hosted email services

A Comprehensive Guide for Business


Email stands as a cornerstone of communication for both individuals and businesses. Selecting the right business email hosting service is pivotal as it not only streamlines communication but also plays a vital role in data security and regulatory compliance. Hosted email services are specialised internet services that operate email servers, the robust systems dedicated to sending, receiving, and storing email messages​.

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 Microsoft 365 Mailboxes

Among the myriad of email hosting services, Microsoft 365 emerges as a comprehensive suite offering more than just email hosting for startups and established enterprises alike. With its advanced security capabilities, anti-malware and anti-spam filtering, it aims to provide a fortified environment for your email communications​. Further, the Microsoft Exchange Online component elevates the email hosting service by delivering features like shared calendars, contacts, and tasks, enriching the collaborative experience​.

  • Security: Microsoft 365 is engineered with a suite of security tools designed to protect your data from various cyber threats.
  • Collaboration: The seamless integration with other Microsoft products like SharePoint and Teams enhances the collaborative spirit among team members.
  • Outlook Integration: The unified experience with Microsoft Outlook offers a streamlined email hosting management platform.

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POP/IMAP Mailboxes

Diving into the more basic realm of email hosting, POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) stand as the conventional methods to access email. POP operates by downloading emails from the server to the client device, while IMAP allows a multi-device access with server-based folder management, making it a preferred choice for those who access email on multiple devices​.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: POP/IMAP mailboxes are often included with cheap email hosting services, making them a cost-effective choice.
  • Basic Functionality: They serve the rudimentary needs of sending and receiving emails while offering straightforward setup and management.

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Google Workspace

Transitioning to a more collaborative spectrum, Google Workspace, with its familiar Gmail interface, provides a user-friendly platform coupled with a range of collaboration tools. The real-time teamwork fostered through integrated tools like Docs, Sheets, and Calendar transforms the way teams collaborate on projects​.

  • Collaboration: The suite of collaboration tools facilitates real-time communication and document sharing.
  • Integration: Although Google Workspace can be set up within Microsoft Outlook, the user experience may vary compared to native integration.

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Setting Up Email in Microsoft Outlook

Setting up a hosted business email hosting service like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace in Microsoft Outlook can be a straightforward endeavour. There are guides available that walk you through the step-by-step setup ensuring that your email, contacts, and calendar are synced across all your devices​.

  • Ease of Setup: A straightforward setup process guides you through configuring your email account.
  • Syncing: Experience seamless syncing across devices for a unified email management journey.

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Regulatory and Data Retention Implications

Adhering to regulatory compliance and ensuring robust data retention practices is imperative for safeguarding critical information and averting legal repercussions. Particularly with email communications, which often house sensitive and critical business data, the implications of data loss or non-compliance with regulatory mandates can be severe.

The traditional POP (Post Office Protocol) email setup, which retrieves email from the server to store it locally on the client machine, poses a serious risk if the local machine is compromised, stolen, or encounters hardware failure. Unlike more modern email hosting solutions, a POP setup lacks server-side retention, rendering the email data vulnerable to loss. This precarious setup starkly contrasts with the protective measures afforded by Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, which provide robust server-side data retention and recovery features.

South African regulations further accentuates the need for secure and compliant email hosting solutions. Key legislations including the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA),Companies Act, and specific email retention laws mandate stringent data management practices. For instance, POPIA necessitates the safeguarding of personal information by enforcing reasonable measures to prevent loss of, damage to or unauthorised destruction of personal information. The Companies Act also outlines certain requirements regarding the retention of company records. Failing to adhere to these regulations can lead to hefty fines and legal penalties.

  • Data Retention: Implementing robust data retention and recovery solutions is not merely a prudent business practice, but a legal imperative. Modern email hosting solutions with server-side retention capabilities, such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, align well with regulatory requirements, ensuring business continuity even in the face of unforeseen adversities.
  • Compliance: Ensuring meticulous adherence to various regulatory frameworks including POPIA and the Companies Act is crucial for averting legal repercussions and upholding a reputable business standing.

Explore more about our Data Protection Features and Microsoft 365 Backup and how they align with South Africa’s regulatory compliance mandates, providing a fortified foundation for your email communication infrastructure.

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Key Takeaways

Hosted Email ServiceKey AdvantagesKey Disadvantages
Microsoft 365Advanced Security, Rich Features, CollaborationSubscription Cost
POP/IMAPCost-effective, Basic FunctionalityLimited Collaboration, No Syncing, Risk of Data loss
Google WorkspaceCollaboration, Familiar InterfaceSubscription cost, Varied Outlook Integration


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are hosted email services?

    • Hosted email services are specialised internet services that manage and maintain email servers, which are systems dedicated to sending, receiving, and storing email messages for users.
  2. Why should I consider hosted email services for my business?

    • Hosted email services offer enhanced security, data retention, compliance with regulatory mandates, and robust features like shared calendars, contacts, and collaborative tools which are essential for modern business communication.
  3. What are the main types of hosted email services mentioned on this page?

    • The main types of hosted email services discussed are Microsoft 365 Mailboxes, POP/IMAP Mailboxes, and Google Workspace.
  4. How do Microsoft 365 Mailboxes compare to traditional POP/IMAP Mailboxes?

    • Microsoft 365 Mailboxes offer advanced security, collaborative tools, and server-side data retention, whereas POP/IMAP Mailboxes are basic, cost-effective solutions with local data storage which could pose risks if the local machine is compromised.
  5. How does Google Workspace fit into the hosted email services spectrum?

    • Google Workspace is a collaborative platform with a familiar Gmail interface, offering a suite of tools like Docs, Sheets, and Calendar for real-time teamwork, alongside robust email hosting.
  6. What are the regulatory and data retention implications of using POP/IMAP Mailboxes?

    • POP/IMAP Mailboxes, especially with local data storage, can pose compliance risks concerning data retention laws and regulations like POPIA and the Companies Act in South Africa, due to the lack of server-side retention and the risks associated with local machine storage.
  7. How do hosted email services align with regulatory compliance?

    • Modern hosted email services like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer server-side data retention and recovery solutions, aligning well with regulatory requirements and ensuring business continuity.
  8. How can hosted email services be set up in Microsoft Outlook?

    • Setting up hosted email services in Microsoft Outlook is usually straightforward with guides available for step-by-step setup, ensuring seamless syncing of email, contacts, and calendar across devices.
  9. What are the key takeaways when considering hosted email services?

    • Key takeaways include understanding the security, collaboration, cost-effectiveness, and regulatory compliance aspects of different hosted email services to make an informed decision that aligns with both technical and operational needs.
  10. Where can I learn more about data protection and regulatory compliance?

    • You can explore more about data protection features and how they align with regulatory compliance on our Data Protection Features page.


Navigating through the email hosting comparison landscape can be daunting. However, armed with the right knowledge, businesses can make informed decisions aligning with both their technical and operational needs. Each hosted email service caters to distinct requirements, be it the comprehensive feature set of Microsoft 365, the cost-effectiveness of POP/IMAP, or the collaborative prowess of Google Workspace.

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