Which Business E-mail Solution is Best?

Business E-mail Solutions: What to Choose?

When choosing a business e-mail solution there are many options and choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming. Many small and medium sized businesses may need a little guidance navigating the choices and their features. For most business owners, it comes down to cost and functionality. Let’s explore some of the options:

Incoming and Outgoing E-mail Only

  1. Available since the ‘70s, POP e-mail, has longevity and reliability as key features. POP is supported by virtually all devices. It is inexpensive and no license is required. You can download your e-mail onto one specific device and e-mails are accessible from that specific device. No information is stored once downloaded, making it extremely secure.
  • IMAP has stood the test of time since 1986. Accessible from anywhere, on multiple devices, at any time. IMAP allows users folder support for easy organization of your e-mails. IMAP also requires no license, which makes it inexpensive as well.
  • An additional benefit of using both POP and IMAP e-mail is their SMTP (outbound e-mail) functionality. The sending of outbound e-mails allows integration with fax, printers and scanners to send e-mail directly from those devices.

The cost for POP e-mail is a fixed monthly cost because the e-mail messages are downloaded to the device. Whereas, the cost for IMAP e-mail is directly related to the gigabytes stored on the e-mail server.

This business e-mail solution can be billed on a per user basis (Software as a Service os Saas) or as Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS is very beneficial to organizations that have a large number of users because it allows the organization to control the cost of e-mail.

Licensed Integrated E-mail Services

  • A step up from Exchange, Microsoft Office 365 integrates e-mail, calendar and contacts into a single interface using Microsoft Outlook. Office 365 also offers the option of licensing the Microsoft Office suite within your subscription. Folders automatically sync to the devices you use to check your e-mail. When you send an e-mail from your office desktop, you can check your sent items from your phone. If you file an e-mail document in a client’s folder on your tablet, it will be in your desktop computer e-mail folder in the office.

Depending on your business needs, the calendar function can be even more of an indispensable tool. It allows you to check your schedule, those of your employees, invite attendees to meetings and conference calls, all synced to accessing devices. MS Office 365 is a true counterpart for the modern, hectic, on-the-go business lifestyle. This is critical when ability to access centralized information from anywhere, anytime is the norm.

There are three licensed options to choose from depending on needs of your business, number of users, and cost. Feel free to contact FirstLink to discuss which license options are suited for your needs. It is noteworthy that not all individuals must use the same license level. You can mix and match different levels of use for each individual’s needs within a company.

  • Google offers a whole office solution, Google Suite, including Google Gmail, Google Drive and the entire G suite of office products, like Google Sheets for spreadsheets and Google Pages for documents. Google Suite is free to use, but Google does reserve the right to use your information and expect to see advertisements throughout your workday.
  • Built on an IMAP platform, a savvy IT company, like FirstLink Technology, can create and host a branded business e-mail solution specifically designed for your company. The benefit to this option is getting the exact functionality you need in an e-mail solution without extraneous features or price.

If you need e-mail, calendar, hosting, maintenance and management for six users with the ease of upgrades at any time, no problem. Do you need hosting and an e-mail solution on an unlimited user platform? We can do that too. Perhaps you need a complete e-mail, calendar and office suite, hosted and managed for multiple users. Any configuration is possible. FirstLink will sit down with you and determine which option is best for your business.

As you can see, there are many possibilities when it comes to a business e-mail solution to satisfy your specific needs. Choosing the right one for your business is a matter of functionality, cost and support needed after implementation. Consult with FirstLink, a knowledgeable IT professional, that understands the full range of services involved in running a successful enterprise such as hosting, e-mail solutions, IT services, web services, digital marketing and more. FirstLink is a one-stop-shop for all your IT service and web needs.

Does Your Business Need Managed IT Services?

As a SMB (Small Medium Business) owner you can save yourself time, frustration and expense retaining a Managed Service Provider (MSP). They are a third-party and can be hired in three capacities: 1) for specific jobs as they arise, 2) as a contractor or 3) in an unlimited capacity for a monthly fee. Technology is constantly changing, creating a steady stream of new IT support needs. As our dependence on digital data and mobile devices grows, so does the stress of keeping up with a business’ IT needs. FirstLink is able to relieve that frustration with a managed IT solution customized to your specific business goals.   

Signs You NEED Managed IT Services for Your Business:

  1. Spending too much time on IT
  2. Lack of network knowledge
  3. Experiencing loss of productivity
  4. Security Problems
  5. Needing System Backup/Disaster Recovery plan+
  6. Too much System Downtime
  7. Upgrade infrastructure
  8. Network performance problems
  9. Changing Costs of IT
  10. Lack of IT strategy

If you identified with one or more of the items on the above list, you may want to consider a managed IT services provider. They can remotely monitor, protect and support your systems in most cases.

