How important is Email to you ?

How important is email to you? Is it a convenience, or a vital part of your business ? Over the years email has become one of the most important applications on the internet. We now use it to send money , manage projects or just keep in touch with our families.

We expect near instantaneous replies to our email, and we expect to store hundreds of messages within folders categorised with tags. We also expect to have access to our email where ever we travel, or even while on the move.

With the advances in internet technology and mobile communications, this is now possible. However, there are some risks involved, which you should be aware of before using these solutions. One of the most useful, is the use of wireless internet connections in airports, hotels and even fast food restaurants. However without some pre-cautions, your email account can be compromised, allowing people to send spam from your account, and to intercept your messages.

When your computer sends or receives email it sends authentication details to your email server using clear visible text. This is like posting a postcard with your credit card details and your PIN written on the back. When using external networks such as a internet café or wireless connection,unlike your home or office network , these networks are public. There is a risk that your authentication details are captured by fellow users, or by the actual provider of the internet connection.

A number of solutions exist to minimise these risks. By combining these solutions you can greatly increase the security of your email. To safeguard your authentication details, configure your computer to use encryption, in particular TLS “Transport Layer Security”. Most email programs like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird support this type of authentication. TLS is basically the email equivalent of the secure padlock you see in your browser when you are shopping on-line.

Don’t be afraid to use mobile email, it is extremely convenient. However , if you make yourself aware of the risks, and take steps to manage them, you can use these services with confidence.


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