Do you need a number of people in your workplace to use the same email address? Perhaps it’s email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. With these sorts of address, you will generally have more than one person that requires access to the account.
A Microsoft 365 Shared Mailbox is a way to share an email account between a group of people in a managed configuration – so you know who has done what in the mailbox.
Note: Shared Mailboxes are only available to Microsoft 365 Business customers, as the Exchange Online service that governs Shared Mailboxes comes as a part of all Business plans. If you’re not yet a Microsoft 365 Business customer – formerly Office 365 – please ask us for details.
What is a Microsoft 365 Shared Mailbox?
A Microsoft 365 Shared Mailbox is exactly what it sounds like. It is an email ‘mailbox’ that multiple different people (users) can share at once. Shared Mailboxes are common in all sorts of businesses, from a 5 employee small business all the way through to a multi-national enterprise company.
Instead of creating a singular email address and simply giving multiple different people the access details, a Shared Mailbox allows different users to log in under their own accounts to access the mailbox.
You can think of the efficiency in setting up a ‘reception’ email address, where receptionist users, managers, and administrators can access the mailbox – even all at the same time.
By setting up user permissions on the mailbox, users can send replies from either their own accounts or the central email address. When operations are done by various users in the mailbox, they are traceable back to the individual user, for full accountability.
Why and when to use a Shared Mailbox
Any time that you think more than one person should have access to an email account – that’s when you should create a Shared Mailbox.
It could be:
- A general department mailbox, such as sales, reception, or helpdesk
- C-Suite mailboxes, where they may have one or more assistants who require access at all times
The benefits of Shared Mailboxes
There are plenty of benefits to setting up Shared Mailboxes over an email account where the credentials are shared.
- Productivity: Multiple users can easily work from one mailbox, rather than one person delegating further from their own account.
- Organisation: Emails are classified by business role rather than by person, which is often a better way to do task attribution.
- Accountability: Operations performed in the mailbox can be attributable to a certain user.
- Security: No sharing of passwords, each user logs in with their own credentials instead of a shared account.
- With Shared Mailboxes, you’re able to set which email apps are available to use with the mailbox, which can extend to whether you want these to be available on mobile devices.
- Set permissions within the mailbox by user
- Send automatic replies from the mailbox
- Set up Shared Mailboxes so that any users’ replies will be seen in the Sent folder (rather than only appearing in their own mailboxes’ Sent folder)
How it can save you licensing costs
A Shared Mailbox does not require a separate license, other than the already included user license for Exchange Online that you have as a part of your Microsoft business plan. This is included in all Business plans – Business Basic, Business Standard, and Business Premium. Shared Mailboxes that do not have an associated extra license have a size of up to 50GB of space.
You can also license the Shared Mailbox which will increase the storage of the mailbox to 100GB, however, this means going up to the Exchange Online (Plan 1) or Exchange Online (Plan 2) with archiving, which are extra costs per user. This doesn’t make much sense from a financial perspective unless there is really no workaround to keep your mailbox under 100GB.
By keeping your Shared Mailboxes license-free and under 50GB, you’re able to save money for other business costs instead.
What does it cost?
You can create Shared Mailboxes for free under your Microsoft 365 Business plan. These Shared Mailboxes must be configured by a user who is a Microsoft 365 Administrator within the organisation.
Need a hand with email configuration?
There’s plenty to like about Microsoft’s suite of products and features that come included under their Business Plans banner – Shared Mailboxes are just one way to make your work life easier.
We’re experts in all things Microsoft for Business and would be happy to lend a helping hand if you’re struggling to set up email capabilities across your team. From Shared Mailboxes, to on-the-go access, group memberships, and everything in between, we can help your communications become highly efficient across your business. Reach out to us via phone or email and let’s get the ball rolling.
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