Five Key Benefits to Hiring a Managed Service Provider:

  1. On demand when you need us – just a call or email away
  2. More time and money for your business – Cost efficient and increases productivity
  3. Simplify your IT expenses – You choose your plan and change plans as your needs change.
  4. Provide knowledge and expertise – Benefit from the team’s combined knowledge and skills
  5. Proactive management – Monitoring; we don’t wait for something to go wrong

You have enough to do keeping your business running smoothly. Allow a team of professionals to handle the IT tasks for you. FirstLink offers a range of services. Let us help calm a little frustration with an IT solution customized to your unique business needs.

SOC 2 Compliance

SOC 2 Compliance: What is it?

SOC 2 compliance and certification is a non-obligatory, auditing procedure developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) which ensures secure management of data by service providers, protecting the interest of organizations and its privacy of clients.  This is extremely important in today’s online, cloud-based world where mishandled data – in the way of installed malware, extortion and data theft – can leave companies and private citizens exposed to attack.

The auditing process an organization must go through to obtain SOC 2 compliance and certification is quite strenuous.  The AICPA delves deep into financial statements and system and internal controls to ensure the way a company processes and secures data is up to their rigorous standards. Every aspect of the business is scrutinized.

SOC 2 is defined by five basic “trust service principles” of managing customer data: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Security being that there is network and application firewalls are in place, 2 factor authentication, and intrusion detection. Security is the only principle required for SOC 2 compliance. When security is in place, the other four principles are also met.

Availability is defined as performance monitoring, security incident handling and disaster recovery.

Processing integrity is quality assurance and process monitoring.

Confidentiality includes data encryption, access controls in place and also firewalls.

Privacy is keeping personal information collected, used, saved, disclosed, and disposed of properly.

Part of SOC 2 compliance is having alerts set up if there is exposure or modification to data, controls or any configurations; when there are unscheduled file transfers; and/or unknown privileged filesystem, account, or login access.

FirstLink Technology is proud of keeping up with these controls and prescribing to these audits for our clients. We feel this is an important measure to take to ensure the integrity of systems and the security of the data for our clients.  

Remote IT Services

Remote IT Service & Virtual Desktop Service

Now-a-days, more and more of us are working from home.  That number recently shot up even further with the shelter at home order the government has issued in response to the threat from COVID-19.  This has created a desperate need for proper remote IT services and repair solutions from home.   These are key to ensure smooth functioning of our house bound business days.  Should something go wrong or you just need a little support; wouldn’t it be comforting to know you have someone to turn to?  At FirstLink Technology, we have a remote computing service and support option with you in mind.

Whether you are just looking to support your own devices in a virtual desktop capacity or have a group of employees to cover, First Link Technology has the personal, one-on-one attention you’d expect from a small company. We offer hosting, email, file storage, chat, and IT support with remote access to your computer.  All you need is an adequate internet connection for your desktop or laptop to receive a stellar IT support service.

If you know the level of service you or your employees need… perfect!   We can get started right away. 

If you are unsure, we offer a consultative service to assist determining what applications your employees will require to be successful in a remote position. 

Call today and get live, remote computing service and support on your personal devices with FirstLink Technology.

FirstLink – Coronavirus Letter

As the coronavirus continues to impact our communities, FirstLink Technology is committed to keeping your data and peace of mind intact.  First and foremost, we want to assure our clients that we’re putting people first while still maintaining our commitment to high-functioning business operations.  Despite the growing concerns related to the coronavirus, we’re here to support you as much as ever. 

Our employees have all moved to working remotely from home for the near future, except our chief engineer who has moved into the building to be on hand to monitor the infrastructure. While our employees are away, the building is being completely disinfected from top to bottom. When our employees return, when this situation is over, it will be to a newly sanitized building.

When our three senior engineers are called off-site to attend to your business computing needs, they will be wearing nitrile gloves and disinfecting the workspaces they come in contact with upon arrival and when they leave.  We will also be practicing the public health authorities’ recommendation for “social distancing” in public spaces.

In this unprecedented and uncertain time, we at FirstLink Technology are committed to doing what’s best for our clients and are uniquely positioned to provide a highly secure network to handle all your computing and hosting needs. Our servers are located, on-site, in our privately-owned company headquartered in Denver, CO.

We employ a small, capable, fully-vetted staff committed to customer service and exceeding expectations. There are no contractors at FirstLink. We are a SOC 2 compliant company; which means our systems are in place to satisfy security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy of customer data.

In an insecure world, take comfort to know you can rely on the security of your business with FirstLink Technology. We’ll continue to be there for you via phone and email, so please keep in touch. Let us help with your specific business needs. Stay safe, stay connected, and together, we’ll get through this.