Is Google really your best business technology supplier?

If you haven’t stopped to consider the importance of email to your business, take a minute to do so now. After all, electronic mail affects everyone who works in your organization. Think about how wide-ranging this form of communication is, from the intensely personal, to messages which have huge implications for the whole organization. It’s so deeply ingrained in business operations that even those who work closely often use it instead of picking up the phone or seeing a colleague in person.

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Thus, the consequences of email downtime are dire. This includes loss of productivity, potential compliance and regulatory issues related to loss of data, reputation damage and even lost revenues. If your business uses email to process orders, client requests and other transactions, it could face a loss of business if your email system fails.

So, it’s perhaps no wonder that minimizing email downtime has become a vitally important part of an organization’s messaging infrastructure and its disaster prevention and recovery strategy. According to Osterman Research, email systems experience on average 53 minutes of unplanned downtime each month – or 10.6 hours annually.

In view of all this, the Postini email service (which Google bought back in 2007) may have seemed like a good idea at the time. Its cloud computing services targeted malware on business email networks, and filtered out spam before it reached a client’s mail server, with archiving provided as an option. Postini was offered as a standalone or service provider, and known for depending on algorithms rather than people to make decisions.

Last summer, Google decided to discontinue Postini as a separate entity and migrate users over to Google Web Apps instead, with little or no migration support.

Only a three month window of notice was given, meaning that all service providers had just a matter of weeks to work out which alternative service to use and migrate everything to it, without assistance from the Internet giant.

One of the reasons that email migration is so potentially complex is because of the need to move settings (such as filters), email and user interface skills to the new platform. So, it’s generally considered a good idea to find an outside provider to take responsibility for it.

At least one industry specialist has voiced their concern that not only did Google issue inadequate notice about migration, but the replacement service, Google Message Filtering, did not have any migration tools. It’s even been reported that neither of the two Google services was designed to talk to the other.

So, unfortunately, it seems that even large enterprises don’t always have what it takes to keep their customers happy. But if you don’t want to move your email management over to Google Apps, the clock is ticking. To do this, you’ll need to find a company with a solid track record of migrating emails. Companies like Mimecast, a supplier of cloud-based email archiving, are a popular choice due to their efficient archive, continuity and security services. In fact, with Mimecast Google Postini, migration can be achieved in just five steps. You’ll find more information about email migration and continuity online.

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