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Business email: First or second class?

For small businesses, email can be your primary means of communication. But whilst people use it every day, most probably don’t care for much about how it works as long as you can send and receive emails.

IMAP is a type of communication method used by most “webmail” services. IMAP keeps a copy of your emails on the internet meaning you can log into any device and access all your emails and folders which can keep you organised. It is perfect for businesses who wish to stay small without any predictive growth as one of the main issues with IMAP email is that it doesn’t scale with a growing business very well. The bigger your inbox gets the slower your emails become and if you factor in a slow internet connection, it can be a nightmare!

The most common go to for people starting a small business are free email services such as Hotmail or BT-internet addresses and while these are easy to set up, in the long run they can cause problems as businesses grow due to their low space and generally restrictive nature. They can also look unprofessional as you can’t use your business domain. Free email typically uses POP3 and IMAP with POP3 being preferred. Unlike IMAP, POP3 doesn’t mirror your changes across devices making it a bad choice to use for business email.

When choosing your email, you should also consider the provider you are trusting with your businesses method of communication. Many free or budget oriented services tied with website hosting for example aren’t built for critical business use and can have unexpected downtime that is completely out of your control and could affect your business.

Exchange online is a paid email solution by Microsoft that has become the business standard and offers the features of IMAP and much more. It has powerful syncing features allowing you to efficiently tie in your email, calendar, contacts and reminders as well as share them with any colleagues you choose. An advantage over IMAP is that it can handle massive inboxes without any slow down. It is also hosted on the Microsoft cloud that is guaranteed to never go down due to its wide spread presence around the world. Exchange online tightly integrates with Microsoft Outlook too allowing you to unlock the full capability of Outlook for your day to day tasks. Microsoft exchange is also better suited for businesses as it allows you to manage all your businesses email accounts under one master account giving you full control.

Quick Summary:


  • Can be sluggish with large inboxes
  • Very affordable
  • No calendar syncing

Exchange online

  • Backed by Microsoft on cloud servers
  • Affordable
  • Ability to sync calendars and contacts across devices and allow calendar sharing
  • Supports massive inboxes with 50GB of storage
  • Good integration with outlook

While many don’t give the type of email they are using much thought when they start their business, an ever evolving and growing company will soon learn the limits of their email system of choice through extended use.

Coffee Cup Solutions offer both IMAP and exchange email for businesses. We offer excellent spam protection and can fully manage your email accounts for you meaning you don’t have to deal with any email problems. We also offer a migration service where we handle migrating your emails to Exchange while you continue using your old email solution and can switch seamlessly when it’s ready.