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5 Tips For Evaluating An Email Provider

Business email has become more mission critical than a phone. Before deciding on an email provider, make sure you address the most important aspects of email hosting. Build an at-a-glance snapshot of potential providers with our email hosting provider comparison worksheet.

With that in mind, here are five things to evaluate while selecting an email provider.

Support Structure

You don’t want to face a 3 a.m. email issue without immediate access to your email service provider. Avoid tiered email support. You don’t want to go through multiple reps before finally speaking with a technical resource to actually fix your problem. Support based in other countries can create language difficulties or time zone anomalies affecting your ability to effectively communicate with your email provider.

Tip: Don’t settle for anything less than live, around-the-clock, admin support.

Security

An email provider is responsible for ensuring the privacy and safety of your email data. Data centers should incorporate a multi-authentication system to control physical access. Your email provider should supply standards-based encryption and protections to keep email safe from threats. Ensure a potential email provider practices IP hygiene to keep your business’ email out of recipients’ spam folders. Email providers who allow bulk email have issues with blacklisted IPs causing email you send to be treated as spam by recipients’ IPs.

Tip: Ask for details about an email provider’s spam, virus, and security policies.

Uptime

For businesses that rely on email for communication, downtime means work comes to a standstill. Uptime guarantees are essential. They represent the email service provider’s level of dedication to keeping your business up and running. Legitimate email providers set specific uptime guarantees with financial penalties. Review the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for conditions around uptime. Not understanding how a provider handles uptime can result in extended periods of downtime with no motivation for a provider to work around the clock for a resolution.

Tip: Look for a clearly stated SLA with stiff consequences for downtime.

Feature Set

Picking a low-cost email provider with stripped down features can hamper employees’ productivity. Selecting an overly feature-rich email system may mean overpaying for features only a few employees really use. Choose an email provider that offers a choice of email platforms to avoid using multiple providers for email-related services. As you evaluate email products, consider your legacy email platform and how it will impact your migration experience.

Tip: Find email providers with multiple email platforms and related services.

Price

Some email providers conceal hidden fees and inflexible contracts behind attractive introductory rates. Email is mission-critical. Skimping on service to save money can lead to unreliable delivery, virus attacks or excessive downtime. Pricing research should include asking about contract terms and penalties for cancellation. Be wary of long-term contracts with heavy fines for early cancellation. Look for month-to-month billing and no-questions-asked cancellations.

Tip: Knowing that customers can cancel anytime keeps your email provider constantly working for your business.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Lizetta Staplefoote.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a Rackspace Marketing Copywriter with a decade of experience writing about small business challenges for healthcare, real estate, and technology. Her passion is researching and writing about the impact of cloud computing. When she's not wordsmithing, she enjoys hanging out with her sons, exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, and feeding her music addiction.


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