Webmail is ubiquitous in today's business, but often the choices between interfaces and email hosting solutions are difficult to decipher. Today we are taking a look at some of the more popular email solutions, and some open source alternatives.
Gmail for business
gmail is one of the most popular webmail platforms in the world. with over a billion active users many small and medium sized business have started using their business gmail software. G Suite is a full suite of office related tools that include professional email addresses. about 92% of startups use it, and about 60% of medium sized business have adopted the application suite. the G suite is a large enough topic to warrant it's own discussion, but we are focusing mainly on the gmail interface
the gmail webmail client is feature rich software that has been in active development since 2004. email is organized intuitively and the filtering system is excellent.
microsoft has several offerings for small businesses. over the years they have changed their focus from microsoft exchange servers to a subscription model using office 365
Office 365 includes email hosting as part of their package for small businesses. since many companies use Microsoft Office solutions, it is a natural fit for SMB's to extend into using office 365 for their emails. Office 365 base package includes online versions of its popular microsoft office products. other packages include desktop versions and more cloud storage.
in 2017 microsoft is in the process of shutting down Microsoft Hosted Exchange. however on premise exchange servers are still a viable option for many small businesses with larger budget. Microsoft Exchange provides more freedoms to handle email and gives you direct control over them. more control also means more maintenance and a more complicated set up.
For businesses using cpanel to host their websites, email hosting is included in the hosting package. Cpanel can host virtually unlimited email accounts and email forwarders. It is not as feature rich as some of the other solutions, but for many companies it more that fits the bill. It does offer calendar and contact sharing which is useful for collaborating.
Open Source Solutions
Mail in a box
mail in a box is a much more complicated approach, but is a self hosted open source solution. For companies that highly value privacy, and security, mail in a box is a good place to start. It is also significantly cheaper on a month to month basis than many other cloud hosted options, and is lower in resource usage than similar style self hosted platforms.
If you are looking for a more secure solution for a self hosted email platform that is still open source PEPS.IN it offers open source file sharing, email, and end to end encryption. It's by far the most secure of the email options, but like other self hosted options it's complicated and resource intensive. using a hosted VPS is expensive to maintain compared to other options, but it is scalable and for mid sized organization it might be a good option for a secure email platform.
each solution has it's benefits as well as drawbacks. to find the best solution it is a good idea to consult with an expert. At CHS Tech Solutions we have expertise in working with all of these solutions.