Posts by "Ilmars"

Email spotlight series- #2 Skiff

Key features

  • End-to-end encrypted email, pages and drive
  • Sync across all your devices
  • Open source
  • 10GB storage with free plan
  • Web3 support

The ShuttleCloud Spotlight series focuses on highlighting email providers who are working to improve their user experience through innovation. For our second spotlight, we interviewed Jason Ginsberg, Co-Founder and CTO at Skiff.

1- What is Skiff’s mission as an email provider?

Skiff is designed to be privacy-first, completely end-to-end encrypted, and easy to use. While past privacy and security products have required a deep technical understanding, Skiff is designed to easily fill critical needs for communication and collaboration.

2- When and where was Skiff founded?

Skiff was founded April 1st, 2020. We started completely remote. We now have employees all over the world and an office in San Francisco.

3- When was the first email sent from Skiff?

Internally it was sent in December 2021. Publicly, it was sent May 1st 2022.

4- What is one unique thing about Skiff?

We’ve built our platform to be end-to-end encrypted (E2EE), so you never have to share your personal information, sensitive data, or private keys with Skiff. This works by moving a significant portion of functionality (e.g. search, collaborative editing, preview generation) to the client (i.e. browser). Users then use their (cryptographic) identity to encrypt all data before sending it to the server. At all times, only the user and their chosen collaborators can access the content of their data.

5- What’s next for Skiff?

We’re about to release a new product vertical (not yet announced) to our existing suite of Drive, Pages, and Mail. It will make it significantly easier to move to Skiff from traditional email providers. We’re also introducing improvements to our recently released custom domains offering.

 

Be sure to follow Skiff to keep up with their innovations in the email and privacy space! And stay tuned for our next email spotlight series to discover more services who are innovating in the email world. 

Email spotlight series- #1 Tutanota

Key Features:

  • Secure Email with No Ads
  • Everything is encrypted
  • Fully anonymus Email
  • Perfect for businesses
  • Encrypted Calendar

Our new ShuttleCloud Spotlight series aims to bring attention to email providers who are innovating and striving to improve their user experience. In our first spotlight we spoke to Hanna Bozakov, the Press Officer of Tutanota.

1. How would you describe the mission of Tutanota as an email provider?

Tutanota was founded in 2011 with a very clear mission: Bring privacy to the world.

Every step we take as a company must stand up to this criterion: Are we protecting the privacy of our users? In the short run, this makes building a successful product more complex as we can’t take any short-cuts. The privacy and security of our users is paramount. This has led to tough development decisions such as building our own push notification system on Android instead of simply using Google Push.

In the long run, though, this strategy pays off. We are well respected as the best secure email service that focuses on privacy 100%, comes with zero tracking, and encrypts the most data. For example, Tutanota also encrypts subject lines and calendar event reminders – this high level of security is unrivaled by any of our competitors.

    2. When and where was Tutanota founded? 

The company behind Tutanota, the Tutao GmbH, was founded in 2011 in Hanover, Germany. We launched Tutanota early in 2014, shortly after the Snowden leaks. This was a big scandal at the time: The NSA snooping on US citizens. The interest in a more private and secure communication than mainstream services like Gmail or Outlook was – and still is – very high.

    3. When was the first email sent from Tutanota? 

The first email from one of our users was sent on our official release on March 24th, 2014. But of course, we did send emails with an alpha prototype much earlier than that. Encrypted email needs to be tested and verified before it can go public. You can’t build such a complex client as Tutanota in a matter of weeks.

    4. What is one unique thing about Tutanota?

What is unique about Tutanota is its unrivaled level of security.

From the start, we at Tutanota baked end-to-end encryption into the code. Tutanota was the world’s first end-to-end encrypted email provider and, to this day, it is the email service that encrypts more data than any other.

Here’s everything that Tutanota encrypts:

    • Emails, including subject lines and attachments

    • Calendar entries, even metadata such as who is attending

    • Entire address book, not just parts of the contacts

Basically, all data in Tutanota is secure and kept hidden from prying eyes. The only data that is not encrypted is when you send a normal email, one without end-to-end encryption, to another email provider. But in that case, it is obvious that the data can not be end-to-end encrypted and people aware of the need for privacy would not send a sensitive email unencrypted.

 5. What’s next for Tutanota?

We’ve just released offline support, which was a huge step, particularly as Tutanota does not support IMAP so you can’t download your emails into a local mail client. The reason for this, again, is security: If we allowed IMAP, then the data would not be encrypted locally on your device. But as we at Tutanota promise security, we must make sure that the data is always secured – no matter where the user stores it.

Offline support fixes this: Now users can store their emails, calendars, and contacts locally on their devices in the Tutanota clients, and all data there is still encrypted.

The next big feature that we want to release is post-quantum secure encryption. This way, we will make sure that all data in Tutanota stays secure even if quantum computers – that will be able to break currently used encryption – become a reality.

Tutanota has made absolutely no compromises in their approach to security—something we have huge respect for here at ShuttleCloud. Join us next time on ShuttleCloud Spotlights to learn more about the innovators of the email world!

Why does email migration matter? Part 2.

A while ago, I wrote a blog post with tips for hosting and domain providers, where I also spoke about the importance of email migration for SMB’s (you can read it here), but what about your average Joe (i.e me). Why does email migration matter to them?

