How Do I Pick A Great Hosted Exchange E-Mail Service Provider?

“You’ve decided you want to use a Cloud Hosted Microsoft Exchange email service for your business email system … now comes to the time to choose which service to use”

© destina - Fotolia.com

© destina – Fotolia.com

The point of this post is not to tell you a specific company to use, the purpose of this article is to give you a number of points to consider when deciding which company to use …

Consider this a “check list” of sorts to perhaps go over when checking out the features and functionality of companies you are considering.

Basic Features of Functionality

All the major providers out there will have the same basic feature set …

  • Shared Calendars, Contacts and Tasks
  • Synchronization of Mobile Device
  • Web Access
  • Mac/PC e-mail client access

Still check out the entire feature set but it would be a showstopper if they didn’t have at least this set of features and functionality.

As with most things in life and business there are a ton of companies and people out there all performing the same thing and it’s becoming harder and harder to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack….

In our travels here’s a few different areas where we have seen differences between the different providers

Trial Period Offered

Does the company offer some sort of trial period where you can test out things like the Control Panel (where you add/remove/change email accounts and features) … the Web Access Interface? … Access On Mobile Devices???

The good providers will give you the ability to test all these features out with no risk and a complete money back guarantee …

Ease Of Support Options

  • Tech Support phone number clearly identified on their website?
  • Ability to submit support tickets and get a timely response?
  • Is support available 24x7x365?
  • Does the provide have migration services available if you to move “to” their service?
  • Chat Support options available online?

Nothing drives people more nuts than signing up for a service and then either trying it out and making the decision to go with it and then when you run into issues you can’t easily reach support help for assistance with the issue.

This really is supremely important and can have a massive affect on your overall impression of the organization as a whole. A good experience at the support can, in many cases, make up for any bumps along the road you encounter during the on boarding process with the service.

Ease Of Administration

When you log into the Control Panel (where you add/remove/change email accounts and features) are features and functionality clearly marked? Do you have obvious access to things like billing statements and the ability to add/remove/change accounts?

Is the overall look/feel of the area clearly intuitive and easy to understand?

Advanced Functionality

These services really are more of “icing on the cake” yet could still be an important factor in your decision making

Virus/Malware/Content Filtering : Does the provider include some sort of service for the scanning of incoming and outgoing emails for virus/malware and certain types of forbidden content?

Automatic Archiving and Retrieval : It may be an extra paid service, but does the provider offer the ability to automatically archive all incoming and outgoing mail plus the ability to retrieve it, even if it’s purposely deleted from the users mailbox?

This is by no means an exhaustive list but we believe this gives 4 big areas to look for to distinguish one services from another …