Email is mission critical for businesses. Picking the right communications provider can help your company be more efficient and competitive. If you are currently evaluating a new email service or server (installing and managing the server on your own equipment) here are some factors to consider:
1. Privacy. If your company uses email to communicate with customers, discuss product development, or distribute proprietary information; privacy considerations are essential. Depending on the version of Google Apps that you are using you may or may not be able to disable contextual advertising to your users.
2. Shared Calendars and Address Books. Business class email has become synonymous with collaboration tools such as shared calendars and contacts. With the proliferation of personal devices at work (BYOD), companies often depend on a diverse set of computers, phones, and tablets to be fully integrated. Look for an email/messaging service that provides support for Outlook, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, Android, iPhone, and other systems.
3. Real time chat/ video conferencing. Email isn't always the best form of communication. Sometimes you need to have a conversation. One of the best ways to achieve secure and private real-time messaging is through the use of an XMPP server that can connect with multiple clients. A good XMPP server or service can provide support for secure voice and video conferencing as well as well as private chats and document transfers.
4. Easy Administration and Management. Running a business often requires setting up and closing down email services on the fly. Look for a service that gives you the ability to easily manage multiple domains, users, and services. Some services will even allow you to pause users for a time.
5. Support and assistance. Having an email service or service that is supported by experts in the field is a major benefit. The right email services company can help you with complex migrations and email client specific issues. Often times paying a little more for these types of services can save you significant time and resources. If you are planning on installing your own email server, it is recommended to chose a server that is easy to install, configure, and manage.
6. Strong Spam and Virus Filters. Make sure to choose a server or service that comes equipped with strong anti-spam and anti-virus filters. Depending on your type of business and your needs the right provider can work with your company to customize these settings.
One email services company to take a look at is REVLY. REVLY provides easy to install software to run your own servers as well as a robust communication and file sharing service. REVLY provides support across email clients and devices and maintains a full-time help desk for users.