Risks of Free Gmail for Business Use & Why Custom Domains Are Safer

Publication Date: 2023.11.06

Free Gmail for business operations comes with many risks. In the article, we will go through potential dangers and strategies for risk mitigation with the help of Google Workspace. Proactive steps will be listed to show you exactly how you can maintain a responsible and safe working environment, enforce essential security measures, and uphold corporate IT security measures. It’s time for your company to take decision actions to ensure the security of your working environment in today’s dynamic business environment.

Understanding The Dangers of Free Email for Businesses

Gmail Logo

Today, you may be part of a company that uses free email services like @gmail.com or @yahoo.com for daily operations. While the convenience and cost savings are apartments, it’s natural to wonder how safe is it and what the risks of using it are if it is free.

Here at TS Cloud, we strongly urge businesses to utilize paid Google Workspace service. By the end of this article, we will have outlined the risks associated with using free Gmail for corporate operations and the benefits of transforming your business’s security environment with Google Workspace.

What Is Free Email

Free Emails are any email services that are free to use and is commonly used by the general public for personal uses. Today’s most widely used free email services include Gmail, Outlook, AOL, and Yahoo! Mail. These are generally quick to set up and easy to use.

Risks of Free Email for Businesses

Risk 1: Unreliability of Free Email

Considering the perspective of those free email users for business purposes, it’s not unreasonable to think, “Is this company taking security and compliance lightly? By not using an email associated with a custom domain,considerable business opportunities may be lost and the following risks may be prominent in your usage of free email for business.

Risk 2: IT Security Compliance Regulation

With free email accounts such as Gmail, managers cannot effectively control and monitor the usage of each employee’s account. Therefore, the tracking of unauthorized access is unmanageable, and data leaks may occur if devices are lost too. This may significantly harm customers, partners, and the business itself. Inadequate IT security measures may also lead to compliance regulation as a company.

Furthermore, free email accounts are the intellectual property of the owners of the email, and information within them cannot be transferred by force. By involving personally owned accounts with business uses, businesses will always be open to compliance issues regarding data transfers or the right to the data within them. To avoid such concerns, companies should ensure that employees are given corporate-owned resources and prohibit the use of personal email accounts for work.

Example of a Problem

Assuming that corporate data is being held on a free email account, it is the legal right of account holders to hold all data as personal ownership. Therefore the company cannot compel a transfer of data if the employee resigns. As a result, there is a possibility of data loss when the employee resigns.

Risk 3: High Chances of Data Loss

If a free email holder faces any of the following problems, retrieving data from the email will be difficult

  • User cannot remember password and did not set any backup email or phone number
  • User accidentally or maliciously deleted the free email and did not export at data

*Although retrieval of data is possible in some cases, Google does not provide any support for free Gmail users.

Risk 4: Lowered Security Levels

Among free email providers, Gmail is often ranked to be the safest, however depending on how it is used, there may be scenarios where the security level of the account is not sustainable for the organization.

  • Security settings were changed without managerial permission which may increase the risk of unauthorized access to an account.
  • Without adequate security settings and features, previous employees of a business may continue to enter the account undetected.

Risk 5: Lack of Technical Support

As free emails are unpaid, there may be times when technical support from your email providers is inaccessible.

In the case of free Gmail users, assistance can only be reached from the Gmail Help Center, or the forum communities online. This often takes time and there is a possibility that the issue may not be resolved. Because of these issues, it is essential to know about these factors and situations in advance.

Gmail Support

Risk 6: Commonly Classified as Spam

Business users may have encountered this issue: when sending emails from a free email address with promising business opportunities, the recipient’s email security settings can sometimes flag them as spam. This often occurs due to the increased risk of phishing emails. When an email lands in the spam folder, the chances of the recipient noticing it drop significantly, potentially leading to a missed business opportunity.

Risk 7: Low Storage Capacity

While free email accounts like Yahoo and AOL boast generous storage capacities, widely used services such as Gmail and Outlook offer a more limited 15GB to 20GB of free storage. While this might appear sufficient, this capacity includes email, cloud files, and in Gmail’s case, photos as well. Consequently, businesses with substantial photo and video storage requirements may swiftly exhaust this space.

Once the storage limit is reached, sending and receiving new emails will not be possible.

How can I reduce the amount of storage I am using?

Data deletion is necessary. To manage emails burdened with hefty attachments, like images and videos, the recommended course of action is to export essential files and subsequently purge the emails. This approach ensures that email accounts remain uncluttered and free from excess. For additional strategies to minimize data within Google Drive, kindly consult our specialized Google Drive Storage Guide.

