Some thoughts and ideas for keeping your email safe and getting the best from your email activity.
We all know a strong password is an important if not crucial element to your email management. If you haven’t already, you can read our guide to creating and remembering a strong password. It’s a lot easier than you might think. To summarise though, use both upper and lowercase letters, include some numbers and symbols (such as !, &, *) and try not to use real words but a group of seemingly random letters.
It’s also a good idea to regularly change your password, especially for your email accounts.
Storage on an external drive
Where you store your email can be vital in the recovery of historic messages if you have any problems with your software application, or your computer.
We recommend changing the default storage location that your software chooses during installation and set up of email accounts, which is invariably on your local drive, to either a partition or preferably an external drive. If you have, for example, a computer crash and you need to re-install windows or even factory reset your PC, your C drive will be completely erased, along with your email files. If you have partitioned your drive (for example you have a D drive) this partition is not erased during a standard re-installation of windows and usually a factory reset will not erase a D drive either (there may be a setting for this).
So your email is better protected in the event of a computer problem.
Using a clear location will also make backing up your email easier. Some email applications like Outlook can make finding and manually retrieving your email files tricky and complicated. If you set up a easily located folder (for example D:email) it’s easy to click and drag the files to a backup location (like an external drive) or set up your backup software to regularly make the backup of that location.
Some software make this difficult to do. It’s one of the reasons we recommend Thunderbird as an email application, as it’s easy and clear how to setup your email storage location.
An external drive is also a great way of protecting your email in the event of a theft of your computer system, whether a laptop of desktop computer. Keep your external drive located away from your machine and you are less likely to have it stolen. You can even lock it away in a permanent and secure location in your office or home and unhook it from the computer (e.g. remove the USB cable) at night or when you are away. When you turn on your system in the morning, just plug in the drive. An even better solution would be to use a networked drive, which can use WiFi to connect to the drive, so it’s not physically attached to your system at all. This also allows you to access your email from different computers and locations.
We can help you set all this up – just contact us for help.
If you are getting lots of spam to your inbox, there are a few methods to cutting it down significantly. The best, and simplest, is filtering.
You can filter email that contains certain words from appearing at all in your inbox. There are many obvious keywords to filter (you’ll know what they are!) and it’s good practice to set those up straight away. If you are getting regular unwanted email with a common word in the subject of the message, you can add that to your filters too. You can add dozens of filters, and they’ll sit happily for years keeping you inbox a little cleaner. You can also filter out messages from individual domains, or even whole sentences that appear in the body of the messages. Be careful not to filter out words that may appear in real email messages though.
You can set up filtering at the server level which will stop spam appearing at all, or you can set your email software to filter the messages that come from the server, sending it straight to a spam folder or the trash.
You will never completely eradicate spam but you can make it manageable. If, however, you are being hit with hundreds or even thousands of spam messages, your only option may be to change your email address and let you contacts and clients know.
If you are a client of ours, just contact us and we can set up filtering at the server level for you (free of charge). You can also use Webmail to set up filtering yourself. Have a look at our post about setting up your email for Webmail details.
The problem of spam is not just about annoyance. Spam email can also contain viruses and in that regard filtering can help protect your entire system from an attack.
Using your phone to filter email
Swipe your spam away
If you use your phone to view email, it can work as a safety net in preventing spam (and therefore a possible virus) from finding its way to your computer. You don’t want an email with a virus link or attachment that can be clicked by mistake anywhere near your computer.
If a spam message appears on your phone, simply delete it before you open your email application and it’s sent to your computer. The message will be deleted from the server before it has the chance to appear in your inbox. It’s much harder to accidentally click a link or open an attachment from your phone than it is from your computer. This is especially useful if you work on a PC and use an iPhone, as the vast majority of viruses are targeted at the Windows system.
You will need to set up your phone to access your email. If you need any help at all feel free to contact us.