Managing e-mail for maximum uptime

Notes.com also screens for large messages and attachments that could tie up mail servers, especially when the attachments are addressed to a large number of employees. Warning messages pop up on users' screens and the operations department is notified. "We have put size warning messages on messages that exceed 200K [and] attachments greater than 500K," says Mandelbaum. "We have [also] created a monthly summary that gets sent to the owners of large mail files, giving them links to large and old messages and statistics about their mail files."

"The Notes.com tool has caught many people trying to send very large jobs," Boatright says, including one user who tried to send a 500KB file containing a logo to 65,000 people.

Attachments greater than 5MB are completely blocked. "It notifies the person who sent it that it's being held for review," says Doug Conway, a Prudential project manager. Further management is provided by what Mandelbaum calls an attachment warehouse: 10 4GB databases spread out over several servers programmed to purge the files after 14 days. IntelliWatch Pinnacle software from Candle is the company's monitoring tool, providing alerts when disk space runs low or messages aren't getting through.

Internet mail presents unique problems in content and traffic management. Approximately 30,000 outbound and 40,000 inbound messages flow through the company daily, according to Conway. Prudential employs several commercial "spam blockers" to fend off unsolicited mail but won't identify the software for security reasons.

McAfee Anti-Virus from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Network Associates Inc. provides virus protection. Alerts are sent via Notes mail, and the company's support staff is notified when the software tries to remove a virus from an employee's PC.

Like many companies, Prudential also employs policies and procedures to manage e-mail. Employees are sent twice-yearly reminders about inappropriate personal use of Notes, though the policy is now being reviewed, says Mandelbaum.

The chief benefit of the company's e-mail management efforts, Mandelbaum says, is "99.99% uptime. Without some of these things, I think we would have chaos, to say the least. These tools have been invaluable in keeping our environment healthy."

This story, "Managing e-mail for maximum uptime" was originally published by Computerworld.

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