The Case for Business Class Email
For most small businesses, email is a critical part of their business. In fact, in a recent Gartner and Symantec study, it was determined that up to 75% of a company’s intellectual property resides in its email and other messaging applications.
As a mission-critical part of your business, email simply has to work, be fast, and always accessible from the office, on the road, or from home. Today, this means being able to access your email, contacts, and calendar directly from your computer, smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, so you’re never out of touch with your business. It also means this critical data needs to be safeguarded against loss.
Unfortunately, many small businesses still rely on outdated email solutions to manage and access their email. The most common are POP3 and IMAP. Developed in the 1980’s, these email solutions are often included (read “free”) as part of a web hosting package or by your Internet Service Provider.
POP & IMAP – What’s the Difference?
The main difference between POP & IMAP is the way in which they control your email inbox. When you use IMAP, you are actually accessing your inbox on the mail server. IMAP does not actually move messages onto your computer. You can think of an e-mail program using IMAP as a window to your messages on the server. Although the messages appear on your computer while you work with them, they remain on the central mail server. The benefit of IMAP is that it makes it easier to view email from home, work, or your mobile device because all of your email is stored on the server.
POP does the opposite. Instead of just showing you what is in your inbox on your mail server, it checks the server for new messages, downloads all the new messages in your inbox onto your computer, and then deletes them from the server. POP can create problems with duplicate & missing emails when accessing your account from multiple devices. Furthermore, because it downloads all of your email to your computer, you’re responsible for ensuring your email gets backed up.
Probably the biggest issue with POP and IMAP is that these technologies only support email and offer no provisions for calendar or contact information.
The Benefits of Hosted Exchange
The major benefits of Hosted Exchange is not in what it can do better than free email solutions, but rather what it can do that free email can’t. Starting with mobility and the built-in Exchange ActiveSync, any iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone can sync your email, calendar, and contacts. This mobile connectivity means you and your employees can be productive wherever they are.
With Microsoft Outlook on your Windows or Mac computers, you’re able to take full advantage of the full collaboration functions of Microsoft Outlook, such as group calendars, contacts, task schedulers, and file-sharing. Combine that with the Outlook Web App (OWA), which allows full Outlook functionality when the desktop version is not available, and the power of Hosted Exchange becomes clear. With secure anytime, anywhere access to your email accounts along with consistency across all of your devices, means less time worrying about email and more time spent doing business.
As you can see, Microsoft Exchange offers a quantum leap over basic email solutions. If you’re still using a POP or IMAP based email solution for your business, you’re missing out.