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'New mail' notification options for external SMTP addresses

My company currently forwards e-mails to employees at remote sites. These employees do not have company computers and it has been noted that it is a risk to continue to forward their e-mail messages. We have Outlook Web Access 2000 for them to use. I am searching for a way to send a notification to the remote site address that they have mail and must check their company OWA. I have been unable to find any third-party software to assist in this dilemma. It has to be a server-side rule, since they don't have a client machine.

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I'm going to make some assumptions in answering your question. First, since your requirement states that you need to notify these remote users of new mail messages, and since you're implying that you're already forwarding messages to them, I am assuming these users have personal mail accounts somewhere outside your corporate e-mail system that they're currently using to read their mail. Second, I'm assuming that the risk of forwarding externally is due to company confidentiality.

Unfortunately, there is no third-party application that I am aware of that permits global forwarding of new mail notifications to an external SMTP address. So, based on the assumptions I stated, you're really faced with two options: have remote users get into the habit of checking their e-mail via OWA on a daily/regular basis, or re-evaluate the risk of forwarding e-mail externally and allow forwarding to external personal SMTP addresses per status quo.

If you end up reconsidering option two, you should know that the use of Contacts/Custom Recipients can minimize some of the threat you may be facing by giving you control over who can forward mail externally.

You can disallow mail forwarding to the Internet in Exchange System Manager. Navigate to Global Settings -> Internet Message Formats -> Default -> Properties -> Advanced and uncheck "Allow Automatic Forward" and "Allow Automatic Replies.) Then, add a new Contact/Custom Recipient for every one of your remote users' external private SMTP addresses. By doing these two things, you should substantially limit the risk.

Additionally, make sure staff termination procedures are updated to remove the Contact/Custom Recipient and disable forwarding rules for any employee upon termination.


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This was first published in February 2005

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