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DeckerWright Corporation Blog

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The Risks of Using Public Email Addresses for Business Email

As remarkable as it sounds, there are still many businesses and medical practices that use public email accounts as their primary email accounts. Public email includes services like Hotmail.com, msn.com, aol.com, gmail.com, me.com, yahoo.com and many others. What’s wrong with using public email accounts for business email purposes? The problems fall into three large buckets: marketing, legal, and security. 

Since most companies today have their own email domain (e.g., deckerwright.com), not having one sends up red flags about the sender. The first is that the sender does not invest in technology for their business since they are using a free email account. The second is that the sender is not technically savvy, which can influence a potential client’s view of the company. Finally, using a public email address for business signifies that the sender has no idea of the security risks they run from using a public email address. In all, when looking at a business relationship either as a vendor or as a client, if either party uses a public email address, it sends a message about the sender.

We have been involved in providing technical support to several clients involved in litigation. Email is always included in the legal discovery process from either the plaintiff or the defendant. Most often if a person uses a public email address for business, they are using the same email address for their private emails. Fulfilling discovery requests from public email is challenging and the requests most often wind up exposing more emails than the discovery scope requested, causing additional headaches. 

Lastly, using a public email account exposes the account to many additional security problems that can be easily handled with a private business email account. First among these problems is the loss of control of the email account. Hackers regularly try to log in to everyone’s public email account to take over the account. In the past, hackers tried to monetize the attack with ransom requests or by sending malware-infected emails to everyone in the victim’s contact list. Today’s threats are more serious. If a hacker gains access to an email account today, they scan the account to see if it is used for financial transactions. If they find that evidence, the hacker will monitor the account and look for a transaction they can divert to their own bank account. Once the compromise of a public email account is discovered, it is often time consuming and difficult to regain control of the account from the service provider.

One last threat to public email accounts is the inability to add commercial spam filtering solutions to the email to catch malicious emails before they land in your inbox. With no spam filter in place, the likelihood of getting ransomware malware increases by a factor of 10. Other advanced email protection technologies, such as email encryption and data loss prevention, are also not available for public email addresses.

For those who are still using public email for business, pick up the phone and contact us today to assist you in setting up a business-class email solution.

Click HERE for more information.

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