Software

Add disclaimers to all outgoing Exchange mail

Here are your options for adding the paragraphs of text at the bottom of e-mail messages threatening legal action if an e-mail message is sent to the wrong person or the information inappropriately shared.

You've seen them -- the paragraphs of text at the bottom of e-mail messages threatening legal action if an e-mail message is sent to the wrong person or the information inappropriately shared. While their effectiveness is somewhat debatable, many organizations prefer to err on the side of caution and include such a paragraph on all outgoing mail.

Out of the box, Exchange doesn’t provide you with a quick and easy way to accomplish this goal. Instead, you have to rely on either scripting your own solution or on a third-party piece of software. The scripting solution is fairly easy (although it has one deadly flaw I will explain), but third party products are fairly inexpensive, and sometimes even free.

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Microsoft knowledge base articles 317680 and 317327 provide you with VB script and Visual Basic code to accomplish this goal. The deadly dilemma: This solutions works only for SMTP connections to your Exchange server. Unfortunately, Outlook doesn’t use SMTP to communicate with Exchange servers. Instead, Outlook uses MAPI, meaning that the code you write and attach to your server won’t work for Outlook clients. Sure, you can use clients other than Outlook with Exchange, but ditching Outlook to make this work would be somewhat short-sighted.

So, you’re left with looking at third party products, and there are a few to choose from. Here’s a look at four popular tools:

  • GFI Mail Essentials freeware edition: If you need just a single, common disclaimer for all senders from your company, this free software is a good option. The only limit is that you can’t customize the footer based on different users or groups. For that, you need the licensed version.
  • eXclaimer for Microsoft Exchange: eXclaimer for Microsoft Exchange is very reasonably priced and provides a number of features, including the ability to add disclaimers and signatures to all outgoing email. All disclaimer and signature information can be customized based on a wide variety of factors.
  • DisclaimIt 2.6: Another product that provides much of the same functionality, DisclaimIt provides you with an MMC-based console that looks and feels a whole lot like the ESM.
  • Red Earth Policy Patrol Disclaimers: Red Earth provides a number of tools for managing Exchange servers, including Policy Patrol Disclaimers.
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