Many clients in the small and medium business (SMB) market still use public email accounts from gmail, aol, Hotmail, yahoo and msn. Using a public email account carries a significant business risk.
One key risk of public email is the inability to regain control of an account if it is taken over by a criminal. If you discover that your gmail account has been compromised, good luck getting technical support to resolve the issue. How does tech support have any idea that the email belongs to you, and not the criminal? By the time you determine the email account has been hijacked, all of the challenge questions have been changed to ones the criminal knows, not you. While you are fighting with tech support to fix the problem, any email correspondence meant for you is now getting responded to by the criminal. Banking and other transactions that may be validated in the account are now being responded to by the criminal. With a private email address, the email administrator is part of your organization and can change your password to regain control of the account.
Email Phishing by criminals is the #1 way criminals infect computers with ransomware. We use enterprise class spam filtering from Proofpoint that provides effective protection from phishing attacks. A public email has none of these protections, so a company is down to the last line of defense against phishing, the employees. The best way to keep employees from making a wrong click is to keep the email out of their mailbox all together. Public email doesn’t screen the emails, making a company much more susceptible to phishing attacks.
As an employer, if you allow or encourage employees to use public email accounts for conducting your business, you risk losing clients and money. How? If an employee leaves the company, clients may still contact the former employee with their public email account. You have no way to stop the communications, and no way to recover the emails from the former employee. If the employee had a private email account, the emails could be redirected to another employee.
Email retention and recovery is also an issue with public email. Public email may be left on the providers email servers subject to their retention rules. When the email piles up to the limit, emails can start bouncing. If you download the email to your local machine, you can accumulate more email, but if your computer crashes, you risk losing it all. Either option isn’t good. An email service like Office 365 provides for 50 GIGs of email storage, and automatically synchronizes with the Outlook, providing more storage and protection from data loss.
In environments covered by regulatory or contractual obligations where email archiving is a requirement, using a public email account prevents the setup of email archiving systems. Email archiving makes copies of emails sent into or out of an email server and freezes the email so it can be used as evidence in a legal proceeding. There is no way to incorporate a public email box into an email archiving system.
If you are using public email for business, contact DeckerWright Corporation so we can get you set up right.
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