Nowadays you can access your email from virtually anywhere. Running a small business means that you may need to stay in touch even when you are away on holiday – it can be uncomfortable to the rest of the family but discretely checking email every couple of days is a good way of keeping in touch. It may be better to solve a problem then and there rather than wait for your return.
Remote access to email, certainly across the internet, should be part of your email arrangements with your supplier so should not cost any additional money.
Supporting remote access to email
To allow home users and laptop users to connect into their email when out of the office, you have three broad choices:
If you use a company to host your email server for you, access from laptops, home computers and mobile phones/devices will normally be a standard part of the service.
You can provide a dedicated way for people to connect to your network and/or email server while away from the office. This can be an expensive option if people have to connect directly across normal telephone lines from abroad. Internet connection is much cheaper but you might require an IT specialist or services company to set this up to prevent potential security breaches.
It is possible to mix email technologies – for example a Microsoft Hotmail account alongside a business account. The traditional way is to arrange for the email server to forward emails received for a laptop user to that user’s web-based email account. The laptop user works with their web-based email in the usual way. When they send emails they use their email address on the email server as their return address. See the next section on web mail.
By its nature, PC-based email lends itself to use by laptop users who quickly build the expertise necessary to use their laptops to pick up mail wherever they are. However, there is little they can do while traveling without their laptops – when on holiday, for example. To address this issue most email providers include a web mail service that allows people to see email waiting to be collected and send emails using a web browser. Web mail also provides a potentially valuable fall back option if people have problems with their equipment or internet connection.
Finding a supplier
You may find it easier to work with a supplier able to assess your email needs if you think they do not fit into the categories above. They can then tailor a solution for you. To source a supplier take a look at the Choosing an IT consultancy Supplier Guide.
Accessing email remotely
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