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Best Practices

Use Private Email Domains to Increase Security of Private Information

September 19, 2013

With the increased potential of fraud, lenders may require additional security when emailing non-public personal information. To prevent potential loss of business, service providers—including title and settlement agents, abstracters and attorneys—are encouraged to obtain a private email domain, which gives you control of how it is managed and allows you to determine storage and security.

Andy Maloney, president of Nashville Title Insurance Corp. and chair of ALTA’s Technology Committee, said there are many reasons for switching from a free email address or a domain owned by some third-party company to using your own domain name.

“It just seems unprofessional and not tech savvy to use free email for business purposes,” he said. “Further, they seem to be easily hacked and these free sites scan you emails and sell the information.”

Maloney said there are several low cost domain registration sites such as GoDaddy.com and Register.com, or even local IT providers.

According to a security engineer for a national underwriter, email from a private domain is usually more trusted than email from a free or public domain. Many free email services allow anyone to sign up, so they have a higher percentage of spammers and people sending scam emails. It can be difficult to determine if email from one of these services is legitimate, so there can be a higher risk of messages being blocked by spam filters or ignored by recipients. As an example, if someone’s email address is johndoe123@yahoo.com, someone can sign up as johndoe1234@yahoo.com in order to impersonate them. It is more difficult to do that with a private domain.

If a title company has their employees use a free email service and an employee is terminated, the employee could keep using that email account and business contacts may think that person is still working for the company. The terminated employee would also have access to all of their old messages including any confidential information. Free email services do not always enforce a strong password policy, so those accounts are potentially easier to hack.

Here are some common reasons for using a domain that you own:

  • It is good for the public appearance/branding of your company. Using company@gmail.com just does not look as professional as info@company.com.
  • Use of a public/free email address makes your company look very small and/or not very well established, as if email is an afterthought and communications via email is not a priority.
  • It makes your email address easier to remember.
  • You are no longer tied to an internet service provider. If you have a Comcast.net email address, you are forever tied to Comcast. What if you want to change companies or need to move somewhere where there is no Comcast? What if you want to use some services, like encryption that the provider does not offer? By using your own domain, you have the flexibility of using pretty much any email provider you like and of changing at any time with minimal or no interruption of business-as-usual. Additionally, there is no re-printing of business cards.
Below are helpful links outline addition reasons for not using a free/public email address for business:



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