Reducing Your Google Drive Storage

Risk 8: Data Offloading Times

As highlighted previously, the data residing in free email accounts requires relocation to an alternative account. Regrettably, this task frequently consumes time and occasionally proves to be a cumbersome process.

Throughout this transfer process, users frequently store files or emails locally, transfer them, and subsequently re-upload them to a designated corporate storage account like Google Drive in Google Workspace. This process can become quite laborious due to transfer speeds, device compatibility concerns, and the need to maintain data integrity. Additionally, the likelihood of dealing with substantial file sizes only adds to the complexity.

[Warning] Sharing one free email account with multiple people

High risks associated with sharing a free email account among multiple users

  • It is not possible to track the actions of any users
  • Resigned employees may continue to access and steal confidential information

Google and other free email providers do not recommend the use of their service in this way therefore they have provided adequate warning of the possibility of accounts being locked.

Here are some ways such problems can be solved with Google Workspace accounts

  • Clear history of document changes, deletions, sending, receiving, and edits
  • Administrators can easily suspend abused accounts

How Google Workspace Reduces Risks

Here is a summary of how the risks are prevalent in free Gmail accounts compared to how Google Workspace helps to combat those risks. As a paid service, Google Workspace is equipped with business-driven tools and functions that are completely capable of conducting safe business activities

Free Gmail Gmail in Google Workspace
Unreliability of Free Email Reliable Use of Custom Domains
IT Security Compliance IT Security Compliance Violiations Can Be Avoided
High Chances of Data Loss Effective Data Protection
Lowered Security Levels Strengthening Security Levels
Lack of Technical Support Receive Personalised Technical Support
Commonly Classified as Spam Low Risk of Being Classified as Spam
Low Storage Capacity Large Storage Capacity (30GB – 5TB)
Data Offloading Times Easily Control All Account Settings in Admin Console

Reliable Use of Custom Domains

Google Workspace allows you to run your owned custom domain name in your email address, such as “@tscloud.com.my” By noticing the company name of official business emails, customers and partners alike will be able to feel safer responding to a corporate email address.

What is a Custom Domain

A custom domain is a purchased and owned domain that uses a string of characters of your choice. Anyone can purchase their domain, regardless if it is for corporate or entrepreneurial use.

A domain domain is an address on the internet. It is used as information to determine where a website is located. They are often identifiable in a website’s URL or at the end of an email address.

Example: “abcd-domain.com” is part of https://abcd-domain.com
Example: “abcs-domain.com” is part of mail@abcd-domain.com

IT Security Compliance Violations Can Be Avoided

With Google Workspace, you as an admin who issues accounts with a custom domain, can manage all accounts. This is possible because each account will be owned by your company. In contrast with the use of free email accounts, business operations can be conducted with peace and ease of mind.

Effective Data Protection

With Google Workspace, it is notable that non-admin users cannot delete accounts or take any other administrative actions. Additionally, Google Workspace Admin Console provides an array of capabilities such as

  • Administrators have the ability to retrieve deleted emails 25 days before permanent deletion
  • Administrators have the ability to reset the passwords of any account
  • Deleted accounts can be restored by administrators within a certain period.
  • Google Vault enables administrators to retain data for the long term

Unlike the use of free emails where an individual is the administrator, Google Workspace allows the separation of the two to ensure the upholding of internal data policies and regulations among account holders.

Mitigate compliance risks with Google Vault

Part of the Google Workspace office suite, Google Vault is a tool that enables archiving, data management, and eDiscovery for emails and chat records within Gmail. It ensures information governance and is designed to prepare Google Workspace account holders for regulation and compliance audits.

Google Vault works to archive a variety of data, including conversations, files, Docs entries, and various other activity logs on Google Workspaces’ tools.

Strengthening Security Levels

In Google Workspace, additional security measures can be taken. For companies that demand a high level of security, Google Workspace is essential for several reasons.

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication for all account logins to confirm identity of user.
  • Set up alerts for suspicious access to notify administrators. This allows for immediate response to protection and prevention protocols.
  • Restrict access to limited devices and approved applications only.
  • Suspend accounts to prevent any access without permanently deleting the account

Receive Personalised Technical Support

If you have chosen TS Cloud, an official Google Workspace reseller, as your dedicated Google Workplace provider, you can reach out to them for inquiries and support. Alternatively, you can contact Google Support directly too. Reach TS Cloud through phone and email where within 90 seconds, we will respond to help resolve any questions or issues you may have. As your support team, dedicated guidance can also be provided through web conferences on Google Meet for any implementation-related inquiries.

