You might remember that about a year ago, Google announced that they would stop reading users’ emails for ad targeting purposes. Like a lot of people, you might have thought, “Wait, what? Stop reading? When did you start reading my emails?!”

Google was responding to a bit of backlash about their ad targeting practices, and stopping the practice was the right thing to do. But did you know that hundreds of third-party software developers are still scanning Gmail and other free email services? And, in some cases, it’s not just computers… Real people might have access to your private correspondence.

So, what can you do about it? First, we have to stress the importance of avoiding Gmail or other free email services, as far as business applications go. Sign up for a secure email service to handle your company’s email accounts, so that your business data and private messages aren’t subject to this type of intrusion.

Second, if you still have a personal Gmail account, take these steps to better secure your emails:

  1. From the upper right-hand corner of your Gmail screen, click on “account information”
  2. Click “Sign in and security”
  3. Scroll down to the “Apps with account access” section and click “manage apps”
  4. Remove any apps that are unfamiliar to you, or that you don’t want accessing your email

It’s a good idea to review this app access information frequently, because this problem can sneak up on you. But remember, this advice only applies to your personal Gmail account. No matter how well you secure it, a Gmail or other “free” email service should not be used for your business. There are just too many security risks. And, as we learned last year, sometimes these things fly under the radar for years before we even learn about them!

For more information on staying safe online, and using company email securely, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH. We can address all of your network security concerns, and help you update your business practices to stay safe in an ever-changing online landscape.