February 23, 2009, 12:23 PM — One of the few newsletters I read no matter the topic is the daily update from Ferris Research. I've had the pleasure to meet David Ferris a time or two, and he's a smart guy surrounded by other smart guys, which is why their updates are full of useful information. I especially appreciate David's group when they agree with me, such as when they reported “Exchange Losing Ground to Gmail in SMB” the other day.
I strongly advise small companies, such as the group of companies with fewer than 100 employees mentioned by the Ferris update written by David Sengupta, to avoid hosting their own e-mail server. Why? Because they almost always choose Microsoft Exchange, then lament the money, time, and aggravation that comes with that decision. Sengupta correctly reported small businesses complain about the licensing costs (money) and effort to manage multiple servers just to get e-mail the Microsoft way (time and aggravation).
The Ferris update mentioned above focuses on those companies switching over to the subscription version of Gmail from Google. companies pay $50 per user per year and let Google handle the mail server headaches. The paid version offers up to 25GBs of storage per mailbox, which is a mind-boggling amount of e-mail. Google users also leverage the excellent spam filtering and easy searching for old messages that come by default in both the free and paid versions.
Can you do everything with Gmail you can do with Exchange? Yes, and more. Of course, you can also use other hosted e-mail services and get many of the same features, but Google seems to be one of the lowest price options out there. Can you run a different e-mail server internally than Exchange and host your own e-mail with less money and less hassle? Yes. See my report on one option, Kerio, in this post about Plugging iPhones Into Small Businesses.
Let's see, avoid Exchange and also avoid spam, viruses, constant Microsoft updates, and overloaded mailboxes on personal computers. I think that's a great idea, and I'm glad Ferris Research brought it up. See why I think they're smart?