Here You Have: A Great Opportunity to Get Off of In-House Email

Updated: September 14, 2010

The Here You Have virus was simple. A cryptic subject heading and a short message linking to either a supposed PDF document or pornographic videos induced users to click through to a server in the UK that hosted a malicious drive-by virus. Once it infected their computers it spread to everyone in their address book which of course includes everyone in the organization. It also spread via open file shares. The malware contained keystroke logging and back door components.

This is 2010 and we are still fighting the same battles. If your organization has not been able to figure out how to do email without these periodic disruptions it might be time to consider alternatives. Hosted or in-the-cloud email services have many advantages. First, they usually do not reside on Microsoft Exchange (although those services are available as well) and therefore do not require Microsoft Outlook. Anytime you can free yourself from a Microsoft product you get immediate benefits from not being a participant in the monoculture that gives rise to most viruses. Strong words but this is email, the simplest IT task there is. Create messages, send messages, receive messages.

If you are a small business or individual you should consider the business services from Yahoo or Google. While not perfect they rarely succumb to virus outbreaks. Certainly not this latest one. You can still control your domain name and move anytime you like. You can still read your email with any email client if you want to store your email locally. You can even have multiple platforms in your office like Apple or Ubuntu. You can access your email anytime on your Blackberry or iPhone. And you have almost unlimited storage space.

If you do not trust Google or Yahoo with your private information there are plenty of alternatives. Proofpoint, Webroot, Messagelabs(Symantec), St Bernard Software, are a handful of the alternatives. Some very large organizations use these services.

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