E-mail is a major part of our business (and personal) lives. In fact, for the majority of our clients their e-mail service is as important as their telecoms, gas and electricity. When e-mail services aren’t working, the ability for quick communication and reception of customer enquiries is compromised.
Many of the businesses we meet don’t realise how much more they can do with their e-mail services to make them really useful. Let me explain what can be done…
The drawbacks of ‘traditional’ e-mail
Many businesses are still running on e-mail services that are hosted by their web hosts. Typically, these are what are called ‘POP3’ mail services. They have a number of drawbacks:
- They don’t really like multiple devices connecting at the same time – so don’t play that nicely with phones & tablets
- Storing e-mail on the server can be troublesome, meaning you can’t easily see your inbox via multiple routes such as desktop, phone & webmail
- Sent items can’t be kept on the server
- Most providers don’t support any encryption, of either the mail itself or your passwords -so security is poor
Another e-mail system called ‘IMAP’ works around these issues to a certain extent, but still suffers from issues such as poor support from certain e-mail clients, loss of synchronisation and no options for additional features such as calendar and notes sharing.
The benefits of Hosted Exchange
Exchange is an e-mail server from Microsoft, which has traditionally found wide-scale adoption in larger businesses. Some small businesses have gained the benefit of Exchange via Small Business Server, but adoption in most small business up until a few years ago was low due to the prohibitive costs of a server, the Exchange software, and the associated licencing.
Hosted Exchange has changed the game in that respect. Companies can now put their users onto Exchange mailboxes for a low monthly fee, and there are numerous providers in the marketplace offering these services.
We’ve found that Microsoft’s own Office 365 Hosted Exchange product offers a great combination of value (cost is approx. £2.60 per user, per month), storage (25GB per user) and, most importantly, availability (being backed by Microsoft, they have thrown huge resources at their hosting and support).
We asked a selection of our customers what they like most about Hosted Exchange compared to their old e-mail systems, and some of their feedback was:
“We can now see the same e-mail on whichever device we use. I’m no longer searching my desktop, phone and tablet to find the important e-mail I sent from one of them”
“Calendar sharing has made our company loads more efficient as I can book appointments into my staff member’s calendars, and vice versa – and we don’t end up with conflicts”
“I love that I can add something into my iPhone calendar and the staff back at the office can see it immediately. I’m on the road a lot, so used to end up with double booked appointments”
The benefit of having everything available on whatever device you’re on, in real time, is huge and really increases staff productivity. Management of mobile devices is also slick, with the option to remote wipe devices if they have been stolen, or to restrict what content staff members can access via their mobile.
Is there a benefit to going hosted when we have Exchange in-house?
There, that was easy!
But on a serious note, the benefits of moving from on-premise to cloud hosted are numerous, but include:
- Reduced server costs – less maintenance, no upgrading
- Speed up Small Business Server – if your SBS is slowing down, taking Exchange onto the cloud can really give it a new lease of life
- Less ‘eggs in one basket’ – should you have a major disaster or IT incident, e-mail is still available via another internet connection or phone
We’ve helped many of our customers take their Exchange to the cloud, and the migration process is designed in such a way as to ensure all e-mails are moved without any issues.
We’d love to talk to you about your e-mail needs, so drop us a line on 0118 9260084 and we can discuss how Hosted Exchange can benefit your business – whether you’re a 1 man band or have 100 employees.