Dante's 10th Circle of Hell - Running Your Own Email Server

This is a very biased opinion, and is intended for those of you small businesses still running a mail server somewhere in your office. While the number of companies still doing this is declining, it still surprises me (and drives me crazy) when I come across a prospective customer still doing their own email.

Running and managing an email system is hell. Period. The risks are way too high. You can't convince me that having an aging piece of equipment, loaded with an aging piece of software, running on your insecure office network, is smart to do nowadays.

If you just consider the threats of viruses transmitted via email and the massive amounts of spam that has to be managed, this alone justifies NOT doing it yourself. Then consider the thousands of dollars of depreciating assets in your closet (server and software), plus IT costs for tweaking and maintaining, and the decision is even clearer. Finally, consider your organization's email retention policies and requirements for backing up and storing.

The answer, in my opinion, is changing to one of the cloud-based systems such as Google Premier Apps or Outlook.com.

We know, you love your Outlook client running on your Windows laptop. You've got all you emails for the last 10 years nicely organized in all your folders. Outlook has a great little calendar that ties nicely together and sends out cool little meeting confirmation emails. We've been through all the stages and have many customers who are in the various stages of email "sophistication".  We understand your concern and don't want to upset your system. But hey, things change. If you're stuck in the "local email client" paradigm (an email client like Outlook running on your computer), it's time you learned something new. There are many supplemental benefits to doing so.

In today's cloud-based, software-as-a-service, tons-of-free-or-low-cost-storage world, you can have a powerful, feature rich, SAFE (as in virus screened) and SPAM-free email system for $50 per user per year. Trust me, that's a fraction of what it's costing you now if you're running your own email system. The two products I typically recommend are Google Premium Apps and Outlook.com. Google because I know it best, use it myself, and think it's a great bargain. Outlook because I have many clients who are "crack-addicted" to their Outlook client which I "think" offers a better interconnection between web and machine systems. There are many other email providers that can offer cloud-based enterprise email.

If you have a relationship with a company who maintains your email server and office network now, ask them their opinion. If they're honest, and not interested in just keeping the email server ticket running, they'll help you out. If they tell you to keep your email server, start thinking about a new IT partner.