There are countless arguments why most SME’s and NFP’s should have their emails in the cloud. Costs, reliability, scalability are all lining up to make the outcome worthwhile. The only hurdle is to configure your emails to be in the cloud. So let’s take a step by step look at what is required for this.
Because an image is worth so much
Simplistic representation of email server configurations (DNS) needed to change
Before we begin, let’s have a quick look at what we need to achieve, here. Your emails are currently hosted on some server (a) (which could be in your office, at your ISP). The only way to find and reach this server for any computer (that’s the one smiling!) to send or receive an email is to ask a DNS server (b) which will in turn point you in the right direction. Currently this is (a), but ultimately, we want this to be the cloud (c).
All there is to do to change where your DNS is pointing. Or cut on the red cross, and connect the green tick!
What do we need before jumping in
There are two crucial bits of information that will be needed. First of all, since we will change the DNS settings for your domain name, you need the location and credentials to do this. In 99% of cases, the location of this console is a website, and in many cases also, this is where the domain name was originally registered, or the registrar.
Finally you need to have the settings, or MX records of the Cloud email service your will be using. If you are using a known provider, this information is public and you can look it up. Here is Google’s.
If you are starting from scratch and do not have a Cloud service configured, you will need to do this first. Many providers like Google have a web interface for you to do this, and all there is to do really, is to signup and tell the provider what domain name you will be using, and optionally create the user accounts which will be used by your organisation.
Once you have the MX details, completing the work is as easy as accessing your DNS console and making the change.
Your DNS is likely to have many types of settings, you will see
AAAA entries as well as
MX. You will need to delete the current MX entries, and create new ones with the details you have from your new provider.
Once the change is made and saved, it will take a few hours (up to a few days) before it propagates worldwide. Because of this, it would be a good idea to hold back on shutting down the old server for at least a week!
Other things to think about
If you are using a software like Outlook, Mail or Entourage, some settings may have to be changed there also. Generally, any settings which would point to the old mail server, will need changing.
Anything in Outlook, Entourage or Mail will remain there, however anything on the old server will ultimately vanish. There are a few ways to migrate emails from the old server to the new one and this is worth looking into before you change anything else, just to make sure nothing gets lost! This is specially true if you currently access your emails via a web interface, or webmail.
Words of wisdom
In the end this process is sounds easy (and is) when you know how it works. However it can be pretty scary at first if you do not. If this is the case just drop a quick line to our support team and they will put you on the right path.