Understanding Cloud-Based Email
Cloud-based email is one of the most used cloud services in the world. Although you might not know it, you’ve probably been using cloud-based email, such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook, for years personally. Yet, despite the prevalence and many advantages of cloud email for businesses, many users have been slow to catch on.
If you run one of the 30% of businesses that are still not using a cloud-based email service, here’s a quick guide to the best providers and the many benefits it can bring.
What is cloud-based email?
Cloud-based email is an internet-based service that is hosted and accessed online. Unlike an on-premises service, there’s no need to hire IT professionals to monitor or backup the email network, which is done for you by the service provider. And if your email system goes down, you can easily retrieve your information from the cloud backup.
Cloud email is also a very scalable solution that can easily grow with your business. That’s because, rather than hosting the email in your own data centre, all the onus is on the provider. It provides the server, the electricity, the rack space and the staff to support it. All you pay is a monthly fee to access the service and you can add users and storage space whenever you like.
Read more: Do I need cloud storage?
What are the most popular cloud email services?
Given the sheer number of providers, choosing the right cloud email for your business can be tricky. Here are some of the most popular as well as a couple that provide specific functionality.
With 1.5 billion users, Google’s Gmail is one of the world’s most popular cloud email providers and is second only to Apple’s native iPhone email app in terms of its usage. The main benefits of Gmail are its reliability, the number of options it has, how easy it is to use and the fact that you can access it from any device. But it’s not all plain sailing. It can be a little slow to load from time to time, managing different folders and labels can get confusing and strings of email conversations can sometimes be hard to follow. You can share files up to 25MB in size, while larger files can be shared through Google Drive.
Microsoft Outlook provides plenty of power, particularly for Office 365 users. With more than 400 million users, Outlook has intuitive events and calendar-related features and lots of excellent app-based integrations. You can also share files directly from OneDrive as copies or links and attach files directly from your Google Drive and Dropbox accounts. The only downsides are that it can sometimes take time to load and the most powerful features are reserved for Office 365 users.
Hubspot is a bit different to Gmail and Outlook as it’s designed specifically to help businesses create, personalise and optimise their marketing emails. You can create professional-looking campaigns quickly that can be seen on any device with detailed engagement analytics. The only downside is that as a piece of email marketing software rather than just a cloud email service provider, it does cost a bit more.
If you want an email provider that prioritises security and privacy, ProtonMail could be your go-to choice. With end-to-end encryption for messages, tight privacy features and address verification to make secure you’re communicating with the right person, it provides security that few other providers can match. However, the free version only provides 500MB of storage space and only supports 150 messages a day. The paid version gives you much more but it’s also more expensive than the mainstream competition.