Managed email services can help a business run self-hosted email solutions with the same level of reliability as cloud services without compromising privacy and security.
Many small businesses have accounts with ISPs that impose limitations on how they can use their bandwidth for outgoing services. Generally, the motivation for these limitations is a good faith attempt to prevent misuse of services – blocking port 25 to prevent spam email messages being sent over the ISP’s network, for example.
However, in many cases, small businesses have legitimate reasons for wanting to run their own email services. Having control over email and how its stored can be more reliable and secure than depending on third-party cloud-based email providers, particularly when high availability is required or sensitive information is communicated through email. A business taking responsibility for its own email service is often the best way to ensure that sensitive information stays where it’s supposed to and is reliably backed up.
For example, it’s often difficult to determine whether cloud-based email services are HIPAA compliant. Implementing secure email on their own domain means that businesses that require confidentiality, like medical and legal service providers, can ensure they are in full compliance with the prevailing statutes and regulations without having to roll the dice on third-party email providers.
Nevertheless, there are some problems with a business hosting its own email infrastructure and managed email services provide a range of solutions to those problems.
When you don’t have hundreds of redundant cloud servers to rely on, maintaining constant availability of email can be difficult. Servers often need to be taken offline for software or hardware upgrades, and if a business is hosting their own email, while the server is down, mail won’t get through. Backup email services automatically queue incoming email on secondary email servers while a business’s main servers are offline before sending them on when the server comes back up. This ensures that mail is never lost.
As we mentioned earlier, ISPs often block port 25, which is the default port for SMTP, the protocol used for sending email. With SMTP Authentication from a managed email services provider, business can configure their outgoing mail to use a different port. They can also choose to implement SSL authentication for added security.
Mail Server Forwarding
Because ISPs block incoming port 25 as well as outgoing, it’s useful to take advantage of a forwarding service which will forward mail to a different port. This has the added advantage that spam mitigation strategies like greylisting and address validation can be implemented before emails ever hit the business’s servers.
For businesses that need their email to remain private, hosting their domain’s email in-house and using a managed email service provider is an effective and inexpensive solution.
Also published on Medium.