Thursday, December 20, 2018

Why it's Important to Use Personal Email when Creating Certain Accounts

Keeping track of user accounts and passwords can feel like a ridiculous endeavor. Every site we order from, and even some simply visited, wants you to create an account with them. Some sites no longer allow guest ordering, meaning you are forced to create an account or one is created automatically if you want to order from them. As a result we quickly end up with hundreds of user accounts making it nearly impossible to remember different user id's and password combinations for each. This puts the security of those accounts at risk as any data breach could cause those credentials to be exposed. 

There is another important item to consider when creating new accounts. It is critical to consider what type of account you are creating before determining which email account to use. In some instances the type of email account does not matter while in others it is crucial to use a personal email account, one not attached to any service, to maintain control.

Why it's Important to Use Personal Email when Creating Certain Accounts

First, let's clarify the different types of email. There are personal accounts that are contingent upon a paid service. Examples would be Comcast or AT&T emails provided for free when they are your Internet Service Provider (ISP). There are email accounts provided for free by employers, which are contingent upon your employment with them. The third type of email accounts are those provided for free to users without being tied to a service or job. 

Some examples of providers of free email accounts not tied to services are Outlook online, Yahoo, Google, ProtonMail, Zoho, and Since these accounts remain yours no matter where you go, what job you have, or what services and applications you use, you retain access to them until you no longer want them. As such, these are the kinds of email accounts you want to use when setting up accounts that manage important information.

Below are 4 instances where it is smartest to use personal accounts that you will always retain access to during account creation.

iTunes accounts  

If you know anything about Apple products, you know they take security seriously. As such, recovering access to an iTunes account when you have forgotten the password can be challenging. If the iTunes account was created with a business email, the device will not install new apps or update the iOS without the password. Without access to the email account associated with iTunes, there is no way to reset the password so you definitely want to set up iTunes with a personal account you can retain access to.

Software subscriptions

Software subscriptions typically cost less to access the software than purchasing the software and owning it for the life of the computer or until you decide to upgrade. This is one reason many people have gone to a subscription service as the pricing is predictable and more manageable. There can be differences between the software versions, but many are quite similar. Another thing to consider is when software is purchased outright, the cost per year drops each year you have it. However, software purchased this way rarely comes with major updates where subscribing to software typically does.

One of the most important things to note is that purchased software comes with a license key and possibly an activation key. As long as you document or keep these you will have them forever. On the contrary, subscription services connect to email accounts and can be orphaned if access to that email account is lost. This can cause a loss in the ability to access any cloud-based software or upgrade any locally installed software.  

Website ownership

Websites can be a huge part of our personal lives. If we wanted to share an artistic talent, a website is the perfect way to accomplish this. Getting a website has become easier with many companies dedicated to helping users get online faster, software modules that help build sites more quickly and cheap startup costs.

What most people fail to recognize is that there are several moving parts making up each website. Each part can be purchased from a single company like GoDaddy, or they may come from several different companies like Network Solutions or others. Website ownership typically breaks down into 3 parts:
  1. Domain registration - the name you type to visit that company's site (e.g., .net, or other)
  2. DNS hosting - the records that tell the world how to get to
  3. Website hosting - the actual pages, images, and content that display when you visit as well as any other pages within that website
Whether each piece is purchased from the same company or not, they need to be purchased with a personal account that you will always control. Forgetting to pay any one of these 3 parts will result in a loss of website accessibility. Additionally, losing access to an email connected to any one of these can cause you to lose control over the website or domain and in some cases this can be permanent. Accounts created to maintain a website are likely the single most important accounts you have.

Payment accounts

Seller accounts and accounts that are connected to payment systems like Square, Shopify, or PayPal should also be set up with accounts whose access you can maintain. These accounts typically allow you to change the email account used to create them, but you must prove ownership of the original account first. This means having access to that email. If you do not have access to this account, there is no way to update the email account. 

NOTE: All of these examples assume the items, whether purchased or not, are not owned by a business. If a business, not owned by you, is purchasing the software for your use as their employee, your access should stop once you are no longer an employee. There should be a clear distinction between what is purchased by, and therefore belongs to, a business versus what is a personal account.

Whatever types of email accounts you have, it is always a good idea to have at least one account that is free of attachment from a service or job. This allows you to maintain ownership of the account no matter where you go or what changes occur in your life. These accounts are especially important when creating iTunes, software subscription, website, or payment accounts.

As always, use caution when setting up new accounts. Considering what it is for, how important it is, and how it will be used will save you time, headache and potential loss.

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