Hotmail Changing to Outlook and Adding Social Networking
Hotmail may be the most successful email service in the world, but Microsoft feels it can do better. So, Microsoft has decided to start a process that will change all of these email accounts to Outlook accounts. The process will start with people voluntarily trying the new email over the next few months. At some point, everyone will be switched over.
The Big Switch
According to CNN, Chris Jones, head of Microsoft's Windows Live division said, "We thought it was time to push the boundaries of email. We created a new mail service for a modern user experience." Some of the features Microsoft is adding for the modern user include direct access to social networking sites, as well as integrating Skype—a newly acquired Microsoft company. Microsoft is also promoting a more user-friendly experience through the reduction of header space by 60 percent and pushing ads out of the way.
For midsize IT professionals, the new email will likely bring some questions for users with business accounts. With improved social networking features, businesses that block certain social networks may run into problems with email services that incorporate social networking. However, for businesses that use social networking effectively and to their advantage, having employees use the new Outlook might be beneficial. As with any major change, IT professionals will need to evaluate the new email service and decide how the new features hurt or help the businesses they work with.
The Outlook on Security
Security within the new email service was not discussed. Some IT professionals set up secure business email accounts and shy away from free providers like Hotmail and Gmail. However, as Google Docs (which will now become Google Drive) gained popularity a few years ago, more and more people started using the free email service for business. It is possible that Microsoft will now offer features that are appealing for businesses as well. One of which may be the new email's adaptability to smartphones and tablets.
IT professionals will need to work hard to create policies that encourage company data to remains secure, accessed by only approved devices and programs. With technology evolving so quickly, most IT professionals have found updating company policies to be a weekly part of their job. Years ago, a policy was written and lasted for years, maybe even decades. Now, policies must be adjusted as technology evolves, and the new Microsoft email service is one of those evolutions that will need to be evaluated by IT professionals and midsize business owners to determine if using the service for business causes a need for changes in policies.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.