Remember the days of having to pay for your email address? I think it was AOL that put email on the map for most of us as it was included with their dial-up internet service. That quickly changed with Hotmail - which most likely was the first stand alone free email service. Free email then became not just a cool new service, but almost a right; kind of like getting a social security number after being born. Honestly, I don't think I know anyone who doesn't have an email address.
Currently, there are a multitude of free hosted email service providers. As my dad used to say, "There is no free lunch." Everything has a cost. So what's the cost of 'free' email? Consider these terms and conditions of free-mail:
With cyber attacks and data breaches at an all time high, everyone is at risk. From the attorney whom uses yahoo to communicate with their client to the dentist that schedules their client appointments through a free gmail app, professionals are at risk and careers could be lost. It will only be a matter of time before the professional liability insurance carriers ask about their email security procedures.
As a consumer sharing family pictures, receiving newsletters, and getting the latest Groupon deal, free-mail is fine. It is only when dealing in sensitive, privileged information that we could be airing our dirty laundry unknowingly.
Whether a professional or consumer, it is important to think about the repercussions if their emails suddenly became available to the general public.
Free is not free.