Enterprise grade email services are increasingly, being made available. The service vendors in this niche are often mature players who understand the need of their customers and have created robust email functionalities for their use. Hosted email providers include Google, IBM, Intermedia, Microsoft, Navisite, Rackspace and several others.
Hosted email and collaboration services may be built on several different kinds of platforms, including POP3/IMAP, Microsoft hosted exchange or other proprietary technologies. The users today, include small and medium enterprises and even large enterprises that have began to embrace the Cloud. Cloud based email solutions help these organizations connect disparate parts of the enterprise under a single umbrella solution. A few organizations are adopting Cloud based email as a secondary, backup solution in case their primary email solution runs into problems. Other organizations see this as an opportunity to extend email services to employees, who did not have access to enterprise email as ease of deployment and low costs make this feasible.
Statistics collated by research organizations in 2012 reveal that about 21% of the Business mail boxes around the world use hosted business mailboxes.
The mailboxes come in varied sizes and flavors. The most popular flavor is the POP mailbox, Google Gmail and Microsoft Exchange server. Some mailboxes are offered in combinations to provision for multiple platforms and add unique value to the service. The mail box size is flexible, scalable and permits large attachments (of several gigabytes) and unlimited storage. The management consoles associated with these mailboxes is intuitive. Users and Administrators can interact with these interfaces at granular levels. A number of migration tolls are available for users who wish to migrate mails from other mail boxes. The user Active Directory can be synchronized with the Active Directory of the Service Provider’s server to facilitate quick provisioning of users and groups.
As vendors strive to differentiate themselves with the kind of support, security and mobility services they provide, users have a field day. Most Cloud based email and collaboration services offer 24 x 7 support via phone or email. Service level agreements (SLAs) give assurance of 99.9% uptime guarantees. Anti-spam and anti-virus support is a given. Email encryption is inevitable adjunct of the service. Mobility features may include over the air (OTA) email synchronization for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync or BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) or even IP acceleration technology.