If you are an employee of an organization of any scale and type, you must use email for your daily communication within the organization or with your business stakeholders. Since the Gmail is the most trusted email service these days, we assume that your company uses Gmail in the office. Also, you must have heard from one of your colleagues that the office Gmail account is not so safe. Your managers and company heads can always access your account. They can go through each and every email to keep a check on the official communication.
In today’s post, we will look at the level of privacy in an office Gmail account. Also, many of us don’t realize the breaches in the privacy and use our office Gmail accounts privately. We will talk about how we can cope with the privacy issue.
Your Office Gmail Account- A perfect Example of Work-Life Unbalance
The work regime of today has blurred the lines between office life and personal life. The modes of communication such as email, play an important part in this phenomenon. Gone are the days when official communication was through letters; which were typed using typewriters and their copies were stored in a file in a dusty office cabinet. There wasn’t a concept of the privacy breach in the office communication; because there was rarely a thing of personal interest in those letters.
What happened now is that we have emails; and many people, mostly because of misinformation, use their office Gmail accounts for personal use. What they don’t know is all the official emails are stored in a place that is accessible to the managers and business owners.
Why Companies Track and Store Your Office Gmail Account?
As email is the easiest and most common method of communication, all the legal matters such as contract disputes and lawsuits are settled with the help of official emails. Emails can be presented in the court as evidence in case of any foul play.
Therefore, it is in the interest of companies to monitor, track, and store all the emails of the company. So, if you are using your office Gmail account as your personal email address, we can assure you that all your personal emails have been archived in your company database. So, it is better not to use your office Gmail account for your personal use.
Emails and Privacy
Contrary to our common belief, email is not the safest mode of communication. The ease of email is all good; but, many times, email has been known to cost people their jobs; because they fail to keep the emails safe, forward some important emails to wrong people, or send a very wrong email to the high-ups.
Moreover, the email communication is not encrypted as is the case with modern modes of communication such as WhatsApp. So anybody who gains access to your email either by legal or illegal means can read your emails, or manipulate it according to his will.
Hence, emails, either official or personal, are not so private when it comes to fool-proof security and privacy.
How Can your Office Administrators Access Your Office Gmail Account
Before we discuss the ways in which your office people can access your Gmail account, here is a way to know if your account was accessed by a second person or not.
Check Your Last Account Activity
Gmail keeps a record of your email activity. This includes the devices that you used to log in to your account and the time of login. You can check your last account activity in Gmail by going to the bottom of your inbox and click on the tab that reads ‘Last account activity‘ and then click on details. A table will open up showing the details such as the type of device that was used to log in, type of browser, the location of the device while logging in which is the IP address, and other details such as date and time.
These details are enough to detect any second-person access to your account if you remember the date and time you last logged in, the type of device you used and the browser you used. You must remember one or more of these details.
Now let’s move on to the ways in which your office people can access your office Gmail account.
As most of the office use the G Suite, the Gmail service for businesses, the control of every email address is in the hands of an office email administrator. And he can access your account by changing your account password.
Delegated access is a feature in the Gmail email service that allows multiple accounts to be added in a single email account. This means that you can access one Gmail account with the help of another Gmail account; if it is added as a delegated access account. If the GSuite administrator adds another account as delegated access account with your Gmail, he can get access to all your email by logging into the account.
Customized GSuite Rules
G Suite allows the administrators to customize the email accounts; it gives them complete control over all the incoming and outgoing emails in the GSuite accounts. Administrators can define rules such that all the emails can be stored in a different server. This will save a copy of all the emails in your account in another server. Moreover, your emails can be accessed by the administrator from the vault where all the official emails are stored.
From the ways we mentioned in this post, it is apparent that your office Gmail account is not very private as far as your office managers and GSuite administrators are concerned. It is therefore highly advised that official email addresses should not be used for any kind of personal communication. Moreover, it is better to sit with your office managers and let them know about your privacy concerns. This will help you in knowing the level of monitoring and tracking that is being done over the official emails.