By Steve McEvoy, Technology Consultant
Sending business emails ending with @Netcom.com, Aol.com, Earthlink.com and soon Yahoo.com are tell-tale signs you aren’t keeping up. People notice and may ask you if you are still driving the ‘72 Ford Pinto as well.
Using personal accounts from your Internet Service Providers (ISP) also looks old school like Comcast.net, TimeWarner.com, RoadRunner.com, SBCGlobal.net.
There is no rule making us keep up, or against driving a ‘72 Pinto, but I’d argue if you are in a marketing battle for new patients, this is just one small aspect you can easily improve.
For work, you really should have an email for your practice’s domain. DrSmith@SmithOrtho.com or DrJones@SmileDental.com, for example. People expect this, and when they see FlyingPigs65@aol.com, you send a subtle message that isn’t positive.
You might certainly have a private, personal email account as well, but even for that, you should consider using something like BobSmith@gmail.com or JaneJones@Office.com.
This should also apply to any of your staff using email on behalf of the practice.
There may be other motivating reasons as well. Companies offering email services for free (AOL and YAHOO) that aren’t thriving financially in their core business won’t be putting development resources into keeping products current, safe and secure. The news is full of stories about hacked email accounts and ransomware which typically makes its way into your computer via email. Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple have reputations to maintain and will have the resources to keep up. If you are going to use a free email service, I might suggest you look to one of the major players.
Changing your primary email account is always a major hassle, and this is likely what has kept you from making the switch. Setting up a new email account, and merely forwarding all the email from your old account indefinitely isn’t the right solution. Your old email account can still be hacked, and the company can still go out of business.
The steps generally are:
- Setup your new email account – and take this opportunity to make sure the password is a hard one. I’d suggest you setup two-factor authentication with it as well.
- Link your new account to your PC, phones, tablet, etc.
- Using your old email, notify EVERYONE in your contact list that you are changing your email to the new one effective immediately. You can do this in one mass email, but be smart about it and put all the recipients in the BCC list so they don’t see everyone else you emailed the list to. Make yourself the only official To:
- Configure your old email account to forward to your new one (for a while).
- After a month, check your old account to see if anyone you know is continuing to use the old account, then contact them directly to start using the new address.
- After another month, turn off the forwarding from your old account and delete it at the vendors. Gone forever, but no risk of hacking.
You can also always enlist some help from your IT person, they should be well familiar with the process.