Shared Mailboxes in Gmail

Do you share mailboxes, how do you do it? Credential Sharing? Google Groups? Delegated Mailbox?

There are plenty of ways to share a mailbox, but they are not all created equal 🙅‍♀. Let’s take a look at three different ways you can accomplish this task:

Credential Sharing

For this to work you need to have a mailbox, for example sales@yourcompany.com and everyone who needs access to it will either know the password or will have access to it, using a password manager like LastPass.

This might be the easiest, but it SHOULD NOT be your go-to, for three reasons:

  • It is not secure. Sharing passwords seriously compromises the security of the account, especially if you are unable to activate the 2-Step Verification.
  • It grants full privileges. While the goal for sharing is to allow another user to read messages and reply from the appropriate address, sharing passwords provides the user with access to the rest of the G Suite account and settings, which is way more than they need.
  • You can’t obtain accurate metrics. If two sales reps (Bobby & Susy) share one mailbox, it becomes impossible for any statistics platform to gather individual performance data because the system has no way of knowing whether it was Bobby or Susy who sent that message.  

Google Groups

Google Groups were originally created as a messaging board but, as Google began adding functionality, users found a way to make it a solution for shared mailboxes. There are, however, a number of limitations that come with Google Groups.

  • User Interface. The UI may be confusing since it was never intended to be used as a mail client; access to Groups is only available through its web client.
  • Data. Lack of connection options to the Google Groups data has made it difficult to export data for archives and for extracting metrics.

Delegated Mailboxes

Mail delegation can give up to 25 users access to a specific Gmail account to read, send and delete messages for that account. Access is granted as a secondary account which is shown as: “sales@yourcompany.com (delegated)”.

Delegated accounts look and act exactly like regular Gmail accounts, so no extra training is required. And while it grants an interactive view of the mailbox, it does not grant access to other aspects of the Google account, which limits privileges to users accessing the delegated account. Additionally, Google stores all activity related to the delegated mailbox, including which user did what. This means it is possible to extract individual performance on these mailboxes.     

TLDR;

  • If you are using a shared mailbox as a support or sales solutions, your best bet would be delegated accounts; they are secure and provide the individual data necessary to extract performance metrics.
  • If you are using a shared mailbox for internal communication, Google Groups could be an easy solution to implement though it has many limitations.
  • Due to security, you SHOULD NOT share credentials as a way of sharing a mailbox.

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