Many small business owners struggle with how to manage their company email. There are numerous options that are available today, with some so different that knowing where to begin can be an immense challenge. You can choose to use a free email provider like Outlook or Gmail, subscribe to an email-as-a-service provider for a low monthly cost, or host your own email if you wish.
The self-hosted approach is the traditional method that businesses use to manage their professional communication. Hosting packages are often incorporated into today’s top management companies like GoDaddy. You can also purchase them independently if you already work with a web hosting organization. This structure makes it possible to access your client on your computer through whatever system you currently use.
Many providers give you the opportunity to use web-based access for your business email needs as well.
If you’re wondering how to begin managing your corporate communications more effectively, then these are the pros and cons of hosting your own email to consider.
List of the Pros of Hosting Your Own Email
1. It provides you with an increased level of privacy.
When you decide to start hosting your own email, then you get to take advantage of the extra privacy that occurs because you are using a mail server under your control. You are no longer dependent on the security processes of third-party providers because everything remains under your supervision. Although you may need to provide your web hosting company with a small fee to include this service with your online presence, it is a simple way to add another layer of protection to your communication habits.
2. You can sometimes receive this option for free.
Many web hosting providers will give you the option to host your own email for free. You can access this option through your dashboard or panel in a way that is similar to what an email-as-a-service or a public option provides to the average user. Although there are some technical aspects to this option that you may need to learn, the process is relatively straightforward. If you know how to use a computer fairly well, then you can figure out how to use this system for your communication requirements.
3. It allows you to make email accounts in whatever size you want.
Because you are the one who is setting up and managing your own e-mail, then you have the flexibility and control to design it in whatever way suits your needs the best. Because you aren’t paying for storage with in-house email hosting, you can make the accounts be whatever size you want them to be for your needs. It is much easier to add new accounts to your system as well, set up multiple domains, and create an identity that people will associate with your brand instead of a third-party provider. Telling people to email your Hotmail address (some people still have them!) doesn’t communicate the same level of professionalism as having them send a message to your specific domain.
4. There is only one login for you to remember.
When you decide to host your own email, then there is only one set of credentials that you need to remember to access this service. You don’t need to worry about giving access to other people because you can assign accounts to them that they can personalize. You’ll have a single control panel to use that allows you to administer your internal and external communication needs very efficiently. Although there are challenges to face with this option, most people find that it usually makes their life easier – especially if they can route it to an existing web access service like Outlook.
5. It requires only one support team for troubleshooting purposes.
Even if you decide to outsource your email hosting needs because you can’t make heads or tails of it, hosting your own makes it possible to reduce your exposure to just one team. You will discover that the agencies that can help you to setup this service can improve your intranet, provide other IT resources, and give you a single port of call whenever you have a question that requires an answer.
6. There are faster response times.
When you are working with your own team, then it means that you have the ability to make upgrades or improvements at any time you want. This structure gives you the opportunity to take advantage of new technologies whenever they become available when you are hosting your own email. The only requirement to take advantage of this benefit is the availability of resources when it comes time for implementation.
7. Your customization possibilities are endless.
When the email is on your own server, then you can configure its limitations and abilities to an almost infinite extent. The sky really is the limit with what you can host when you choose this option over something like email-as-a-service. It even gives you the chance to take advantage of utility pricing so that you were not billed for the bandwidth or traffic that you do not consume each month. There are even opportunities to choose from different disaster recovery options, which allows you to save on backup costs in the long run as well.
8. It prevents you from losing your web hosting and email services simultaneously.
When you decide to self-host to your email, then you are creating a layer of separation between your website and corporate communication. If you have your email service tied to your web host and it goes down for some reason, then you are going to lose both until your service is restored. Although that may not seem like a critical issue at first, IX Webhosting once had an extended outage that lasted more than two weeks in 2012 for some consumers. What would happen to your business if you lost access to your email and website for that length of time?
