Is Your Recovery Email Address The Spare House Key You Leave With A Friend?
Today I logged into one of my secondary Gmail accounts – I have around 20, not all in use and, yes, I know it is a sickness – to play with a filter and check the spam box and I was given the warning you get every now and again from Google to ensure that the information for password recovery of your Google Account is current. Google warns you as you can see in the picture above “Don’t wait until it’s too late.” Once they have your attention they go on to tell you that, “[u]sers without recovery options are 9 times more likely to lose access to their accounts. Protect your account by making sure your password recovery options are up-to-date.” Sounds like it something we should all make sure we are up to date on, right?
Below that line we get the option of changing/setting the phone number that our Google Account is associated with for the purpose of recovering our passwords via SMS (which is another name for a text message and stands for “Short Message Service”). Below that is the line that got me thinking tonight and is the root cause of the little tip I have for you. It also gave rise to the comment on 21st Century culture and society which I have been considering since I thought of this – don’t ask how my brain works and why it goes in the directions it does…it just does and I have long learned to stop trying to reign it in and enjoy the rides it takes me on.
“Recovery email address.” That is pretty important and I would hazard a guess that it is more likely than our phone numbers to change. Why do I say this? Well, think about it, a lot of people my age and younger use their Gmail as their primary email account for their personal lives. A work email address is somewhat of a temporary thing with the frequency we change jobs these days. In fact, the email address I had listed in that line was my old York University student email address. I haven’t used that email address in forever and I know that York switched my email to some alumni email address which I never use either so the idea that this was my recovery email address was somewhat perturbing to say the least. I switched the email address to my main Gmail address but still felt it wasn’t the best choice I could have made for my own security. But what could I do? As I said, this wasn’t something I particularly wanted to think about – or ever have to think about – again. If I made it a work email that would be just one more thing I would have to think of when/if I changed jobs.
It was then that it dawned on me, the recovery email address was very much akin to a spare house key in this day and age.
Think about it, we give our spare house keys to our family members or good friends who live nearby or if we don’t have either of those, a neighbor who we trust. We will even often trade keys with those same people because you never know what kind of emergency situation can arise and it is always good to have that spare key handy. Sure, we can go out and buy one of those fake rocks or set up some sort of elaborate hiding place but it is just way, way easier to trust someone else with a copy of our key for emergency situations.
Once I realized this I went back into the “Google Accounts – Recovering your password” settings page and made the recovery email address one of my best friend’s email addresses (I, of course, consulted with him before doing this).
I am now secure in knowing that my friend always has my back and is my backup for my email password recovery. Further, if anything ever happened to me – a boy scout is always prepared – he can easily access my email if the need arises. Oh, and one very important thing – I trust him completely.
What do you think? Good idea? Is my comparison accurate?
Key clip art image taken from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=key&ex=1#ai:MC900054950|