As small businesses look for ways to trim costs during lean economic times, one area they might overlook is their email system. A study by research group Gartner recently showed, 80 percent of companies could save money by engaging in email outsourcing – having outside companies manage their email systems for them.
Email outsourcing has several positive benefits: specialists in email can create a custom spam filter for you that will reduce the hours lost sorting through garbage emails and reduce the size of email boxes (freeing up space on the network); with service available for as little as $9.99 a month, it is an option for employers who need to scale back their sales force or have IT professionals working on other, more mission-critical items; and the nature of service contracts means that companies can be compensated for time lost if the system fails.
However, there are critics who question the use of email outsourcing. There are concerns that email outsourcing companies cannot promise a secure email solution, and that a company might not have knowledge of how their email is being handled. Another concern is costs: in-house employees are frequently working under contract, meaning they have to come in to fix a server issue on nights or weekends without extra pay. But an email outsourcing company might charge an extra fee for night or weekend work – which is when most problems seem to happen.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer – you have to know the company you are working with and what their capabilities are. But if managing your email system has turned into a major headache that is diverting your IT staff from more pressing tasks, you may consider turning to outside professionals to alleviate your problems.