When you are first setting up the infrastructure of a new business one of the important decisions that you have to make is which email system will be the engine behind your company. One thing is for sure, you want a solution that allows you to have a professional email address (i.e. @yourdomain.com) and not a free Gmail, Yahoo or AOL account. Although you can get a free email account with your web hosting, I suggest reviewing Google Apps (corporate Gmail) and Microsoft Exchange for all the additional features.
Both services offer calendars, documents, tasks and contacts that sync with your personal “cloud”. Both can be connected to MS Outlook, accessed through an online portal and synced with most mobile devices. These systems are hosted on the cloud and all of your information is backed up on a remote server so if you crash your computer or loose your phone, your system can be automatically backed up from your cloud.
Google offers a professional version of their Gmail service that gives you all the great functionality and tools normally associated with Gmail but with your customized domain name instead of the standard @gmail.com address. Google Apps includes email, Google Calendar, Google Documents, Google Tasks, Google+ and all the other Google tools. Google hosts your online services and the fee starts at $5/user per month.
Microsoft Exchange is anther email solutions that is usually the choice of larger organizations that wish to host their email server internally. Microsoft Exchange includes email, calendar tasks and notes modules. For small businesses I usually suggest taking advantage of outsourced hosting for email servers. Companies like GoDaddy offer these services at reasonable prices starting at $8.49/user per month.
After using both of these systems in a professional environment we chose to use Google Apps for my email service. We chose to use Google Apps for our company for a few different reasons:
- Price – Price is always an important factor for small businesses when making decisions.
- Convenience – As a Google Apps user you can use your Google credentials to log into different social networks, blogs and other services. When using the Google Chrome web browser extensions can be installed to further integrate Google Apps tools into your daily routine.
- Online Interface – As a web designer I often have numerous programs running on my computer at any given time. I prefer to have my email open in a web browser rather than Outlook the memory hog. Google Apps just has a far better online interface.
Once you choose your companies email system, comment and let us know about your experiences.