How to choose an email provider for your business

Modern business email tools are often built to get you in and out of your inbox as fast as possible, keeping you informed and organized. Often, however, this efficiency comes at the cost of privacy and security. You need an email provider that also keeps your sensitive data secure.

This is important because businesses — especially small- and medium-sized enterprises — are consistently targeted by hackers

We created this article to help you choose the best email provider for your business. Along the way, we provide information about Proton’s secure business email to help you understand the capabilities of our service, but the checklist of criteria we have provided is applicable to any email service provider you are considering. 

Getting started

There are seven feature categories every small business should prioritize when choosing an email provider. 

Compatibility and ease of use

You’ll want to choose an email service provider that’s easy for your team to adopt and merge with their workflow, with little or no learning curve.

That means having more than just a smart, intuitive user interface. Your email provider should have apps that your employees can use on their mobile devices so they can still work even if they’re on the move. It should also be able to integrate with IMAP/SMTP email clients to make it easier for your employees who are more comfortable with Outlook, Apple Mail, or Mozilla Thunderbird.

Questions to consider: 

  • How many email users can your provider support?
  • Is its user interface intuitive and easy to understand?
  • Is it available on all your employees’ devices?
  • Does it integrate with other email clients and across platforms?
  • Does it restrict the number of emails your organization can send in a day?

Proton Mail’s compatibility and ease of use

We built our user-friendly platform with familiarity and ease of use in mind. 

You’ll find that using Proton Mail is just like using any other email provider, so you won’t need to do any training or onboarding with your team. All the encryption happens automatically, with no extra steps.


Team communications should be end-to-end encrypted, meaning only the sender and recipient can see the contents of the messages. That way, if a data breach happens, no unencrypted information would be exposed to hackers or the public. While encryption is a non-negotiable baseline for choosing an email service provider, you must also consider each provider’s privacy policies. 

Questions to consider:

  • How do they handle user data?
  • What encryption is used?
  • Is their code open source?
  • Are the apps independently audited?

Proton Mail’s security

Proton Mail uses end-to-end encryption at all stages of message transmission. We also use zero-access encryption, which means emails arriving from non-Proton Mail accounts are encrypted on our servers using your private key so nobody but you can access them. Even if data falls into the wrong hands, it will be indecipherable.

All of Proton Mail’s cryptography and user apps are open source, meaning the entire cryptographic community can independently audit our security methods.

Spam, phishing, and malware filters

Businesses must protect themselves against spam and phishing attacks. Phishing makes up more than half of all security threats facing organizations today. But with proper protections in place, your business can avoid the devastating financial fallout of a breach or ransomware attack.

While protecting your inbox seems simple, many providers fail to offer the level of protection necessary. The process of filtering out spam, phishing, and viruses is complicated and requires sophisticated tools.

Questions to consider: 

  • How does your email provider protect your custom domain from being spoofed?
  • What protection does your email offer against phishing attacks?
  • Do they provide their own spam filtering, or are you required to use a third party?
  • Do they allow you to customize your spam filtering via whitelists and blacklists?

Proton Mail’s filters

Proton Mail uses smart spam detection, spam lists, WKD, DANE, DMARC, SPF, and other powerful tools to ensure any messages that reach your inbox are clean. 

Teams using any Proton business plan can take advantage of multiple email addresses per user to keep private addresses secret. Our built-in end-to-end encryption ensures messages are sent to and from those originally intended.

Proton Mail has even launched hide-my-email aliases to help you keep your real email address private. A hide-my-email alias is simply another address that will automatically forward all emails sent to it to your main mailbox. You receive all messages, but your real email address and identity remain hidden.

Anyone with a Proton Business Suite account also gets access to Proton Sentinel, which works for both Proton Mail and Proton Pass and has blocked thousands of account takeover attacks since it was launched.

Proton Sentinel uses artificial intelligence and human analysts to detect and block attempts to take over accounts. The program leverages insights Proton developers discovered while building anti-abuse systems that protect over 100 million accounts. This is a unique feature you won’t find with other popular email providers. 

Learn more about Proton Sentinel

Storage and features

The amount of storage you will need depends on the size of your team. As your team may change over time, it’s a good idea to future-proof your email infrastructure by choosing a provider that has storage expansion options. Business email providers often limit certain elements of storage. Always be sure to check for limits on the number of users, addresses per user, gigabytes of storage per user, and organizational features like folders and tags.

Questions to consider:

  • How much storage will each team member be given?
  • Are there limits on the features that affect team productivity?
  • Does your email provider offer any other services?
  • How many email users do you currently have in your organization?
  • How much storage do your email users currently use for their inboxes?
  • Do you send marketing email blasts through your email? If so, do you have a separate provider in mind to send these emails?
  • Do you handle support requests through email? If so, how many on average per day?

