month if you purchase a year in advanced
- It syncs emails, contacts and calendars between multiple devices
- You can upgrade your plan and get the latest copy of Microsoft Office
- You can share your inbox, contacts and calendars with staff
- Microsoft Office 365 has a pretty good support system
- And most importantly your email data remains in the Microsoft Office 365 email server
Office 365 Support
I have had to get support for Microsoft Office 365 several times, they have a support ticket system and if you give your phone number someone will call you within a few hours. Brilliant a real live person to discuss your issue and get it resolved, which is really amazing for a low priced product like this.
Office 365 Downsides
Are there downsides to Microsoft Office 365, well sure there are a few. Your emails are hosted in Microsoft’s datacentre in Singapore, although I have heard rumors that Microsoft may be setting up a datacentre in Australia. Which means there is a bit of latency which is not an issue with emails, as if it take a few seconds more to get your emails that is not a big deal.
The only time I would suggest not using Office 365 is if you have highly sensitive emails that you need to keep private then you would need to spend thousands of dollars setting up your own Microsoft Exchange server, plus licensing, plus backup etc. Of course there is also financial break points when your organisation gets big enough it may make sense to have your own Microsoft Exchange server and that is up to each IT manager to determine for themselves as price and security are not always the major factors in any decision like this.
On summary, I think that most if not all businesses email contains important information that is worth protecting. Really cost should not be a factor as when something goes wrong with free email the consequences are very bad and can be very expensive to fix, if you have ever sent a hard disk for data forensics you will know. For less than the cost of two cups of coffee per month for each staff member can have high quality business email that in a lot of cases increases their productivity and enable you to sleep at night knowing it is just taken care off and is backed up off site.
CyberHub was not paid for this article at all, however CyberHub is a Microsoft Partner and we setup and resell Microsoft Office 365 for clients.