Through our work running a web design agency, we often deal with small to medium sized organisations who don't have their own back-office IT team or budget to run a professional email system.
These days, rather than cast the client adrift, or host their emails along side the website using cPanel or equivalent, we tend to steer clients towards using a cloud hosted email solution such as Gmail (part of Google Apps).
Why not host emails alongside your website? Traditionally, web hosting packages tend to also offer email accounts as part of the package.
These are often administered via cPanel or Plesk and are a cheap way of getting @yourdomainname.
com emails when you're hosting your organisation's website.
And this solution is OK, to a point.
But what happens if you want to move web hosting? For example, your web hosting provider pulls the cheap deal they offered you, or the reliability isn't what you had expected.
Moving a website is one thing, but replicating dozens of emails and reconfiguring mail clients is another.
Or what happens if your web server goes down? It means your emails will also go down (assuming you're on a traditional shared or VPS hosting account).
Hosting your emails on a dedicated, separate mail server, means that the chances of these problems occurring are minimised.
Why Google Apps for Email? Google Apps provide a cloud hosted email solution, meaning that you get extraordinary reliability and uptime.
Best of all, their starter solution is free (for up to 50 accounts).
Where before you would have had to pay a premium for a dedicated Microsoft Exchange server or similar, you can now enjoy many of the same benefits at minimum cost.
Not only that, but one gets a whopping 7GB of storage space per account.
On a shared web hosting account, you'll be lucky to get even a couple of GBs to fit your entire website and all emails into.
Further Reading There are a range of other benefits to getting your organisation set up with Google Apps and if you're interested in getting started, this Google guide is a good place start.