This is the 2nd part of this post. Read the first part for information about the new PC configuration, IM, and email solutions we’re now using.
We have dropped the internal mail server in favour of a hosted solution. This decision has been driven by the factors, different from those with the above IM server, since confidentiality is not an issue – our e-mail is forwarded through the ISP anyway, as we have neither capability, nor motivation to maintain our own mail server available on Internet. The main migration reason is the immediate advantage of SaaS (Software as a Service), including great usability, simpler administration, and reduced costs. Previously, this type of solution provided little value to us due to high Internet traffic costs and slow connection speed. Things are way different now. With lower prices and broadband availability, you can now access Internet resources, as if they were on your LAN, which makes the value of SaaS more obvious. It is my opinion that hosted mail is the way to go for small business like us. Therefore, our mailboxes now reside at the ISP. We access them via IMAP. This protocol offers two benefits over POP3 for us:
- We enjoy shared access to the mailboxes. For instance, when someone is out of the office, their colleague can easily track their mailbox, and when that person is back to work, they can immediately see any e-mails sent while they were away. Another benefit derived from shared access is the Draft feature: you can save an e-mail as a draft so that your superior could check and send it from their workplace.
- We spend less time on e-mail management. Imagine two employees sharing the same mailbox: when one of them notices that the other already read and replied to a recent e-mail, there is no need for the former to do this again. The same applies to deleting e-mails. You need to delete any e-mail only once, while with POP3, each and every employee who downloads an e-mail to their workstation will have to delete it, regardless of whether or not somebody else deleted it on another workstation.
We have upgraded to the latest version of ABBYY Lingvo dictionary, X3. With this version, the dictionary performance has been increased. The availability and quality of articles, especially in the German-Russian dictionaries, have also improved. Recently, we considered a free alternative StarDict, but didn’t want to look any further, when noticed that the Word Forms feature wasn’t available. Since Lingvo beats StarDict in terms of functionality and usability, I think that Lingvo price is justified, and that’s why we opted for it.
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