Security breaches of free, web-based email services like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Gmail are on the rise. Perhaps you’ve experienced the phenomenon yourself. Ever received odd messages or a single hyperlink in an email from someone you know? Spammers use fake return email addresses all the time, but if the return address belongs to an acquaintance of yours, chances are that person’s actual account (and address book) has been compromised.
Such breaches happen in a variety of ways: partially stemming from the widespread popularity of such services, sometimes through the use of weak or recurring passwords on the part of the account owner, and for other reasons.
Because of these vulnerabilities, business owners should never use free email services for their commercial operations. The risk of a breach (not to mention the potential consequences of clients and partners receiving spam from your account) is just too high.
In addition, the use of such free services projects an unprofessional image to clients and potential clients. You want an email address that uses the name of your business in the domain field (i.e., the characters that appear after the “@” symbol and before the “.com” suffix).
Registering a domain name for your business and hosting your company’s email on it is relatively inexpensive, and well worth it in terms of both security and peace of mind.