For many businesses, email is one of the most critical elements of IT that they rely on throughout every day, yet it is often overlooked when it comes to business continuity as it is generally very reliable.

One of the most common issues we see for clients who don't have their own server involves an email protocol called POP3. Whilst the name may not convey a great deal of meaning, this protocol is widely used and allows users to download their email to their computer.

The problem with POP3 is that generally, once the email has been downloaded to the users computer, it is then deleted from the server. This results in two main issues:

  • as the email for all users is not stored centrally, ensuring that it is fully backed up can be difficult, especially for mobile users
  • once the email has been downloaded and deleted from the server, it is no longer possible to access the email from other computers or devices, such as smartphones or tablets.

Fortunately, there is an alternative - the equally opaquely named IMAP protocol. This stores emails and folders on the server allowing users to access their email from many computers and devices simultaneously, with the added benefit of simple and reliable backups.

IMAP is well supported in the vast majority of email clients on computers, smart phones and tablets, and is easy to set up.

For businesses which require a greater degree of integration, Microsoft Exchange hosting can provide centralised email, shared calendars and contacts.

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