Low Risk of Being Classified as Spam

Using a custom domain for your email greatly reduces the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam. However, it is not impossible for it to happen. There are times where emails custom domains may fall into a recipients spam box, however this is usually due to a configuration issues. By properly setting up SPF records through your DNS TXT records, you can easily address this problem.

Large Storage Capacity (30GB – 5TB)

With Google Workspace, online storage space can range from 30GB to 5TB

Usage Plan Capacity Limit
(Per User)
Free Account 15GB
Business Starter 30GB
Standard 2TB
Plus 5TB
Enterprise Essentials 1TB
Standard 5TB
(Expandable when needed)
Plus 5TB
(Expandable when needed)

Easily Control All Account Settings in Admin Console

In Google Workspace, administrators can conduct bulk changes to the owned of files and email accounts. This grealy reduced the effort required for data transfer.

Furthermore, if an owner’s account is deleted before the change in account ownership has happened, file are deleted too. However, within 20 days of the account deletion, a super administrator can restore them. This can be seen as a safeguarding of sensitive confidential data that ensures that no data is accessed without authorization.

Shared Drive eliminated the need to share data

If the your edition of Google Workspace is Business Starter, data storage is limited to My Drive and is managed individually, and there is always an owner. Wherelese in Business Standard or higher, when file are created in shared drive, the organization becomes the owner. Therefore changing ownership is not necessary because it is not possible as individuals will not be owners.

Google Workspace Pricing

Google Workspace Tools Icons

Google Workspace stands as a cloud-based office suite offered by Google, primarily designed for professional and corporate use. It encompasses an array of tools, including Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Meet, and various others. Each of these tools offers distinct capabilities that enable organizations to efficiently manage their data in the cloud and facilitate smooth collaborative work. This integrated solution aligns perfectly with contemporary work practices, where remote work has become increasingly prevalent.

Most Popularly Used Tools in Google Workspace

A quick breakdown of Google Workspace’s Primary Tools

  • Gmail: Email Service that blocks 99.9% of spam emails
  • Google Drive: Large capacity cloud storage
  • Google Calendar: Actively share and view team and organizational schedules
  • Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides: The ultimate three in one document, spreadsheet, and presentation slide tools all in one place.
  • Google Form: Create captivating surveys and collect responses with ease
  • Google Meet: Secure video conferencing from anywhere
  • Google Chat: Smooth communication with no drawbacks
  • Google Sites: Easily create a website with no special knowledge
  • Google Keep: An all device memo taker
  • Admin Console: Strengthen security and protect your organization with centralized management

Google Workspace provides a range of editions, each tailored to accommodate businesses of different sizes. When it comes to plans that incorporate Gmail, you have five primary choices. The cost is contingent upon the number of users and the online storage capacity. Furthermore, the tools and features accessible in each plan may differ. To ensure you select the most suitable plan, we advise thoroughly examining our comprehensive “Pricing Plan Details” before making your final decision.

  Business Starter Business Standard Business Plus Enterprise Standard Enterprise Plus
Annual Plan’s Monthly Fee RM28.5 RM57 RM85.5 RM109.3 RM142.6
MaximumNumber of People Available ~300 ~300 ~300 Unlimited Unlimited
Storage Capacity (Per User) 30GB 2TB 5TB 5TB 5TB

*Purchasing an annual contract with TS Cloud requires a minimum of 5 or more accounts
Prices are subject to change based on the USD exchange rate; Prices shown above are based on the exchange rate on 2/11/2023

View Price Plan Details

Free Gmail Data Migration to Google Workspace

Interested in transitioning from free Gmail to Gmail on Google Workspace? Regrettably, you can’t perform a direct upgrade of your Gmail account. Nevertheless, there’s a viable option to “migrate” your data from free Gmail to Google Workspace. When you decide to make the move to Google Workspace, reach out to our TS Cloud team for expert guidance and support with the data migration process.

Further Information on Google Workspace

This article has explored the risks associated with utilizing free email services for business operations and emphasized the advantages of opting for a paid office suite provider like Google Workspace to effectively counter these risks. To ensure the most basic security measures and compliance with corporate standards, we strongly urge you to abandon the use of free email services for the safety of both your organization and your clients. Take the initiative and give Google Workspace a go today!

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