Should You Host Your Own Email?

Emails are used everyday around the world, and are critical in nearly every business. This service seems simple, servers send and receive mail for users using some common protocols, but years of abuse have added dozens of hurdles to hosting this service yourself.

Overview of Email Servers

Emails are sent using a common protocol between servers on the internet. The idea is pretty simple, the servers lookup information based on the domain of the email address (the part after @), and talk to the server to send mail.

This system was initially very simple, but over the years the rise of spam and phishing emails have added more and more layers of authentication. The servers now must validate that they are authorized to send mail for a given domain, and numerous third-party services track the reputation of each server as it sends mail.

Internet Service Providers have also placed a multitude of restrictions to prevent their customers from sending spam emails and affecting the reputation of their network as a whole.

Challenges of Mail Servers

Another layer of complexity comes with incoming and outgoing mail servers. Incoming mail servers take in mail for an organization and outgoing mail servers send mail to other mail servers.

Incoming mail servers have the challenge of validating mail coming into an organization. It needs to check if the server sending the mail is authenticated to send mail, filter out spam messages, and scan for viruses. These tasks are critical as a front-line defence for your organization’s cyber security.

Outgoing mail servers have the challenge of authenticating themselves that they are allowed to send your email. The servers mail is being sent to applies its own set of rules for mail, many of which are not immediately obvious.

All of these challenges become multiplied when your organization has compliance regulations it must adhere to, like HIPAA or PCI Compliance.

Should You Host Your Mail Server?

As you may be able to tell by now, hosting your own mail server is not without challenges. While these can be overcome, the short answer is that it’s easier and much cheaper to just use a third-party email provider than manage small mail servers.

Providers usually charge per account, and for smaller organizations these costs are usually just a few dollars per month per user. Compared with the time spent maintaining mail servers, as well as the cost of important emails not being delivered, the choice is clear.

How Gateway Systems Helps

Email hosting is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and every business has its own challenges that need to be solved. Gateway Systems works with you to find the most cost-effective and reliable solution for hosting your business email. Whether thats on-site on in the cloud, we have the expertise to set things up right to ensure deliverability.