For many of us – regardless of what industry we are in – email is a major component of our day-to-day lives.  In fact, many people see email as something important enough to take with them on the go via means of their smartphones.  The ability to keep in touch with family, colleagues regardless of location definitely has its benefits.  However, as beneficial as it can be to have access to one’s email whilst on the go, the concept of having all of our most sensitive and personal information on a handheld computer is definitely a scary one.  That mobile device of yours is a prime target for thieves, and is just waiting to be stolen.  But in many cases the sensitivity of the information on a mobile computer far surpasses the value of the device itself.  By eliminating the amount of personal information that is stored and accessible on your device, you can increase your sense of security dramatically.

Creating an entirely separate email account for your mobile device is simple enough.  Some carriers offer an email service with a data/smartphone plan, but creating a third-party email account is far from a challenge.  Services like Gmail (and Google Apps) are great in the sense that they provide IMAP and POP support, ensuring that your email account will be compatible with any device you have – be it in the present or future.

But why would you want to go through all the trouble.  You see, by creating a separate mobile email account, you can help to eliminate the amount of “clutter” email that you deal with on your smartphone.  For example, an email from your boss may something that you’d want available in the palm of your hands, but offers and newsletters are probably a waste of your time while on the go.  By eliminating all of the clutter on your smartphone, you can have a much more clean and simplified email inbox, ultimately allowing you to focus on your mobile priorities whilst on the go.

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Many email providers offer “filters”.  I know for a fact that Gmail/Google Apps does, and the Thunderbird email client has a similar client-side feature as well.  These filters allow you to define “rules” for sorting and organizing your email.  This can be incredibly useful in setting up a mobile email account, because you can define “important” senders, subjects, and keywords that need to be forwarded to your phone; ultimately making the transitional process a much smoother and effective one.  Moreover, you can continue to use your existing email account without the need to instruct people to send mail directly to your phone.  This ultimately gives you a heightened level of control, because you can define what emails are important instead of trusting the senders to do so.


Asides from the sense of a lighter email workload on your smartphone, you can increase your level of security by establishing a secondary email account.  In the same sense that you can filter important email messages, you can work to make sure that sensitive email messages are never sent to your smartphone.  This will make the “payload” for a would-be pick-pocket or thief significantly lighter, and could ultimately ease you from many headaches down the road.  Think about it; password resets, bank statements, and personal data are things that are important, yet can be harmful in the wrong hands.

When all is said and done, separate mobile email accounts make a lot of sense and should definitely be considered.  While it may take a bit of effort to set up and get used to, it will ultimately pay off in terms of productivity, and in the unfortunate event that your phone is stolen you will save yourself a lot of hassle.

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Do you have any tips for staying productive or secure whilst on the go?  Let us know in the comments!

  • oh my!!

    Why in the world did you not hammer on the importance of email article ENCRYPTION???

    You raise IMAP and POP but offer no versus or advantage?   IMAP with no local storage minimies most of your phobia.  POP?  Not a great idea for most every situation now’a’days.

    hmmm

  • While email encryption is definitely something that one needs to consider, the fact of the matter is that it is an entirely separate topic altogether.  Sure, one may very well have a need to encrypt their email data, but this is something that could be done regardless of if they were using a separate email account or not.  At the end of the day, someone with enough time and resources could get around the encryption on a phone (or anything for that matter).  My father used to tell me that “a lock only keeps an honest man out”, and I think this same philosophy applies to email security.  By limiting the amount of data that is actually stored on a phone, an individual ensures that that data is not available to a would-be thief.

    In regards to POP vs. IMAP protocols, Jeff has already written an article and conducted a video on this topic, which can be found at http://www.besttechie.net/2008/11/04/imap-vs-pop3/.  I mentioned Google Apps and Gmail simply because of the fact that it supports both IMAP and POP, and thus will be comparable with a larger range of devices; some of which only have native support for one protocol or the other.


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