Email has become essential to the business world. Just as the two-way radio became essential for police forces after an initial skeptical period, email has become a cornerstone of business communication. Whether you provide your email in-house or contract it out to a third party, there are things you must have in your email system to make it viable. When purchasing a system, look for these five things:
While hardware today is extremely reliable, it still fails, usually at the worst possible moment. When the inevitable failure hits, a backup from the night before gets your email up and running quickly; mail lost from before the failure and after the backup can usually be recovered from the sending site. Replies, if kept on a local drive, may also be recovered fairy fast. Replies kept on the server will be lost, unless you have a mirror drive in operation.
The point is, backup your email system daily. How long you retain the backups is a matter of policy, but having a backup done the night before the crash makes all the difference in terms of how fast you recover.
Virus Protection/Spyware Protection
It’s an unfortunate reality, but your systems are continuously under attack by viruses and malware, and your email is the largest portal through which they enter. Active virus and spyware scanning keeps suspicious attachments from making it to an unwary recipient. It also keeps suspicious website addresses embedded in mail messages from getting through.
You need virus and spyware protection on your machines as a natural course of business. Using the active protection features provided by most vendors, you can stop the nasty bits from getting through the door.
Every email system is subjected to spam. Spam email is equivalent to the paper junk mail you get in your physical mailbox, and it’s even more unwelcome. Spam mail fills a user’s box quickly and must be dealt with one message at a time. To combat spam, email systems employ Bayesian filters to move the vast majority of spam out of the inbox and into the junk mail folder. You want an email system with solid spam filters, or you want a separate device in your network to stop the junk before it gets into your system.
Your business’s email comes into your server, and is popped down to a user, or read via IMAP, on a desktop, laptop or tablet. With today’s mobile workforce, chances are your employees carry smartphones. If your email system has active synching, email can be sent to a phone as easily as an employee reads it at their desk. Keeping the mobile inbox up-to-date is a smart move.
Most email systems without push mail require the end user to refresh their inbox before new mail is received on a smartphone. With push mail, new mail is always sent to the mobile inbox, eliminating the necessity of refreshing. If your workforce has smartphones, and you have a standard email client on those phones, use push mail to keep new messages arriving in the mobile inboxes. Most smartphones have different tones to alert the user when new texts or new emails arrive, so the user can decide if they need to interrupt a meeting to read a message.
Your email is one of your business’s lifelines. Keep it up and running, and protect yourself from crashes, spam mail, and the bad guys who are trying to break in. Doing this pays off, both in employee and customer satisfaction and on your bottom line.