The concerns of off-site email

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In the world of small business management the one budget that lives up to the moniker is in IT. As imperative as technology is do modern business, day-to-day operations and providing actual services requires a great deal of capital. Sure you'd like to give every employee brand new iPhones, laptops, and unlimited cloud storage but being an entrepreneur means being thrifty and prudent with every dollar. However if I may play devil's advocate, if there's one IT area you might want to spend a little extra on it's email.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, investing in email early can be one of the smartest decisions you can make. I know, you probably remember one of the perks of your website was something like 25-100 included email accounts. That is a great deal, but who owns those emails? Are they stored on some unaccounted server your service provider leases space from? If they suffer a breach or data loss, what is your security or recovery options? If you've already accounted for this, excellent you're ahead of the game. Still for real piece of mind you might consider housing a local email server where you own, secure, and administer yourself.

Certainly words like secure our administer sound a bit technical and that may not be your strong suit, but managing your email in house guarantees your data ownership rights, information privacy, and unlimited email accounts. The cost is certainly a consideration. Servers are basically stripped down computers with massive storage space and administering, updating, and maintaining one requires someone who knows what they're doing. This means investment in a long term service contract, e.g. $1,000 dollars per year or more.

Maybe that sounds exorbitant and you see your current online service provider is fitting your needs. Or possibly you don't see  email as a vital part of your business communications. Text and social messaging is becoming evermore business  oriented. But before you write the whole thing off just consider how much of your company's proprietary data is being stored by a third party, how much of your customers personal data is being stored there, and if you're relying on free accounts like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook; what major tech corporation is reading that information and profiting from it.

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb


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