Email is short for 'Electronic Mail'.

Electronic mail is a form of communication where mainly text based messages are exchanged by using computers attached to a network.

Email can also include attachments such as a PDF document or an image file.

Within private organisations it is common to have an internal 'email server'. Staff exchange emails using an email client in the usual way, but all local emails remain within the internal network.

The email server will also connect to the internet to allow for external emails to flow back and forth.

The server is likely to have a 'spam filter' to take out the unwanted 'unsolicited email' as it is officially called. An option is for the local server to connect to an external email supplier that provides that spam filtering before forwarding normal external email.

Another popular service that an external email handler provides is to scan emails for virus or trojan infections before being accepted into the internal system.

Emails can also be encrypted to keep commercial information secure. The disadvantage of encryption is that it can be slower to use and can be awkward for people without the right encryption setup to read legitimate emails. Many companies have a policy setting out what should be encrypted as a matter of course.

Some companies have stopped using internal email server altogether and have instead opted to use a 'cloud based' email service. This does offer advantages such as no hardware or maintenace costs for any internal servers. But it does have the disadvantage that if the internet connection fails, staff will be unable to use email for their work.

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