Does your practice have company email or does it depend on employees using their personal email accounts for business purposes? While we believe everyone needs a personal email account, we also believe that businesses need company email for their employees and that the two should mix as infrequently as possible. Here are a few reasons why we believe company email is a better solution than allowing employees to use personal email accounts for business purposes:
1.Company email can help avoid HIPAA issues
“Free” public email (Yahoo, Gmail, Live, etc.) is not securely encrypted. These emails can easily be captured in transit and read. “Company” or paid email systems allow email to be encrypted as long as the receiver has a “Transport Layer Security” or TLS compliant email system. When this is in place, the emails you send and receive from them and to them are encrypted and cannot be read while in transit. Paid email systems can also have secure email gateways implanted which will allow all outbound email from your company to be encrypted.
2. Company email looks more professional
Simply stated, getting an email from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org typically doesn’t portray the image that most companies are looking for. In most situations, this gives your clients the idea that your office didn’t want to spend the money to have their own email system, or simply that your office doesn’t know the benefits and security advantages of company email. Either way, if you were a patient would you really want to send a personal medical question or a question about a financial statement to a person whose email account is obviously their own personal account and could possibly be accessed and read by their children, spouse, and/or friends. It is also possible that this person will not even be at the same job six months from now, but they will still have your medical information!
3. Company email allows you more control
Quick question #1…..Are your employees stealing proprietary information or sending inappropriate emails under the guise of business emails? If they use private email then you will never know. As an employer you have the right to monitor employee emails on your company’s email system. While employees do have some rights as well under the National Labor Relations Act these rights do not include stealing company information or sending inappropriate emails.
Quick question #2……The last employee that left your office, did they have company emails continuing to come through after they were terminated? Did they take with them any patient sensitive information that had been emailed to them previously? The answer is that if they were on their private emails then you will never know. Company email systems allow you to forward email accounts to administrators so that they can monitor emails after an employee leaves or is terminated. This allows important business not to “fall through the cracks” and ensures that their previous dealings with clients can continue in a professional and timely manner.
4. Company email allows for greater usability and service
Most company emails have a better user experience overall. The email options are more user friendly with better interfaces, search capabilities, calendar synchronization, and larger size limits; not to mention better in-office product integration with your email system. The overall service is also typically better with company email because when there is a problem there is no question about who to call for service. Most free and public email systems have almost no support that can be reached by phone which can cause a headache when it comes to service and support.
If you are allowing each employee to use their own public email account for business purposes you might want to reconsider. There are many good company email systems such as Microsoft Exchange, Google Business Apps and many others. In most situations, these systems can be put into place for a very reasonable cost and offer great advantages over the alternatives. If you are struggling with this decision, talk with your local IT company about your options in this area, you will be glad you did.