Choosing an Email Provider

Jun 10th, 2012 | By | Category: Software and Tools

Email is the single most important tool for a training provider.  It will be the lifeblood of your business, the most important communication method you will have.  Choosing an email provider is a critical decision that unfortunately most people don’t spend enough time considering.

In House Email vs. Outsourced

You have two options with email:

  1. Setup and run your own email server.
  2. Outsource your email service to an external provider.

Even if you’re a tech savvy person who enjoys setting up and configuring email servers, we unequivocally recommend that you outsource the management of your email.  There is simply no way a small or even medium size business can compete with the reliability and deliverability that can be achieved by quality email providers, and to attempt to match the service on your own would be astronomically expensive.

Choosing an Email Provider

We recommend using the following criteria when choosing an email provider:

  • What email software will you use?  If you’re using Outlook and need calendaring, this will remove some options from you.
  • Is your mobile device supported? Most email providers support most mobile devices, but it’s best to check.
  • What does it cost? Is it priced by storage, by user, or something else?
  • How is their reputation?  Search online for the provider’s name and “downtime” or “failure” and see what comes back.
  • Do they provide a real-time status page in the event of a failure?  When incidents do happen, do they provide clear and timely information?

Our Recommendations

Note that we don’t make any money off these recommendations!

  1. Google Apps (for Business) – this is our number one recommendation, and the email provider we use.  Google Apps is great if you aren’t a heavy Exchange user and provides the number one web interface.  If you are using Exchange, there are some workarounds you’ll need to evaluate to see if this will work for you.  It works on all mobile devices, and even includes extras like Google Doc and 2 Factor Security for your account (if desired).  Business users can pay extra for more storage.
  2. Rackspace Hosted Exchange – for those users who need Exchange and want a 100% seamless experience with Outlook, we recommend Rackspace for your email needs.  Reliable but a tad expensive, it nevertheless is cheaper than doing it yourself.
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