Email accounts have recently made the news again, thanks to Hillary Clinton’s fateful choice to use her personal email account to conduct official government business. Personal and business should never be mixed and this is sound advice when it comes to setting up your email accounts.
In order to avoid these sorts of problems, it is best to have a personal email account geared towards handling your own issues, while keeping your company account clean of all personal messages. Maintaining two separate email identities for business matters and personal affairs can help you stay out of hot water.
Don’t mix personal and business
It is understandable to want to use personal email accounts during business discussions. Most find it easier to check all of their emails in one place and your personal email account is typically where you feel most comfortable corresponding with people.
However, mixing business and personal is a recipe for serious trouble if you are not careful. The company you work for owns the emails that you send and with that ownership comes certain privileges. Emails that are sent through the corporate system are backed up on a regular basis and malware filters are placed on incoming emails.
While your personal account may be easier for you to use, you are not as likely to be entitled to these same levels of protection. Another common issue is litigation. If your company experiences some form of litigation, they are going to need access to your personal email account if it was used to send company materials.
When an event like this takes place, you have no means for protecting your privacy and will be forced to allow legal counsel to go through your personal emails with a fine tooth comb. Think long and hard as to whether this is something you wish to experience before you use that personal email account to disclose company information.
Think that you can simply go through your account and delete everything that is incriminating? Think again. Even after you have deleted an email, it remains in the archives and can be resurrected again at a moment’s notice.
10 tips on how to avoid problems with email accounts
Email is a great tool for keeping in touch with friends and handling business, so let’s take a look at ten ways that you can remain secure at all times, both at home and in the workplace.
1. Purchase the best security software
During the process of selecting security software, be sure to do your homework and choose software that will keep you fully protected at all times. It is important to ensure that your software is kept up to date and that it blocks any unwanted traffic from entering your inbox.
2. Only share your email with secure sources
When it comes to your email addresses, they should only be shared with trusted friends, family and business associates. Do not share your email address in any sort of public forum and if you should need an email address for a product promotion, use a different email account.
3. Don’t open random attachments
Opening an attachment from an unknown source can cause viruses, Trojans and worms to pop up on a work system. Since these maladies will inevitably be traced to you, think long and hard before opening certain messages.
4. Use IM wisely
Sharing any sort of personal email information over instant messaging systems could come back to haunt you later, so proceed with caution. If you must use IM at work, use an alias and do not discuss anything you would be embarrassed to discuss with your superiors.
5. Keep an eye out for phishing
Every email that you receive from a seemingly legitimate business account is not going to be real. If a web address is included in the email, use a personal web browser in order to vet the business’ credibility before opening.
6. Never send personal data
No matter how secure your personal email account may be, do not use it to send any sort of personal data (credit card numbers, social security numbers, private information) through email.
7. Delete spam immediately
If you do not recognize a message and the email address is unfamiliar, there is a good chance that the message is spam. Do not respond to these messages and be sure to delete them immediately. Report them as spam so that further attempts at correspondence are blocked.
8. Choose a complex address
You will want to choose an email address that will be easy for you to remember and difficult for the rest of the world. Use unique combinations of letters and numbers so that you can avoid being hacked or attacked.
9. Use unique passwords
The easier it is for hackers to guess your password, the more susceptible you become to online attacks. Use as many unique characters, letters and alterations as possible, so that your password can never be discovered by a would-be hacker.
10. Don’t enter information on a pop-up screen
Do not allow pop-up screens to become a regular part of life online. Install pop-up blocking software immediately, so that you can avoid phishing scams that will lead you to a legitimate looking pop-up screen designed to steal your personal information.
While at work, use your company email to handle business affairs and leave your personal email out of the equation. Not only are you protecting your company’s intellectual property, but you are also ensuring that you are safeguarded.