9. You get rid of the other companies trying to scan your email.
Although it may be convenient to use an email provider instead of setting up beer on the web host, you won’t call prey to the prying (legal and illegal) that happens on sites like Gmail where the provider could be compelled to turn over your messages without notifying you of what is going on. Private servers are not vulnerable to this issue because the information is under your control. If the government wants to get a hold of your communication, then they need to come see you with a search warrant or subpoena.
List of the Cons of Hosting Your Own Email
1. There are only a handful of web-based options available.
If you want to access your self-hosted email, then there are only a few options available that will give you a web-based service today. That means your options are limited when trying to communicate with customers, vendors, and distributors. You will need to have direct access to your online presence to obtain the items that are in your inbox, which is sometimes not a possibility if you happen to work remotely.
2. It does not offer the same level of spam filtering.
When you begin to communicate with other people through your business email, then you will discover that most self-hosting options do not offer the same levels of spam and phishing control that you will discover with other forms of this service. Everything that gets sent your way may end up in your inbox. The providers that do offer this option will charge you more to have it included with your structure. That’s why many companies prefer to use an email-as-a-service option instead of hosting their own.
3. There is a wide range of reliability and uptime figures in the industry.
The differences between downtime and reliability can be quite extensive if you’re thinking about hosting your own email. There are some providers who are much better than others in this industry, but only a handful can even compete somewhat with email-as-a-service options or public-use products. You may discover that accessing your email or sending messages becomes a challenge if the reliability of this option is questionable. You might get to enjoy more privacy because this service is on your mail service, but that advantage is negated if you’re unable to send out emails in the first place.
4. It can offer migration challenges to consider.
If you’re trying to migrate your email when changing web hosts and you are hosting your own, then it can be exceptionally challenging to complete this task. You may discover that it is easier to download a record of your messages or save them as a hardcopy than it is to transfer everything over. This process might offer you a fresh start, but sometimes that is not what a small business owner wants to receive.
5. It requires you to know the technical side of sending an email.
Although there are numerous people who know the technical processes that occur when sending an email, the average person tends to take a point-and-click approach. If you decide to use a self-hosted service, then you must know what it takes to set up the system for it to meet your specific needs. This process can take a significant amount of time to complete when compared to products like Google Apps for Work that help you to create an email-as-a-service structure instead.
6. There is a frequent need to update your security software.
When you decide to start hosting your own email, then it becomes your responsibility to maintain the security of the system. Hackers can still try to access the system if you connect it to the Internet to send messages. That means some of the money that you can save by keeping things internal gets eaten up by the need to update the software that keeps you protected. You are also stuck with the responsibility of ensuring that everything remains backed up and that you store the data in a secure location.
If you were to use a vendor for your email instead, then the third-party provider would be responsible for all of the updates to your service. They would handle the security on your behalf. You would also receive the software updates automatically instead of needing to install them at your location upon release.
7. You will have additional costs to think about that some businesses ignore.
If you decide to host your own email, then you had the expense of a server to consider when managing this communications tool in-house. You will also need to invest in the electricity and other utility requirements that may be necessary to self-host your messages as an organization. There are times when added bandwidth may be necessary, which means another cost will hit your budget. Unless you plan to do all of the work on your own, then you will need to hire a dedicated team of experts or outsource this service to a trusted provider as a way to protect the integrity of your system. If something goes wrong, then it is your team that becomes responsible to solve the problem.
8. There can be issues with accountability.
If you are hosting your own email, then it is you who is ultimately accountable for what happens with your server. Many business owners discover that it is a lot easier to fire a vendor than it is to terminate the employment of their workers. Even if you hire a third-party provider, it is your decision that is on the hook for the experience that occurs. That means if a problem occurs, you can find a lot of people throwing up their hands to say, “Not my fault!” That leaves you with a problem to solve and potentially no way to do so.
The pros and cons of hosting your own email try to balance the privacy and convenience of working with your mail server with a service that can provide many of these services on your behalf. If you are confident with your abilities on the technical side of things, then a self-hosting plan makes a lot of sense to use. When your preference is for a point-and-click email experience, then a different solution may provide better outcomes for you.
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