What Using a Free Email Service Says About Your Business

This blog is for you if you are a business and have a free email account that ends in any of the following:

  • Aol.com
  • Yahoo.com
  • Outlook.com/hotmail.com/msn.com
  • Gmail.com
  • Cox.net
  • Centurylink.net/q.com

Here’s what it’s saying to your clientele:

  • You are small. If you’re trying to appeal to larger businesses, you may be ruled out once they see your free email platform.
  • Your business is not tech savvy. If you are in healthcare, professional services, or any sort of skilled labor industry, this will be a red flag to tech savvy prospect clients that you haven’t invested in your own infrastructure and do not take data security seriously.

Additionally, here are some other potential downsides:

  • If you have employees, you may give off the impression you are behind the curve and still in the phase of using “free” consumer solutions.
  • If you are dealing with any sort of regulated data, such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Electronic Patient Health Information (ePHI), you are out of compliance. If audited, the decision to remain on a free solution will be a major area of concern and will likely result in large fines.
  • If you’re subject to HIPAA for example, patient names, records, billing information, and scheduling information is protected and cannot exist inside a free email solution that doesn’t sign a business associate agreement. If your email account was hacked for example, the government can fine you up to $50,000 per record in your mailbox.
  • Free email solutions do not guarantee that your data is secure or private in anyway. It is public knowledge that free solutions such as Gmail and Yahoo analyze your data in order to build your ad profile for the purpose of selling it to third parties and showing relevant ads across the internet.

What can you do to?

  • Pick a domain name host (aka a registrar) and find an open domain name that suits your business. We recommend namecheap.com.
  • Work with an IT company and purchase a business-class email platform such as Office 365 or G Suite. Your IT company will need access to your registrar account to set up the connection between your email platform and domain name.
  • If you are subject to HIPAA:
    • Sign a Business Associate Agreement with the relevant vendor.
    • Your data “at rest” inside the cloud environment is now properly protected.
    • If you need email protected data outside of your company, work with your IT Company and purchase an outbound encryption add-on solution so that your data is encrypted in transit.

When considering free solutions for your business, remember the phrase “if something is free, you are what’s being sold”. In the case of email, your data is turned into a detailed profile and sold off to third parties for ads and other dubious reasons.

If you’re ready to move toward a secure, business-class email platform, please reach out to us.  Feel free to call us at (602) 639-9900 or email [email protected] and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. 

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