There is a proven theory in the investing world about how one should not put all their eggs in one basket. In a word, diversification. The logic of diversification has been applied to many circles of life, but it is now proving to be good advice in communications, especially email.
Several of the consumer email providers have been trying to service business customers in recent years. Microsoft began with MSN mail, added Hotmail, and now has Live Mail, which accepts subscriptions from individuals as well as micro businesses. Google is another example, where Gmail is offered to both consumers as well as universities and businesses under Google Apps. Having both one’s personal and work email in one account with the same provider might sound like a move that simplifies life, but it exposes additional risks when outages happen.
This is coming to light for users of Gmail today, which is having another unfortunate service outage. (Full Disclosure: We admit we are not perfect either) A tweet message from @eskobarnow hits on this exact point. When your personal email account is unavailable, you can use your work account for important personal emails. Vice versa when your work email is down. However, as @eskobarnow points out, one can be “screwed” when a single outage makes both your work and personal account inaccessible.
These days, the ability to easily import contacts and files from one system to another is rather easy in many cases. Accordingly, the benefits of using the same provider for work and personal email are lessened. Some providers allow two accounts to be viewed in a single inbox view, which is surely more elegant then using forwarding rules to accomplish the same. HOWEVER, what good is it to have all messages from two or more different accounts on the same inbox, when the inbox is not accessible?
Yes, diversification works in the email world just as it does in investments.