Many Businesses Think GMail is Secure – They are Wrong

Many of us have used Google’s free Gmail service for a number of years for email, mostly for personal email.  It is a great way to keep the clutter out of our work Inbox.  Google has begun marketing an enhanced (that is, not free) Gmail service to businesses.  Although it charges for the service it is a web based application that does not require the customer to purchase hardware and software.  In recent years, Google has attacked Microsoft’s Exchange Server head on for email market share.  The main way they do this is by taking revenue from their lucrative search and advertising business unit to pay for the Gmail division.  Google has made clear its plans to provide more online services to businesses and wants to compete strongly with Microsoft and other traditional business software companies.  In many ways this competition forces innovation and is good for the consumer.

Another way Google has been generating revenue from their free Gmail service is by selling ads within Gmail.  So while you are viewing your Gmail Inbox, you will notice an ad banner on the side offering discounts and other incentives to purchase products and services from advertisers.

But have you noticed how many of the ads are oddly familiar and seem to be related to the emails you have just been reading in your Inbox?  Well you should notice.   Google’s computers scan your email for keywords and deliver ads in your web browser based on these keywords.  Does that sound a bit Orwellian?  It should.

Now, Google will claim they don’t have people sitting around reading your email and that may be true.    But the fact that they have unlimited access to the content of your email should bother you.  If you read the fine print of Gmail’s usage agreement, it states the content of the email can be accessed and used by Google for just about anything.

For the home user this may not be earth-shattering, but if your business email is hosted on Gmail there could be some serious privacy concerns, particularly if your company is a medical practice, law firm or an SEC-regulated business.

Microsoft Exchange is a secure email platform that is the industry standard for email.  Most Network 1 clients have an on-premise or hosted Exchange server.  Our engineers work with Exchange every day and as a Microsoft Gold Partner and Atlanta’s premier provider of IT services, Network 1 has the quickest access to the top level engineers at Microsoft.

There are lots of providers of business class email.  Don’t use Google Gmail.  Let Network 1 help you select the email service that’s right for your business.

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