 Let’s look at some features that are empowered by email migration from the get-go:

  • Autocomplete – You know that magical moment when you start typing someone’s initials and the interface automatically suggests the correct email address? For this to work, you will need your contacts and emails from your previous provider.
  • Search – Do you remember the IMEI number of the phone you bought a few years ago and lost yesterday? I don’t. A simple search will allow me to find a pdf receipt that I can use for my insurance claim.

Value of sentiment

Nowadays, we all have smartphones, and most of our photos are backed up on computers or in some kind of cloud storage, but what about a time before smartphones were a thing? 

I have a friend who had a professional camera, and many years ago, took a picture of our group when we were hitchhiking somewhere in Estonia.

How did my friend share this photo with me? That’s right – by using email. Most of us didn’t think about long term use when we created our first email accounts. (I don’t use that email anymore because my handle was something ridiculous)

I have a thousand photos from the past in my emails. Despite closing that email account, I still have access to content because I was able to migrate my email into the account I use now. 

Continuing on the same subject…  How many SMS have you saved from the past? I have saved precisely 0. I also have changed numerous phones and numbers

My grandma passed away a few years ago. She had just turned 81, still working out of passion. She didn’t have a smartphone but was an avid email user, and her last email to me was congratulating me on my birthday. 

(Email is in Latvian ? )

I don’t think I have to explain how important this email is to me. I was able to import this email into my current Gmail account using the ShuttleCloud migration tool, long before I was working here.

Conclusion: 

The benefits of email migration go far beyond saving support time or improving the onboarding experience for business and public email users. However, it’s up to your email provider to choose to provide an easy way to import emails from your previous provider. Changing email providers doesn’t mean losing your valuable history.

Tips for hosting and domain providers to improve email user experience

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the virtual edition of Cloudfest and ended up watching the Verisign presentation “Understanding Cloud growth using domain names” presented by Andy Simpson. 

One particular slide caught my attention, where Andy talked about how an initial domain purchase for email use can lead to the attachment of hosting packages and associated products.

Let’s not forget that despite customers purchasing a domain from your company, they can choose to purchase an email solution from someone else, which is why I’d like to talk about actions that companies can take to proactively improve email user experience, so they don’t lose their customers.

black iphone 5 on white surface

1. Offer choice 

Creating your own email app is relatively easy but creating and maintaining a great app that consumers will be happy with is challenging. There are plenty of companies out there entirely focused on providing a great email experience and ready to partner with service providers.

We can separate email buyers into two categories:

  • Simple Solution:  The user might use the software for business purposes, or they might not. The solution needs to be affordable and easy to use and doesn’t require additional features. Providers such as Atmail, Zimbra, Rackspace, Axigen or Titan mail are great at this.
  • Productivity suites: These go beyond just email. Additional features or collaboration tools are the keys here. These tend to be the one-stop shop to run your business on the cloud, including document editors and video chat software. Best examples would include Zoho, Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Open-Xchange, etc.

2. Adding email migration

Why does migration matter? More than 75% of business email customers are what we call very-small-business with 1-10 seats. VSBs typically do not have IT admin and are almost always migrating from consumer emails such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook. 

By allowing the end-user to have all their email from the start, in their new inbox, they can concentrate on what matters: Running their business. 

Ideally, there should be migration available for two use cases:

  • Consumer email to business email 
  • B2B email migration – some users will start with a more affordable option before they scale to a size where they can benefit from productivity suites.

At ShuttleCloud we help various partners including Gmail and Comcast with user-friendly email migration solutions. Here is how hosting company One.com utilises our migration solution: video

CONCLUSION

Offering email products alongside the purchases of domain names is clearly a no-brainer. However, to successfully address customers’ needs and to up-sell additional products requires a focus on customer experience.

Keeping your email safe

Most of the software we use is cloud-based, most importantly, email! I have 5 email accounts, and each one of them has a very specific purpose. Some of my email accounts contain sensitive information, so how can we keep email safe? 

According to a survey published by CIGI-IPSOS (Internet security and trust), email users take the following safeguards in regards to email security:

Most internet users proactively take actions to safeguard their email accounts by changing their passwords regularly and avoiding opening emails from the unknown sources

Some other things you can do to protect your email are:

  • Enable 2FA – which means an additional step of verification when accessing your email from a new location or device (can be done via SMS, USB-key or application on your mobile device)
  • Avoid phishing attacks – Most email users are aware of 3 golden rules, which are:
    • Always be on the lookout for an unofficial or misspelt email address; delete these emails immediately  
    • Never download any attachments or click on links from somebody you do not know
    • Never send your login credentials over email. Not one service ever will ask you to send this type of information over email.
  • Secure your devices – Having your devices protected by a password is not always enough. For additional security, I recommend turning on the lock screen automatically and setting a timer to <5 minutes for a computer and <1 minute for your mobile devices
  • Use a strong and unique password for each account – The most significant mistake anyone can make is to use easy-to-guess passwords such as “Qwerty123”, “favouritefooballteam,” “yourname1”. A good password has to include both capital and lower-case letters, numbers and special symbols
    • Password managers can be beneficial to generate and store complicated passwords. 

Keep calm and stay protected! 🙂

Google Contacts API is retiring

Hello,

This is a quick reminder to developers utilizing the Google Contacts API (v3). It has been deprecated and will officially retire on June 15. The People API will be its replacement.

black laptop computer

In fact, the People API has been around for a while, created to merge user data from various Google products, including G contacts & users, Google+ (RIP), and Gmail. 


The API is built on HTTP and JSON (so that any standard HTTP client can send requests) instead of the older GData protocol. It was created to improve the user experience and the ability to share data between platforms.