I am a regular reader of the South China Morning Post and have been a follower of the Technology section for the past eight years. Reading your column 'E-mail management for small businesses' (February 7), I was a bit disappointed to see one of Europe's best e-mail management systems was not even mentioned. Merak Mail Server is used by more than 400 corporations and government departments in Hong Kong, according to my IT consultant, including my company. We used to use Microsoft's Exchange but we had lots of problems with it. Also we had to pay a licence fee for each user, which I did not want to do as we have more than 500 users in our organisation. When Exchange went down, we had to do without receiving or sending e-mail for hours, sometimes even days. In the two-and-a-half years we have used Merak, a European product, we have had almost no problems. When there were breakdowns, the problem usually turned out to be a hardware failure. I have been shown - and the company has guaranteed - that the system can be brought up in less than 10 minutes. I have been very satisfied with Merak, and hope that more people get a chance at least to hear about it. I think your readers should know about more than just IBM and Microsoft products. I am, in fact, interested in buying shares of this company if it is publicly listed. Is it possible for you to let me know if it trades publicly? Name and address supplied The column you refer to had more to do with the legal implications of e-mail. I touched upon the two biggest mail servers in the market: Microsoft's Exchange Server and Lotus Notes from IBM. You point out quite correctly that the world should have more choices and, indeed, the product you mention, Merak Mail Server, does appear to be quite good. I had a look at a number of sites that discuss the product and there is a great deal of praise for it. I do feel it necessary to repeat what I have said before, however: running your own mail server, even for a relatively small company, can be a real headache. If there are legal reasons to keep everything for several years, things could get extremely complicated. I would only recommend running such a server on your own if you either have the money to pay someone to take care of it, or if someone in your staff has the knowledge and time to do so. If there is a legal obligation to keep records, a backup programme must be worked out and followed. If that is not possible, outsource to someone who can do it. After 25 years of playing with silicon-based silliness, I do not trust computers. Because of that, backup is extremely important to me. Anyone who does not take this view seriously is likely to regret it some day. As for your last question, Merak does not appear to be publicly listed. Perhaps they will entertain angel investment. You can e-mail them at info@MerakMailServer.com to find out.