by C.G. Lynch

Offline Gmail: Now What Excuse Do You Have, Old School?

Jan 29, 20093 mins
Enterprise Applications

While the issue of not having offline e-mail access will only become, well, less of an issue in the coming years as even hard-to-reach places like airplanes adopt Wi-Fi, Google’s decision to bring an offline capability to its Gmail service will only help in its case to businesses that they should switch from costly, ugly, on-premise e-mail that they (over)spend thousands — even millions — to own and maintain.

It’s really hard to fathom what businesses are clinging to by not embracing Web-based e-mail at this point. It must be for the sake of it, or because they enjoy servers and rhetorical talking points on security, compliance and offline modes. I say rhetorical not because those issues don’t carry considerable gravity — they’re critically important factors to consider with business e-mail — but that they’re always mentioned as if online e-mail systems like Gmail don’t meet those standards.

The fact is, they do.

As we profiled in our overview story about Google Apps last year, Gmail meets SAS 70 certification (a really fancy term that means it passes a critical standard for auditors). Google, as a company, stores all the credit card numbers of your marketing departments who do ads through them.

But somehow enterprise Gmail is not secure. You just feel that it isn’t.

Well, I doubt your boss looking to save money cares all that much about your feelings, and if he has read a report here or there, he might know the astonishing amount of money you’re deciding to waste. Check out this excerpt from our write-up about a recent Forrester report on on-premise versus online e-mail:

“For typical information workers, Forrester estimates that it costs a company $25.18 per user per month for an on-premise e-mail system, including the hardware, labor and other costs associated with managing e-mail in-house. Alternatively, for companies using Google’s fully Web-based Gmail, it costs a mere $8.47. Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft’s version of a fully cloud-based e-mail, isn’t quite as cheap as Gmail but rings in at $20.32 per user per month.”

The even bigger elephant in the room to consider are new employees who are growing up with Gmail and Yahoo Mail in their dorm rooms. They’re used to user interfaces that have simpler designs, greater storage and faster capabilities.They don’t want to receive an e-mail reminding them it’s time to delete old e-mails. 

With the recession setting in, and with the competition for good young talent likely to be signifcant in the future, what are you waiting for?