Running in-house email servers does provide more control and wider customization as well as tracking and compliance for small to midsize businesses (SMB). But they require specialized on-site IT staff as well as the need to manually manage and support both hardware and software. A third-party hosted email service matches many of the advantages of in-house email without the expensive initial investment. The ability to manage the number of users, access the latest security protocols, and enjoy ease of connectivity and deployment of hosted solutions makes it a viable and competitive option.
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Critics often claim abuse of administrative power over domain names. Particularly noteworthy was the VeriSign Site Finder system which redirected all unregistered .com and .net domains to a VeriSign webpage. For example, at a public meeting with VeriSign to air technical concerns about SiteFinder, numerous people, active in the IETF and other technical bodies, explained how they were surprised by VeriSign's changing the fundamental behavior of a major component of Internet infrastructure, not having obtained the customary consensus. SiteFinder, at first, assumed every Internet query was for a website, and it monetized queries for incorrect domain names, taking the user to VeriSign's search site. Unfortunately, other applications, such as many implementations of email, treat a lack of response to a domain name query as an indication that the domain does not exist, and that the message can be treated as undeliverable. The original VeriSign implementation broke this assumption for mail, because it would always resolve an erroneous domain name to that of SiteFinder. While VeriSign later changed SiteFinder's behaviour with regard to email, there was still widespread protest about VeriSign's action being more in its financial interest than in the interest of the Internet infrastructure component for which VeriSign was the steward.
Even if you’re not running a burgeoning business, there’s the personal branding component to what an email host can offer. Maybe you’re a graduate student building your personal portfolio and publishing your resumé online when your realize Corporate Hiring Managers are less likely to respond to [email protected] Wouldn’t it be nice to reach out from [email protected] instead? Or maybe you’re establishing a side biz to bring in some extra cash. Would you rather folks considering you for freelance work reach out to [email protected] or [email protected]?
Data protection is another key email security concern. Inboxes often contain GBs of business-critical and personal data, so not just hackers but also legitimate marketing companies can make big money off mining email data—and this sometimes includes the very company that is providing the email service to you. Fortunately, most companies, including your hosting provider, are pretty good about keeping out of private data, but it's important to be aware of when these policies have failed. Security breaches are commonplace and it's important to know how your data is being managed. To protect yourself, be sure to inquire about data safety capabilities on the provider's side, especially around encryption and malware scanning. But be sure to implement additional measures on your side, as well, including encryption for those using local email clients as well as deploying personal virtual private networks (VPNs) to folks accessing their email from multiple locations.
An example here is the rapidly growing trend of "inbox zero." It's actually known by a variety of names, but it refers to the practice of keeping your email inbox count at zero stored emails. Essentially, it's dealing with every email as it comes in and then deleting or archiving each one so that your inbox is always empty. This boils down to a fundamental shift in how users are utilizing their email inboxes.