Proton Mail’s storage and features

The Proton Business Suite plan gives each user 500 GB of storage, 20 addresses per user, and unlimited message sending. It also provides admins the ability to monitor and maintain privileges across an entire company.

The Proton Mail apps for Android and iOS both offer multi-account support, making it easy for your employees to toggle between their different work emails. Proton Mail also offers Proton Contacts, an end-to-end encrypted address book that’s personal to each user on your team.

Additionally, Proton Calendar will help manage your schedule, business meetings, and events, including on your mobile device. You can set your time zone to make sure events align with local time, share calendars with clients or colleagues, and organize events with different colors to keep track and prioritize.

Compliance and support

Some email service providers may boast strong features but fall short on compliance with privacy and data management regulations. Regulatory compliance shows that a provider takes your security seriously and isn’t just trying to market features with empty promises. 

If your team deals with sensitive health data, your emails may need to be HIPAA compliant. If you have users in Europe, your team will need to comply with the GDPR privacy laws(new window). The last thing you want to deal with is legal recourse for mishandling sensitive data, which could threaten your company’s reputation.

Where compliance covers your team externally, customer support provides a safety net internally. If you have trouble with your email provider, you want to know that your issue will be heard and dealt with promptly.

Questions to consider: 

  • How good is your new email provider’s customer support? Will you be put in touch with real people?
  • Does it offer options that are HIPAA and GDPR compliant?

Proton Mail’s compliance and support

Proton Mail is HIPAA and GDPR compliant, verified by openly available and transparent legal statements. The service is backed by strict Swiss privacy laws that forbid access to user data and prevent snooping from governments.

Proton provides friendly, fast, and reliable support for all teams on a Proton business plan with dedicated support channels for business users. 


Your emails are an important business record, so before you can completely transition your business to a new email service, you’ll need to migrate your old emails and conversations. This can seem like a daunting task, especially when it is added to your already busy workload. You should always make sure that any email service you are considering has tools that simplify this process. 

Questions to consider: 

  • Does your new email provider have dedicated tools that allow you to select and organize which emails you transfer at no extra cost?
  • Does it allow you to transfer emails in the background while you work?
  • Will they handle the transfer process for you?

Migrating to Proton Mail 

Getting started with Proton Mail is hassle-free with Easy Switch, which quickly and securely transfers your emails and folders from your old provider. Proton even has an easy-to-follow tutorial about how to get your business started with Proton Mail.


Business email pricing is highly variable, ranging from free to as much as $20/month for some providers. The total cost is usually contingent on the number of users, the amount of storage, sending and attachment limits, and custom domain options.

Questions to consider: 

  • What are the “costs” of a free service (e.g., ads, privacy, etc.)?
  • Does the price include other connected apps, or are these paid separately?
  • If your organization grows, does the pricing offer scalability?
  • Does the service require a long-term contract?

Proton Mail’s cost

All our Proton business plans also include the other services that are part of our secure ecosystem: Proton Calendar, Proton Drive, Proton Pass, and Proton VPN(new window). With these tools, you can store and share files securely, manage your team’s login details and bank cards, and ensure your internet connection is private. Launching the suite of tools is straightforward, with a few easy steps. 

We offer three plans, starting at $6.99 per user per month: 

  • Proton Mail Essentials: Our simplest plan offers secure email with 15 GB of total storage and 10 addresses per user, support for three custom email domains, and basic VPN access on one device per user. This plan also includes basic features for Proton Pass and Proton Drive.
  • Proton Mail Professional: For teams looking for a robust email and calendar offering, our Proton Mail Professional plan offers advanced security and more storage. You get 50 GB of total storage and 15 email addresses per user, support for 10 custom email domains, and one VPN connection per user. This plan also includes our Proton Sentinel account security program and custom workspace branding for your company.
  • Proton Business Suite: Our upgraded business plan gives you an all-in-one encrypted platform, including secure email with 500 GB of storage and 20 email addresses per user, support for 15 custom email domains, and the highest speed VPN on 10 devices per user with more servers worldwide and extra security features. This plan also includes all Proton Pass, Proton VPN, and Proton Drive functionality.

Learn more about Proton business plans

Put privacy first with Proton 

Other companies are built to create value for advertisers, but our business model is much different — one that requires us to put the privacy and security of our community first. And we’ve designed the entire platform to reflect that. 

Every feature was built to protect your most sensitive, valuable data.

Proton started as a crowdfunded project led by scientists who met at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) with a mission to fight for an internet that’s private by default. 

Choosing Proton Mail not only helps your small business with easy-to-implement tools to manage communications and cybersecurity but it helps create a better internet and a future where privacy is the default.

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