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Best Practices

Tips on Switching to a Private Email Domain

March 28, 2013

With the abundance of information now being communicated through email, the security level of your electronic communications must be sufficient enough to handle the delicate nature of business correspondence.

With cyber fraud a growing concern, title and settlement companies need to take additional steps to protect non-public personal information. Strict regulations require a high level of privacy and security with regard to the exchange of information, which cannot be guaranteed by free email services.

There are many companies out there that can provide email hosting services for a private domain. One service that could be used for this is Google Apps. Here are some links describing how to set this up and transfer mail and contacts from another email account:

As you get ready to transfer email to a private domain, don’t cancel your old email address just yet. First, pick your new domain name and make sure it is easy to say over the phone, easy to remember and easy to spell when someone tells you verbally what it is. You will need to select an email provider to provide email services for this domain. The provider can probably buy the domain for you and take care of setting most things up. Next, verify that your new account is up and running and that you can send and receive email from and to your new email address(es). It can take 24-48 hours for new domains to be registered and that information to propagate across the Internet.

Forwarding Email From Old Address to New One

Your old free email provider should have a mechanism or configuration option where you can forward your new inbound email to another email address. Ask their support for assistance if you can’t find it. You will want to forward email going to your old address to your new address.

Migrate Old Email to New Provider

If you have a lot of email sitting in your inbox and other folders at your old email address, you will want to copy this to the new system. If your old provider provides IMAP access to your email (so you can connect via Outlook and keep your email folders on the server, for example), you can either:
  • Drag and drop your email from your old folders to your new ones at your new provider by setting up both accounts in your email program (i.e. Outlook, Mac Mail, etc.)
  • Have your new provider perform an automated managed copy of all your old email to your new account(s) for you.
If your old provider does not provide IMAP access, but does provide POP access, then you can either:
  • Download all your email to your computer using POP and the copy it back up to your new account using IMAP
  • Download it all to your computer using POP and keep it there
  • Use a POP-download tool at your new provider to have them copy your old INBOX to your new account
Update Branded Materials

Once you’ve made the switch, make sure to update business cards, letter head, envelopes, websites, and any other advertising or branded materials to show your new email address instead of your old one. If you have a “signature,” “tagline,” or “disclaimer” at the end of your email messages, check to be sure that those too use your new email address.

Tell Your Customers

Informing contacts of your new email address is important as well. This is a good excuse to send a bulk email to your customers and vendors letting them know about your change of email address. Maybe also let them know more about your business, products or services while you are at it. If you have a large contact list, you may need to use a bulk mailing service to send these out.

At your old or new email provider, you should make an “auto responder” that emails back a notice to folks to send you messages at you new email address. This notice would inform them of the change of address. If your old provider does not have this feature, your new one may.

Don’t Use Your Old Email

At this point, you should never be using your old free email address for sending out email messages. In most cases, there is no need to disable or delete the old email address immediately or even at all. If you are not using it, it will sit idle and forward emails to your new address.

If you get a lot of spam at your old email address, you may want to stop forwarding your email as soon as you are comfortable that most people are using the new address. Or, at least be sure that your new provider has really good spam filtering. Free email providers often have security issues and are sometimes attacked. Be sure that the password to your old account is changed and is strong. Also be sure that any security questions and answers you can enter there are also hard to guess.



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