Deciding between in-house or hosted email options is one of the most important decisions a business can make.
Email forms the heart of how most people communicate today and nowhere is this more apparent than in the workplace. The broad availability and adoption of broadband has meant email has quickly risen to overtake both the traditional telephone and the more technological fax machine as the primary form of day-to day (and legally binding) business communication.
So with the advent of email, how important is it to have full control? With so much communication taking place in a stored data form, companies have to pay extra careful attention to data protection and storage laws.
This is in addition to any industry-specific guidelines on information management best practice that any business needs to follow, as well as the duty of care it must uphold to the people who have supplied data in email form – such as customers, suppliers and staff – to ensure that inbound, outbound and stored email is kept safe and secure.
Companies also need to pay close attention to the problems created by spam and other unwanted and unsolicited email traffic. Despite many successful law enforcement crackdowns on notorious email spam senders, spam traffic continues to consume bandwidth and storage, with some 40 billion spam messages currently being dispatched daily.
Ensuring email remains safe, secure and reliable is essential. There are a number of different approaches that you can take to achieve it, whether you want to place the security resource on-site within the confines of the business network, or move security off-site completely – perhaps along with the rest of your email infrastructure – into the Cloud.
Cloud-based email security – such as that provided by GFI MailEssentials – works as a buffer between the mail server and the wider Internet. All inbound and outbound email is received at the security service before being passed to the mail server.
This happens whether that server is also in the same Cloud, a different Cloud, or even back on the premises. Doing this ensures that the content is virus-free and confirms with content policy before it is released for sending or for downloading to a client PC.
This buffer approach delivers a range of end user and IT department benefits:
- Inbound and outbound virus scanning – all email traffic passes through the cloud product, ensuring that malware is stripped from messages before they reach the client computer in either direction.
- Spam filtering before the point of reception – spam and blacklisted content can be intercepted and retained off-site before it ever reaches the mail server, let alone the client.
- Centralised maintenance and updates – email security in the cloud benefits from faster deployment of new definition files, system updates, refreshed blacklists and content filters. One update by a solution provider updates all cloud instances.
- Ease of administration – web based consoles make it easy to configure and alter security settings from any location, as well as monitor email traffic and the level of malware being intercepted.
- Point of failover – if the email server fails or has to be taken down for planned maintenance; mail can be queued in the cloud until the mail server is back online.
There are additional benefits to using a Cloud-based service like MailEssentials including both operational and acquisition, such as no financial outlay for physical hardware or maintenance costs, no software licences to buy and capacity can be scaled up or down as the business requires.
Up-front costs are usually low, with many vendors charging preferential rates to set up a Cloud service, while monthly or yearly recurring charges are often on a par with the maintenance and security update costs of an in-house/on-premise solution.
Economies of scale
Cloud services can offer these attractive prices because of economies of scale associated with having shared datacentres and hardware running at full capacity, using virtual images to separate customer instances which comply with data protection and compliance regulations.
They are also an attractive business model for start-ups where a small business with say, fewer than five employers, may not initially want to invest in an email server and email security until the company has established itself.
Using a Cloud-based service allows the company to focus on running the business and leaves the email strategy to third-parties. This can also be a cost-effective option as a business may not be in a position to hire dedicated IT staff.
But it is also suitable for companies in a period of constant growth. These businesses may opt to have the email server hosted in-house for security and compliance purposed but to avoid having to deal with licensing of an email security solution, and the associated maintenance, choose a Cloud-based service which takes care of it all.
The emergence of business-ready Cloud email services has broadened the market and the options and the ways of working that are open to business users, but it is important that an option is chosen because it best fits the business, not because it is the popular format of the moment.
As a partner with GFI, we are offering you a free MailEssentials 30-day trial. Simple to set up, easy to use and with no obligations. Just see how it works. Receive your free trial today.