Having set up email accounts for many small business clients one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that most people now access their email in multiple ways. Typically those ways could include the office PC, the home PC, a notebook, a smartphone or a tablet.
Traditionally small business people have set up email applications such as Outlook to access the mailserver on their hosting account using the POP3 protocol. In simple terms this means that when Outlook connects to the mailserver it downloads the emails onto the PC on which Outlook is installed and then deletes them from the server. When this is done none of the emails are then available for viewing on any other device (e.g. smartphone, home PC etc). Or to put it another way, they become captive on the device they were downloaded to.
These days with the availability of high quality, low cost hosted email services, there is a better way that involves two important steps:
- Setting up an email service that stores all your emails permanently online.
- Setting up each of your decices to connect to the service using the IMAP protoc0l.
Step 1: Take your mail services online
Many people will be familiar with Hotmail or GMail. These are actually quite good services, but not ones I would recommend for business for two reasons: they do nothing to assist with your branding and if you are ever unfortunate enough to run foul of their terms and conditions you run the risk of your account being suspended with the loss of all emails. Sound unlikely? – unfortunately, it happens!
A better way is to take out a paid account with a dedicated business email services provider such as Fusemail. Accounts are cheap as chips, storage is huge, reliability is excellent and support is first class.
Step 2: Setting up devices for IMAP connection
For emails stored on an online server to be constantly available to any device that connects to them, those devices (PCs and mobiles) must be set up with an IMAP protocol connection. The reason for this is that the IMAP protocol does not download the emails and store them on a local device. Rather, it ‘views’ the emails on the mailserver.
In operation this is all quite seamless. Reading, creating, replying and forwarding emails is done in exactly the same way and with the same applications you are used to (Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird etc as well as smartphones can all be set to use IMAP).
The result? Regardless of what device connects to the mailbox they will all see the same thing. Because none of the devices actually download the emails, they will always be there waiting for the next device that connects.
Once again, because Fusemail is a business grade service, excellent support is available to help you set up your desktop and mobile devices to work with their system.
If you would like to know more about setting up such a service watch this video on how Fusemail accounts are set up.
Still not confident about switching over?
Ask TOSD Web Design to set it up for you. We have been using the system for years!
But wait, there’s more . . . one of the things I really like about using an online email service and not downloading emails to a local PC is that if you ever need to swap that PC, or simply like to try out a new email application, you don’t need to muck around importing vast amounts of emails. You just connect to your online service and go!