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Take Control of Your Email

You can probably guess the age of anyone who has an email address that ends in aol.com or yahoo.com. They were around when the “Information Superhighway” was a two-lane country road dominated by AOL (America Online) and Yahoo. Today, they are roadkill on a “10-Lane Fiberoptic Freeway.” From a technology management point of view, you need to worry about your email. You need to have a plan to move your email account if your provider bails or becomes a less attractive alternative.

Why is that? Email has become a cost center, and the industry wants profit centers. Companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple have good, profit-generating reasons to keep you as email customers because your presence is tied to other products.

Microsoft’s Outlook is tied to the company’s Office suite of applications, which it sells increasingly as a subscription service to individuals, businesses, and governments all over the world. The email and Office apps are tied to Azure, a huge backup and file management service, and Microsoft Teams, which is primarily a corporate/government video conferencing service. They are more than happy to give you an email account (with an outlook.com address) and even happier to host your organization’s email systems. Microsoft and Outlook are not going anywhere.

Google has its gmail.com address for its Gmail system, and it attracts new users every day. If you have a “Gmail” account and use Google Chrome as your internet browser, you are money in the bank because you provide Google with tons of personal data they can mine and sell. Their collaboration tools, such as Google Drive and Photos, and Google Maps for driving directions anywhere, are good reasons for them to keep you close at hand. Gmail is not going anywhere.

Apple will give you an icloud.com email address, and reinforce how easy it is to use them to buy and download music, store pictures, etc. Apple is constantly developing apps for its hardware, and if it takes an email address to keep you closer, so much the better. Apple also has its TV channel and streaming device, giving it more chances to make money from you. Apple’s email is not going anywhere.

AOL and Yahoo lasted as giants for only 20 or so years. When the internet dawned, AOL quickly established itself as the browser of choice, beating out Netscape and a much earlier iteration of Internet Explorer to dominate the world. It also became the choice for many people to use for email. Yahoo provided content and email, but it was the first search engine to gain prominence. It was the place to look for anything – until Google stomped it. As email providers, they’re essentially gone – and your telecom carrier could be gone, too.

We made the point about core businesses several years ago when we suggested that anyone with an email address from a carrier (Comcast, Verizon, Spectrum, etc.) consider migrating to a service that has a stronger economic reason to maintain it. While a carrier has a reason to keep you (internet service and TV), they’re also in a competitive field.

In today’s internet world, providers and customers are looking for better deals, and that makes for a fluid marketplace. More so for you, you want to be ready to make a move if you can find better internet services from another provider. If you’re tied to their email service, it can take away your flexibility and bargaining power.

The money hits you in the gut, but there may a more important reason to have an email plan.

An email address is part of our identity and has some quasi-official status to identify us. When you do business online, your email address is usually your user ID. If your email address suddenly disappears, you may not be able to transact business with a key provider, such as a bank, a healthcare provider or a merchant that provides vital products. You’ll need to jump through hoops to reestablish your online credentials.

Setting up a new email account for an individual or business is easy. Individuals can easily migrate to a Gmail account from a carrier-based account, and you can still keep everything in Outlook. We find Outlook is good for handling multiple email accounts, which many of us have for personal and business accounts as well as those of other organizations.

The more complicated part is finding what files may be stored in an email system. Systems handle email storage in a variety of ways, and if you have not downloaded attached documents, spreadsheets, and images, it may take some extra work to transfer them to your new email account. It’s important to make sure you’ve brought them over before you delete your old email account because everyone has different rules for accessing messages. Some cut you off immediately while others give you 30 days.

We can help you develop and execute an email plan tailored to your needs as a business, non-profit organization or individual. Your planning process will include finding the best host for your email and your message migration process. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to discuss your needs.

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