I work for a company which is the parent company for about four other companies. The four other companies all access their e-mail from an Exchange 2007 server which is administered in-house by me. Up until a few months ago this had been working great but as the businesses grew it became increasingly difficult to administer the Exchange Server and keep on top of backups and the complex nature of routing multiple domains all while still doing the rest of my work as well.
The implementation of the Exchange server admittedly wasn’t very well planned and ran on a very underpowered system, this made administering it even more of a headache and just to make it worse we also ran our own SonicWall spam filtering appliance which costs $3,000AUD per year to license.
As our need for a reliable and easily accessible e-mail system became more and more important it was decided to outsource our entire e-mail system. Queue Google Apps. Before I continue can I just say that this is not a sponsored post or anything, I am not receiving compensation of any kind from anyone. I can see how someone reading this might be thinking that it might be the case.
After looking at a lot of overpriced solutions from our own ISP and other service providers I decided to set up a Google Apps account with one of our lesser used email domains just in case it all went to hell I would disrupt a minimal amount of people. Three days into using the system and I can not believe that we did not consider doing this a long time ago and so far I am only using the free service!
The directors love it and are looking to pay for the Premier Edition which costs $50USD per user per year which is a great saving considering I will not be wasting any more of my time backing up, repairing or reconfiguring a clunky Exchange Server anymore as all of our e-mails are hosted off-site on Google’s extremely fast and reliabe servers. The Premier Edition will give us greater Outlook integration and a service level agreement with a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which is important when your business is as reliant on e-mails as our’s is. Ruling out the use of Microsoft’s Outlook altogether is still being discussed and there is not really many factors stopping us from stopping the use Outlook completely.
So far I have three of our domains set up with accounts and have successfully migrated the users from Outlook to the hosted Google system. Google Apps enables our employees to easily connect to their inboxes using their iPhones and Blackberry devices, it is so simple that most of our users were able to work out how to do it themselves, usually I have to talk them through it.
I have been using a G-Mail account for my own personal e-mails for years now and am very familiar with how it all works and I always thought that it would be cool if the spam filter at work was as good as the one on my own personal e-mail. Well, now it is, Google Apps includes it’s extremely powerful and accurate spam filter for no extra charge. This feature in it’s self is going to save our company $3,000 a year just in licensing costs for the spam filter alone.
So if you run a business and manage your own mail server I would seriously consider giving Google Apps a look, whether you decide to use it or not is your choice but I can highly recommend it and it is good a tool to add to your arsenal when considering options for quality mail management either for yourself, your business or your clients.