Business Email Services

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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You've decided to outsource the company email system for the first time. Maybe you're just thinking about switching from one vendor to another for any number of reasons. The number of firms specializing in email security has increased remarkably in the last several years in response to both advances in technology and proliferation of spammers and virus attacks. Taking time in your search for vendors makes sense, not the least of which are the going costs for the in-house IT staff needed to maintain network infrastructure security.

Shopping for Email Services

The criteria for email service vendors for a business fall under two headings--capacity and security. Under capacity you'll have protocol, server capacity, account allotment, storage, archiving, IP specification, among others. Under security, you want to see quarantine access, disaster recovery, multi-engine virus scanning, and multi-layer spam filtering, for a start. Let's look at these separately.

What's important in the first group is largely common sense in matching current needs with growth goals. Services--whether for smaller businesses looking for fewer than 100 mailboxes, medium-size companies looking for form 100 to 500 mail accounts, or large companies looking for more than 500 mailboxes--typically include both SMTP and POP3 protocols, mail storage ranging from 25 megabytes to 100 megabytes per account, and either dynamic IP addresses.

More advanced features might include wireless services and both incoming and outgoing content management. Security issues, of course, are the primary consideration with outsourced email services, whether on premises or off premises. The advantages in off-premises arrangements include lower costs, lessened vulnerability, quicker response to spam and virus attacks, more extensive filtering, and more comprehensive firewalls.

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