Did you know over 90% of successful cyber-attacks begin with an email? Privatizing email reduces cyber risk more than any other measure. And it protects across all life's activities; privately, personally, and professionally. This is a practical guide for individuals, families, small businesses, professional practitioners, and others that are seeking an alternative to the risk and abuse of personal information on AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, and other"free" account providers.
First, to be clear, we create private email accounts for customers around the world. And we advocate private email for use personally, and professionally. Links are at the end if you're interested in learning more.
In the meantime, here is a basic primer on the ins and outs of private email and the elements of service that are important today.
- What is a private email account?
- Why get one?
- Who should consider it?
- How to determine the best email service for your needs?
What is private email?
A private email is the opposite of "free" email like AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, MSN, AT&T, etc. You pay a nominal fee for the service, but your information is yours to keep.
Email systems offered as "free" are primarily built for information mining and scaling. User experience and especially security are secondary considerations. Yahoo Mail is an example of how wrong this can go.
When you own your email account, the information and everything associated is your own.
Think about "the benefits of ownership" and the legal rights "equity" provides, including control. Apply this thinking to email and everything it holds. With a "free" email account, these benefits and rights of ownership are not yours.
With a private system, the rights of ownership are yours, and you are in control.
And before moving on, a reminder of the scale of the Yahoo breach, and that we have yet to see the full repercussions from the massive losses of personal information from such attacks over the last several years.
"Yahoo today announced that the huge data breach in August 2013 affected every user on its service — that’s all three billion user accounts.
The hack exposed user account information, which includes name, email address, hashed passwords, birthdays, phone numbers, and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers."
The Verge - October 3rd, 2017 - Read more.
Why a private email service?
Do you remember your first email account?
For me, it was AOL back in the '90's. I chose the service because they kept offering it to me, made it look so easy, and it was "free."
I didn't consider the matter much then. I didn't know how to. I didn't even know how to think about naming my first email address. Should I use my full name? Or my initials and birthdate? Should it be something cryptic? That's probably why so many long-time AOL users have the wackiest names for their emails. We didn't have the perspective we needed for making good decisions about our email account - decisions that would pass the test of time.
We didn't know it then, but our email box would end up being a long-term and intricate part of our lives for everything from RSVP's to resumes, to receipts and long-term records about family, friends, and work.
Email is now a primary communication channel for billions around the world. It's woven into every aspect of daily life. Our inbox has become a time-lined trove of our personal experiences and archives.
A private, or "not-free" service provides these benefits:
- OWNERSHIP - We start with ownership because it means everything. Equity means power and the benefits of ownership; the rights to and control of what is yours. Creating a private email domain is a strategic decision to put a claim on a big part of your life today.
- CONTROL - A private email account gives the owner control over their email-related information; who stores it? Who can access it? What can they do with it? How is it protected? Who can relocate it?
- AUTONOMY - Digital autonomy will be crucial to survival and success in the future. Figuring out how to create and maintain autonomy in the digital age begins with email.
- SECURITY - For hackers, "free" email accounts are like catnip. It's where unaware users keep everything they have, and there are billions of them on the same system - like a river that keeps producing gold. Over 90% of successful cyber attacks start with an email. Private email is "off the grid" from a majority of these activities.
Who can benefit by private email?
"Free" email has been around for so long it seems like a God-given right. Why would anyone want a private account, much less pay for one?
- INDIVIDUALS & FAMILIES - Teaching ourselves and those around us to think critically about the big issues of the digital age, like cybersecurity, digital autonomy and ownership and control of your personal information is one of the most important and long-lasting things we can do.
- Who else will do this, and when will they do it? Will it be preemptively or in haste reaction to an incident? Establishing a private email account for your family is like bringing your loved ones in the fort and keeping them safe and cared for. For some, a family email domain is considered a multi-generational gift.
- PROFESSIONAL PRACTITIONERS & TRUSTED CLIENT ADVISORS - It's becoming standard practice for professional advisors to use private email, including in their personal lives. That's just how the world works now - with no fine line dividing personal from professional anymore.
- Hackers know IT and the compliance department aren't protecting personal accounts, and they're targeting Realtors®, legal and financial professionals, healthcare workers, and anyone else that trades in prime-grade information.
- Trusted professional advisors and their clients will increasingly view "free" email accounts as unprofessional and inadequate for their business and overall well-being.
- SMALL BUSINESSES - For small businesses that are still on "free" email systems, the ability to have a private email system has never been easier or cheaper to do.
- No servers are required, no IT expertise is needed, one-time expenses are minimal, systems are easily scaled bigger or smaller. The bottom line for small businesses is there is great value in cyber-secure email today.
- Ultimately, PII regulations and requirements will increasingly require small businesses to privatize their email services in the future.
Anyone that is creating value for themselves or someone else can benefit from a private email system.
What's the best private email system?
A private email service is built with just two factors in mind; the user's experience and the security of their information.
- USER-EXPERIENCE - Fortunately, systems that are built for email (and not information mining and re-selling) are extremely robust today in terms of functionality, customization, and compatibility. They plug into any email software, like Outlook, Mac Mail, Thunderbird, and others. You can add Office 365 and other upgrades. There are no ads, and spam is greatly reduced.
- SECURITY of INFORMATION - Private accounts start with a big benefit - they're off the grid from the big-name targets. The best private email providers also have advanced filters and screens that keep out more of the bad guys and spammers. Webmail should be SSL for encryption, and the provider should be demonstrating innovation with regular enhancements designed to elevate security measures. AI, machine learning, and threat intelligence are examples.
How we do private email.
Even the best private email accounts can be created affordably with as little as one user, and it includes all the elements we advocate for ownership, control, functionality, and autonomy.
Features are too many to list here but can be found by clicking below. They include an SSL webmail portal, a Help Portal for every user that is specific to their account and it's service, and security is best-in-class with multiple filters and screens for viruses and spam.
We help you every step of the way. From naming your domain to setting up new boxes on your devices, to migrating your emails and folders from an existing account. Then, we hand you the keys for a lifetime of convenience and privacy.
You can learn more, here.
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"Electronic mail as we know it is drowning in spam, forged phishing mails, and other scams and hacks. It’s going to get worse before it gets better."
The Atlantic Magazine - May 21st, 2018. Read more.