Be Aware of Option or Guarantee Availability
Pitfall #4: Be aware of option or guarantee availability It is critical when shopping for an outsourced e-mail solution to find a provider with a good reputation, specifically around e-mail reliability, transition assistance and the ongoing support they provide for their e-mail services.Looking at all the available "add-ons" such as mobile access and collaboration tools, you are likely to find a number of options that can help your business. Most companies want their executives to have mobile access, but many other types of workers also benefit from "anywhere access" to e-mail, calendars and contacts. And don't forget to look for collaboration options: can you look at or share calendars and contacts? Are shared calendars writable by others? Pitfall #5: Migration shouldn't scare you The process of moving e-mail from in-house servers, from an ISP or from another hosted e-mail provider to a new hosted e-mail provider can seem daunting. Look for companies with experience in migrating e-mail from many different platforms. And expect a new provider to work closely with you in building a migration plan that ensures no lost e-mail and no lost productivity for your users. Pitfall #6: It should all come down to support If you are considering hosting your e-mail through a provider, be sure to look for a strong support structure. Tier 1, Tier 2, engineering and data center staff who are available 24/7 can be found in a few select providers and will create a much better, long-term situation for your company. Keeping e-mail up and working, answering questions expertly and promptly, and keeping spam down to the barest minimum takes a lot of work-and not many providers are able to accomplish everything you'll need. In the end, you're looking for a solution that can save money and time. If you go with a paid hosted solution, you can get a carrier-grade solution with all of these features-and at a cheaper price than purchasing yourself and building in-house. You get more for less money. You can avoid capital expenditures and are on an easy-to-manage, month-to-month pricing plan. But it shouldn't always be just about saving money. Go with a provider with a good reputation that can provide a true, business-class e-mail solution. Look for real differentiators when it comes to support, transition help, infrastructure reliability and especially SLA promises. The options for hosting online are better than they have ever been. Kirk Averett is the Director of Services and Support at Mailtrust (a division of Rackspace Hosting), which he joined in 2004. Prior to Mailtrust, Kirk was a General Manager for Charter Communications where he managed cable and Internet services around Virginia. Kirk earned a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Utah Valley University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
You'll also want to check out additional options that might really help your company. Most paid providers will state upfront what their uptime guarantees are, but read the fine print because very few back those guarantees with money. Backing a guarantee provides a strong incentive to a hosted e-mail company to live up to their commitment and avoid making compromises when building their e-mail solution. If the SLA (service-level agreement) really has "teeth", then it will hurt them if they fail you. This ensures the provider has the right infrastructure in place so this won't happen.