An efficient email system is crucial to your business. When choosing one that is best for your company, evaluate how it will integrate with other programs and if it offers extra features that encourage collaboration.
For a small business, communication is key. As you establish a name for yourself in your industry, the last thing you need is a bad email system that disrupts contact with your customers. It is thus essential to decide which office management solution is the best email system for your small business. To make an informed decision, thoroughly evaluate each option: is Google Apps for Work, hosted Exchange, or Microsoft Office 365 the best choice for your company?
Although price is not everything, it does help you decide whether the services provided in a particular package are worth it. Microsoft Office 365’s basic email service is inexpensive, costing $5 a month per user. Other Office 365 email systems range in price from $8.25 to $12.50 per user per month. Google Apps for Work is similarly inexpensive, offering basic services for $5 a month or more advanced options for $10. Google provides many of its services for one month at a time, while Microsoft requires you to sign up its Office 365 services for at least one year. Hosted Exchange providers charge between $8 and $13 per person per month with few included services.
Consider the “extras” you can get along with each service offering, especially if you are looking for cloud solutions such as chat features, document sharing, or video conferencing.
While hosted Exchange providers cannot compete on basic service prices, they do offer free migration. This makes them less expensive if many of your employees regularly send emails from outside the office. However, if you only use email out of the office on rare occasions, it is less expensive to pay the occasional migration fees in exchange for lower base pricing.
Email Security and Compatibility
Small businesses today have the major responsibility of keeping customer data confidential, particularly in the healthcare industry where HIPAA compliance is mandatory. The best email system for your small business is one that will help you comply with all privacy laws and regulations, which keeps your customer safe and helps you avoid potential liabilities. In this respect, Office 365 is a great option.
Microsoft ensures that its services comply with all major US and international security regulations, including the EU Model and Safe Harbor Clauses, FISMA, HIPAA, SSAE 16, and ISO/ IEC 27001. By contrast, most hosted Exchange providers are compatible with EU Safe Harbor clauses and with SSAE 16, but little else. Google Apps for Work is somewhat better, being FISMA and HIPAA compliant, but has generally been slower to comply with new security regulations.
In addition to cost and security, never install a new office email system without taking into account the following factors:
- Prior Programs. If your office already uses Microsoft Outlook, installing Office 365 is less likely to disrupt your office than hosted Exchange or Google Apps for Work. If you use a CRM or other pieces of software, make sure these programs will integrate with your email system.
- Speed of Updates. Google Apps for Work and Office 365 make small updates over time, whereas hosted Exchange systems make larger updates all at once. The latter is thus more likely to create confusion, disrupt your business, and force you to spend time and effort figuring out the new email system. This may require new processes to keep your business running successfully.
- Available Memory. Microsoft Office 365 offers a full terabyte of storage for each user, compared to 30 gigabytes of space per user from Google. However, Google does offer unlimited storage to accounts with five users or more, as do some hosted Exchange providers. Make note that “unlimited” plans usually do have limits that are not specified upfront.
Ultimately, the best office email system for you company will vary based on the needs of your staff, customers, and other programs. The key to success is to install new systems from the bottom up, consulting employees and managers in each department to find a solution that works for everyone.
For more information on selecting the best office email system for your business, contact the IT experts at Scale. Call 501-588-3199 today to see how our managed IT services can provide solutions that optimize your business success.
Image licensed by Nguyen Hung Vu on Flickr
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