Your business email account is a premier communication tool. Consider your options if you are thinking about switching providers or choosing a new package for your organization.
There is no shortage of providers offering hosted email accounts. The benefits of hosted email are similar to those of Cloud computing and include:
- No need to use dedicated internal personnel or infrastructure to maintain email service
- Careful choice of hosts offers a high level of security, monitoring, and services
- Mobility over devices and locations gives you better, more flexible access to business communications
Earlier this year, a Gartner analysis of Cloud email led to some interesting findings, including:
- Approximately 13% of identified publicly listed businesses are using cloud hosted email.
- These early adopters are mainly using Microsoft 365 or Google Apps for Work as their provider of choice.
- Office 365 has an advantage in a regulated industry, while Google leads in sectors with less regulation and more competition for consumer products and services.
In the report, vice president of research at Gartner, Nikos Drakos, notes “Companies considering cloud email should question assumptions that public cloud email is not appropriate in their region, size or industry. Our findings suggest that many varied organizations are already using cloud email, and the number is growing rapidly.”
A look at free and paid services for your email account
Microsoft, Google, or free? Let’s take a look at some options.
- Google Apps for Work: Gmail is the email tool within Google Apps for Work. Functionality is the same as what you would find with a free Gmail email account, but Google Apps for Work also provides a personalized email address and enhanced mobility, function, and accessibility features. The enterprise version of Gmail neatly connects users and provides seamless business productivity tools.
- Office 365: Like Google Apps for Work, Office 365 delivers a powerful, connected computing environment with storage, scheduling, sharing, security, and a personalized domain name. If your business involves compliance or regulatory concerns, Office 365 offers data analysis and archiving tools within a well-supported business environment.
- Free: At least at the outset; freemium is a common business model for business tools. While larger organizations and enterprise still use legacy email packages or pay for hosted-email services, several big providers offer free email accounts—with the option to buy up for premium services and functionality. For startups and smaller businesses, free email accounts and tools include some standard capabilities and limited storage. The downside to free is reduced functionality, exposure to advertising and marketing pitches, lack of a personalized email account name, less security, and often no technical support. That said, leading free email account providers include:
There is no such thing as a perfect email account provider. Because security is an essential consideration, paid hosting makes sense. If you think there is value in your business, chances are good that a hacker is going to think the same thing someday. Do not be caught short with lackluster encryption, security monitoring, or late plugs and security updates.