Until recently, server-based email was pretty much the only good option for business. Now web-based or cloud-based email has become extremely popular because in many cases, it saves businesses time and money. If you’re thinking about making the switch, cloud services could be a game-changer for your business. We’re here to help you weigh your options. We’re about to give you a handful of reasons we believe for most businesses, cloud-based email is better. But first, let’s define what it is in the first place.
Email Clients vs. Cloud-Based Email — What’s the Difference?
It can be a little confusing because the way we access and use email has evolved so gradually. Most people just think of the steps they go through to create, send, receive, and read email, not what’s going on behind the scenes.
The biggest difference between storing email on a server at your physical location and cloud-based email is where your email is stored. With traditional storage, you install an email client on each computer. When you need your mail, you log in using that computer. That’s where your email and attachments are stored.
If you decide you want to work with a file attachment your boss sent you earlier in the week, you don’t have to have internet access, because everything is stored on your computer. However, if you go home, you can’t use your cell phone or your personal laptop to retrieve that email.
With a cloud-based email, your email is stored at a remote location. Sometimes it’s stored at several remote locations. You access it using the Internet. You can’t get to it without an Internet connection, but as long as you have that, you can log in from any device and any location. If you have a Gmail, Yahoo, or Mail.com email, you’ve already been using cloud-based email, and you’ve probably already experienced some of the many benefits.
1. Cloud-Based Email Costs Less
If you’ve had to buy a server lately, you know they cost as much as (sometimes more than) a new sedan. And, you need IT support to install, configure, and properly maintain it, and computer experts aren’t cheap either. Traditional business email takes a large investment to get started. Then businesses have ongoing expenses for maintenance and updates. You’ll also need to maintain physical office space to house and cool that equipment.
Cloud-based email has a monthly fee that usually works out to cost less. Your provider handles all the maintenance and houses all the equipment. You don’t have surprises that come up when tech breaks, just a predictable monthly fee based on the features you require and the number of users on staff. We compared four of our favorite cloud-hosted email solutions for business here.
2. Cloud-Based Email Allows Access From Anywhere
This is probably the biggest benefit of cloud-based email, especially in today’s market. In the past, being able to work from anywhere was a luxury. People thought just the uber-successful needed to be able to check email from their limo or that only freelancers worked from home. We’ve since learned how vital it is for businesses of every size to be able to provide immediate access to staff members who aren’t on-site.
Cloud-based email provides remote access to anyone with a login and an Internet connection, on any type of device. Your business becomes mobile and your employees have the tools they need to be productive anywhere.
3. Cloud-Hosted Email is Scalable
When you store email on your computer, there’s a limited amount of space. If you have a surge in the number of employees you have or the amount of data you use, you may have to buy more equipment. Then, if things return to previous levels, you’re stuck with equipment you may not need again before it becomes outdated.
With a cloud-hosted email, if you hire more people, you just sign up for more users. If you downsize, notify your provider and they’ll get rid of those accounts and stop billing you for them. It’s the perfect no-waste solution.
4. Cloud-Based Email Has Security Benefits
Every computer system has vulnerabilities. Whether you use a mail client or move email to the cloud, there are security risks. If you work with a reputable cloud-hosted email provider, you some of the security risks that come with on-site hosting. For example, let’s say a small electrical fire starts in a back office. The sprinklers kick on and put it out, but the water destroys several computers and the contents of your server room. The next day (and probably many days after that) your employees can’t access email or other data that was stored on-site.
However, if your email is cloud-hosted, none of that data was stored in your building when the sprinklers went off. You’ll still have a mess, but you won’t experience the data loss and downtime that was inevitable with the first scenario.
If you work for an industry that has strict data protection regulations, there are cloud-hosted email providers that specialize in those industries. They’ll stay up to date with HIPPA, FISMA, FERPA and banking changes as they evolve to keep your company continually in compliance.
Schedule a Cloud Computing Consultation
To some people, the cloud sounds like a dubious solution for business. It helps to be able to talk with an expert, to ask your questions and talk about whether or not cloud computing could help with challenges specific to your business. Get in touch with our staff when you schedule a free consultation today.