Microsoft Exchange is a great system that indeed requires IT support to manage it well. During 2021 we've pushed, tested, and built a system with the same core features as Microsoft Exchange but made specifically for small-to-mid-size businesses. With the latest build of our SmaterMail Exchange compatible email system, we can now match the core features of Microsoft Exchange, be faster, and charge less. Sounds good, but what do you get?
We have to start with email as that is the point of an email system. Everything else is secondary. With our setup, we have three spam filters, four anti-virus systems, and phishing filters to help protect users from "not so nice" people.
There are tons of email clients that offer IMAP or POP3 support. Those work but for true Microsoft Exchange capabilities where email, contacts, calendars, and tasks sync automatically, you need MAPI. This is what Microsoft Exchange is built on, and the SmarterMail solution we run is the only product that has this capability built-in, and we provide it for no cost where others charge.
We don't enable this out of the box except for those we talk to that need it. Our system allows archiving all inbound, all outbound, place disclaimers, and protecting user data.
One feature we use is collaboration. You have audio and video conferencing, group chat, and private chats that are built into the system. You can invite users who are not part of your mail system.
In 2021, we saw a growth in email usage, and we took the time to triple the size of our hardware infrastructure and increase redundancies for our clients. We're ow over 10 TB (Terabytes) of storage and growing every month.
With all good things, a compatible system isn't as good as the original and I want to identify the key ones. We used the systems below years ago, switched, and we're not looking back. We were able to do that because (1) I'm the boss and said so -- ha ha; not really, (2) we evaluated for a solid month as a team, and we decided this would work very well for us, and (3) the savings allowed us to take the savings and re-investment into the team (e.g., can you say pay raises across the board? We can!)
You can easily add Microsoft Exchange services directly from Microsoft at the cost of $5-10 per month per user. For a few users, this is a great option. If you expect and expand to grow, this quickly gets expensive and requires more IT dollars to be spent. Just because your business grows doesn't mean the costs have to increase. This is where a consultant can help you think smarter and more proactively.
We help our clients all over Northwest Indiana with training and bringing them onboard, and understanding the technology (and it's included at no charge!) Last week I was in St John, Merrillville, Gary, Knox, Trail Creek, and Valparaiso, assisting with new/upgrading their installations.