Although I adore running my own mail server, I was curious about Google Apps for Work, specifically Gmail for Work. Could it block spam as effectively as my own insanely-aggressive rig? Also, if I ever got tired of managing my own server or (gasp) something hugely disastrous happened to my infrastructure, I figured Google Apps could serve as an apposite alternative or fall-back solution. If nothing else, perhaps I could add this experience to my IT resume. They offer a free 30-day trial, so I didn't have anything to lose.
I don't think it's necessary to go into excessive detail because I'm sure Google Apps for Work is already well-covered on the web, but long story short--it's an incredible bargain. Google offers a tremendous number of features for the price--to the point it can be overwhelming. In the end, however, I did miss the customizability of running my own mail server, so I asked Google support a couple questions. My questions are below along with their answers.
1. Does Gmail for Work support inbound mail DNS & protocol checks?
No. Gmail and Google Apps for Work do not currently support check to this extent which is configurable by the end user.
2. Does Gmail for Work support blocking inbound mail from certain countries (aka geo-location)?
There's currently no way to block mail from a country IP or geo-location. However, you can set up a content compliance filter to block mail from top level domains using a regex.
For more info on this, please see https://support.google.com/a/answer/1346934?hl=en In the expressions field, please use this regex syntax (I'm using .ru as an example here but you can use any top level domain) "\.ru>?$".
As I'm admittedly psychotic when it comes to spam, these 2 missing features were a deal-breaker for me, so I set my MX records back to my own server. But to summarize my experience...
- You can't beat the price.
- Very generous feature-set
- Google support was responsive and unusually neighborly.
- Gmail does a pretty decent job at blocking spam.
- I felt overwhelmed when first opening the admin console and seeing that I had been opted-into 68 services. I couldn't find an easy way to turn off all that stuff in bulk. Ideally, it should be opt-in style instead of opt-out style from the start. I would have loved it if everything were OFF upon that first login. Then I turn ON and configure only what I need. Google in general suffers from this. They have too many services and they're all turned on.
- Although Gmail is pretty good at blocking spam, I missed features I have with my own mail server like country-blocking.
- A Google Apps for Work account must be totally separate from a personal Google account, so I had to change the email address associated with my personal Google account. Fair enough, but it would be cool if Google offered a "personal" version of Google Apps that you could use with your own domain. Google Apps for Work is obviously designed for businesses (duh). I'm sure there are other geeks like me out there that would like to use Gmail with their own domains. Perhaps Google doesn't see the need to wander into such a niche market.