Since its inception in 2004 Gmail has to be proved an extremely popular email service in Ireland and across the world. Following the massive success of the platform, in 2009 Google rolled out their Gmail for Business service (now integrated into the GSuite platform).
The problem with bundled email services from hosting providers
For the most part, the email service that accompanies with your website hosting package from providers such as Register365, Lets Host or Blacknight can only be described as adequate. Hosting companies typically give you a bare-bones email service without any frills. (Most users fail to remember they are primarily buying a hosting package not an email service) Ten years ago, these bare bone email services met the needs for most SMEs. But with the proliferation of spam, email-borne security threats and mobile computing these basic email services have proved insufficient for most Irish SMEs.
Let’s take the spam issue first. Wading through emails can be a time-consuming affair but add spam to the equation and the email checking process transforms into a time-devouring ritual. Using the email service from your web-hosting company, you quickly discover that the level of spam filtering they provide is minimal.
Then there are the security threats. Email has become a rich pipeline for phishing scams, malware propagation and crypto viruses. And in recent years these phishing scams have become highly sophisticated. They’re no longer just about Nigerian princes who have landed an inheritance and want to bequeath some of it to you. They’re now tailored to target specific industries and are sometimes even localised as to appear to be emanating from an Irish sender. With such threats in circulation you need some robust filtering. While your hosting company will probably provide a level of security filtering – it probably won’t be enough to mitigate all but the most basic of threats. If you’re reading this thinking “well that is the job of my anti-virus” that assumption is unfortunately misguided! From an IT security perspective, you want threats processed further upstream by your email service provider rather than getting threats filtered by your endpoint security software. This should really be acting as the defense of last resort.
So aside from the spam and security threats, there is also the issue of mobility. Let’s face it, in today’s environment you need to the ability to send and receive email when you’re out and about. Again, the email service provided by your hosting company for this purpose is probably not sufficient as most hosting companies provide email services which are still heavily geared towards POP3 and SMTP not IMAP (the latter being the mobile-friendly email protocol).
Gmail (GSuite) to the Rescue
To overcome all these deficiencies, you can use a service such as GSuite. This is Google’s version of hosted Outlook 365. It means you can still use “yourbusiness.ie” domain and access it through the Gmail interface. Your email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) will remain the exact same, but the user interface and backend infrastructure will be powered by Gmail.
- Spam-filtering – Gmail possibly uses one of the worlds smartest and most powerful spam-filters. Cumulatively, this has the potential annually save you and your team hours of productivity.
- Phishing-filtering – Thanks to Gmail’s huge user-base and smart phishing algorithms, phishing attacks can be detected fairly quickly.
- Mobile-friendly – Gmail performs equally well on a Windows or Apple computer as it does on Android or iOS (iPhone or iPad).
- Powerful search functionality – Not surprisingly, as an offshoot of Google, Gmail has a powerful email search facility. Trying to find an invoice from 3 years ago, but only remember the name or location of the customer? Just enter it into Gmail’s search facility and you should be able to retrieve it with within seconds. Again, this can be a real time-saver for a busy office or very handy if trying to find an old email while on the DART.
- Reliability – With Gmail, you no longer any need to worry about a PST (email store folder) getting too big or becoming corrupt. Your emails are stored on Google’s servers and are mirrored on your devices.
- Data Privacy – Gmail uses STARTTLS for encryption. You can benefit from enhanced security by downloading the FlowCrypt plugin for your Chrome browser. This encrypts your email using PGP end-to-end encryption.
- Desktop or Browser– For those who don’t like accessing email through a web-browser you can still set up Gmail using Outlook, Mail App or Thunderbird.
- Integration with GSuite Calendar – Using GSuite you get to access to a powerful and reliable shared calendar feature. This makes team scheduling and planning easy. (This calendar is relatively free of the annoying quirks and flakiness you would find on iCloud’s calendar).
- Teamwork and Email assignment – There are some excellent third-party tools on the market to truly make Gmail a part of your team. For example, if you’re using email@example.com as your primary email address but have 5 team members you can assign messages to certain team members. You can also find out if a particular email enquiry was already handled by one of your colleagues.
Setting up Gmail for Business (GSuite)
To setup GSuite, you need to subscribe to the service. Typically for one user, it costs less than €5 a month, which represents excellent value. Once you have subscribed, you will need to change the TXT and MX records at the back-end of your website. Then you’re ready to experience email Nirvana!
Need help moving to Gmail (GSuite)? RealClear (Dublin) offers a complete IT support service for Gmail so you and your team can enjoy a great, reliable and secure email service. Contact us on 01 685 4833.