If you’re setting up a business website, you have to think about how you want to hand e-mail. NameHero does a pretty good job with hosting your email, but there are many things it doesn’t do. Spam is still a huge problem, no matter how we try and deal with it. And configuring e-mail to work with 3rd party applications hosted on your web server is always problematic. Just recently I decided to switch my WordPress “contact form” functionality to Google Forms because I didn’t want the hassle of hosting my own e-mail solution. Is it time to finally outsource your e-mail?
We Outsource Personal Mail – Should Business E-mail Follow?
None of us hosts our own e-mail servers. Instead, we hand over the dirty job of managing e-mail to companies like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo. So if it’s good enough for us, can it be good enough for our business? Maybe. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Let’s first start with the disadvantages.
Cons of Outsourcing E-mail
There are two major cons of outsourcing your business e-mail.
At the end of the day, you don’t have full control over how and where these services store your data. Companies like Google take great pains to reassure their customers that their data still belongs to them and that it’s hosted on the same infrastructure that Google themselves use to secure their own information. Plus, added security features like smart alert systems that warn you of suspicious sign-in attempts might make it even more secure than anything hosted on your servers.
A big difference between enterprise e-mail on the cloud is that it’s paid, compared to the free services we use every day. That means you don’t see any advertisements, and your data isn’t being mined to gauge your preferences or those of your users.
Nonetheless, its’ still proprietary information that’s not stored on your own servers. So this is something to keep in mind.
Customer Support is the Achilles Heel
Companies that operate on scales like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft aren’t used to dealing with customers. It’s not in their DNA. That’s why systems like AWS will never replace normal shared hosting.
This is where smaller cloud hosting companies like Fastmail or Protonmail might have the edge over the big providers. While Google (for example) promises customer support for their Workspaces, it’s just not something I associate with them. So if customer support is important for you, I suggest you should at least compare a few other smaller services. But of course, this comes with a loss of features and even potential security.
Pros of Outsourcing E-mail
The pros of cloud e-mail are pretty easy to identify.
No Hassle of Configuring E-mail
Good e-mail configuration is hard. It uses up resources on your servers, has to perform constant spam filtering, and needs to send potentially hundreds or even thousands of e-mails regularly to keep up with marketing demands. All the time that you spend worrying about whether your e-mail is working properly could be better spent on improving your business, or just relaxing instead :). If you rely heavily on e-mail to function properly, I would suggest that you seriously consider outsourcing your e-mail.
Security is Higher
While in the “Cons” section, we saw that data privacy might be a concern, it’s also true that outsiders will have a harder time compromising your e-mail if it’s hosted on a 3rd party service like Office 365. With 2-factor authentication, you can configure security policies that fit the security needs of your business. You can enable or disable offline storage, monitor suspicious logins, require encrypted and signed messages, and more.
These features are a lot harder to implement if you’re hosting your own e-mail.
It’s a constant tussle between hosting on your servers and outsourcing your apps to a 3rd party. The trend in the past few years has been towards the latter. With e-mail at least, it seems to be a no-brainer. Outsourcing is better. It’s cheap, more reliable, more secure, and scalable in a way that ordinary e-mail hosting can never be.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!