- Hiren Mehta, with inputs from Dr. Ajay Data, CEO, Data Infosys Limited
1. Provider's location: Familiarity counts and gives assurance
When you consider a mail service that is hosted within India, you can get to know about the hosting provider, its offices and data centers, and its staff. If you go for a server situated abroad, chances are that you shall go by what's written on its website, testimonials of existing customers or some hearsay. Most organizations abroad, who provide free mail services, do not list their contact information such as postal address/phone number, etc and you are left to use email or other online tools of interaction to contact them.
2. Technical support: Directly impacts QoS
If the hosting provider abroad does not offer phone-based support with a local number, you will need to rely on chat/email-based support to save costs, which might delay resolution of your complaint. Moreover, in case the staff of the offshore email provider speaks with a particular accent, it would be difficult for an untrained person in India to understand their instructions.
3. Legal issues: Read the fine print carefully
Jurisdiction boundaries and limitation of liability will become major hurdles when you settle for something which is not physically hosted within India. While signing up for free email services, the most popular ones of which are hosted outside India, we often agree to the terms of service without understanding all of the legalese and its far-reaching implications.
4. Regulatory compliance: The situation is pressurizing providers to host in India
Since quite some time, the government has been pushing some popular free email service providers to make available a local and lawful means of monitoring whenever required. So, no one can be absolutely sure for how long will they be able to offer services in India.
Should you go paid?
Since free email providers in most cases are not committed to any level of service, relying on them can be risky. Most websites which use web-based forms for enquiry/requests for information, specifically conduct checks to determine whether the visitor has listed a public domain provider as his/her email address or has an authentic corporate domain. Also, usage of paid mail will also make you less vulnerable to phishing.
Email services are used with the intention of building connections for your business and the temptation to create multiple identities using free mail services might pose identity risks. Organizations who cannot afford to go paid should take care to have local copies of their mail, notes, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. in their office workstations. There are many popular software applications available which will help you maintain the synchronization as well as offer encryption of the data concerned. There are some limitations inherent with SMTP which is used globally and hence we need to be very cautious about deciding where should our mail stay.
Which issues matter to you the most when you choose an email service? Are you considering going for paid mail hosting within India? Let us know by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org