As more and more people bring and use their own laptops, smartphone and tablet in office, the notion that company data is only on company computers and you can’t work without accessing them is slowly being eliminated. This of course vastly improve the productivity of the employees, however if the technology used by the company is outdated, whatever productivity gained is instead lost. At the same time, the increased mobility gained also open a can of worms – how do you ensure your data is safe and secured, and not accessible by unauthorized people?

We will be having a series that deal with productivity, mobility and security in the area of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), how you can make the full use of BYOD in your company without being bogged down by them.

This week we will examine the 2 common email protocol which is the IMAP, POP3 and how they work to bring you email.

IMAP is short for Internet Message Access Protocol, while POP3 translates to PostOffice Protocol version 3. In other words, both are email protocols. They allow you to read emails locally using a third party application. Examples of such email client applications are Outlook, Thunderbird, Eudora, GNUMail, or (Mac) Mail.

How Do POP & IMAP Compare?

The two protocols are best compared by looking at their most basic workflows. The server mentioned here referred to the email server and not your office server.

POP Workflow:

  • Connect to server
  • Retrieve all mail to your email client
  • Store locally on your device as new mail
  • Delete mail from server*
  • Disconnect

*The default behavior of POP is to delete mail from the server. However, most POP clients also provide an option to leave a copy of downloaded mail on the server.

IMAP Workflow:

  • Connect to server
  • Sync and update your email client with the server’s email
  • Process user edits, e.g. marking email as read, deleting email etc, and update them accordingly in the server.
  • Disconnect

As you can see, the IMAP workflow is a little more complex than POP. Essentially, folder structures and emails are stored on the server and only copies are kept locally. Typically, these local copies are stored temporarily. However, you can also store them permanently.

Now you have a better understanding of the different ways these 2 protocol work, wext week we will see what are their pro and con, followed by what is the most suitable protocol for BYOD environment.


At Blazon Technologies, we specialized in protecting our clients’ network and data, ensuring they can keep running their business even if disaster strikes them. To find out how we can help you with your security and protection, contact us for more information.

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