If you’ve ever been working in an office when e-mail suddenly goes down, you know what a frustrating situation this can be. Workers who are waiting on e-mailed documents from clients or colleagues start to get jumpy, and the technical staff can feel hounded with questions about when the system will be restored.
This scenario is an uncomfortable one for many business owners, but it’s something to keep in mind when deciding whether you are going to host your e-mail in-house or outsource it to a third-party hosting company. The choice ultimately comes down to responsibility and control, so it’s worth reviewing the pros and cons of each setup.
Hosting in-house requires that you set up and mange your own e-mail server, which gives you a little more flexibility and control. Since you are not paying for storage, you can make e-mail accounts as large as you want, add accounts easily, or host multiple domains. Since you are maintaining the server, you can control what kind of spam and virus protection you are running and make sure that the software stays up-to-date.
You may find, however, that the cost of updating security software eats up some of the money you are saving by hosting in-house. You are also left with the responsibility of backing up the e-mail and making sure that you store the backed-up data in a separate, safe location.
Given the importance e-mail plays in modern business, it’s critical to think through how you want your e-mail managed and by whom. You probably won’t be able to avoid the disappointment that comes if and when the office e-mail goes down, but you will at least know you selected a trusted party to fix it.