Why Using POP3 / IMAP Email is Bad for Your Business


Email is email, but not all email services are the same.

In the past, many company email systems used the POP protocol, which downloaded emails on to the hard drive of a computer. If the hard drive died, it took all your emails with it. It also worked on only one device, so you couldn’t sync sent items and other folders between different devices.

The IMAP protocol, which followed, improved on POP by storing emails on the server, but still did not allow syncing of contacts, calendars and tasks.

And in a world where security is essential, standard POP and IMAP email services don’t provide encryption as standard, making it easier for hackers to steal passwords and read the content of private emails during transit. The IMAP protocol was last updated in the 1990’s, nearly 30 years ago!

If your business is still using POP or IMAP for its emails, you’re not taking advantage of improved features offered by Cloud services such as Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365 not only handles email, but also integrates shared contacts and calendars, enabling your employees to sync contacts, diaries, calendars, tasks and more. All the data is stored on the Microsoft server, so a user can make a request, for example, to book a meeting and can see who else is available to attend at that time. Group and shared mailboxes also enable multiple users to read and send mail from a common account, such as a company’s main contact email address, with recipients seeing emails being sent from this address. You can even share your folders containing your calendars, mailboxes, contacts and tasks, setting permissions so that specific individuals can take action such as responding to emails on your behalf when you are away.

Microsoft 365 also allows you to access your tasks, calendars and shared contacts from any device, so an employee on the move can update their records at any time from a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. If they enter an appointment on one device, they can view it on another. And if one device dies, it won’t affect the data on the server and you can just connect another device to access your email, appointments, etc.

Unlike POP or IMAP, which have few security features, Microsoft 365 applies encryption for internal email by default and has anti-spam and anti-malware protection built-in to help protect your network and data. It also offers greater capacity for each mailbox with 50GB as standard, so you are less likely to run out of space if you send and receive large attachments. You can also choose to limit how much data you sync by restricting time period to sync, say, to the last 12 months. This reduces the size of local archives on devices, which makes better use of their storage and also optimizes performance by freeing them up from gigabytes of old data. Neither POP nor IMAP offer this.

If you want to take advantage of these features to improve productivity in your business, Shaw Computer Systems Inc. can advise on how to switch from POP or IMAP protocols so you start making use of the best email services available.