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The Email Nazi ? Big Brother?

By ricky at netbilt dot com ·
We use a quarantine server to stop any incoming emails with attachments, for review by our IT staff, mainly for the prevention of viruses (detected and undetected). Our company?s Email Usage Policy states that email should be used for business purposes only, but there has been a silent double-standard created, letting certain personal emails to come through such as pictures of Grandchildren or quick messages from home (in other words, recipient specific content). There is a bit of labor involved in physically going through quarantines throughout the day ? but seems like a sure way to protect the network. I hear of company?s that have nothing protecting what comes in and out of their email server and I wonder how they keep operating. This prompts me to ask several questions:

Is email filtering just not a big deal to some?
Are chain letters considered acceptable usage in your business policies?

Is it just easier to take care of viruses after an outbreak occurs (reactive vs. proactive)?

Is it common practice in the IT world to filter chain letters coming to internal users?

These answers bring me to my primary questions:
Just how close is IT coming to Invasion of Privacy when physically approving or rejecting emails?

To those who use quarantine servers, do you experience the same issues?
If so, do you deal with them in the same way?
If not, how are you ensuring that harmful emails do not enter the network?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts, recommendations, and comments.

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Now your talking...

snip...or if someone wants to send a funny email every so often.

Scenario 1: 2.36MB file of Reebok's new Terry Tate commercial. 1 person sending that file to 5 people intercompany, those 5 people send it to 5 people they know...you see where this is going.

Scenario 2: Irish Rose promises to extend life by 1 year - forward to everyone in your address book! The message is only a few KB's, but what happens when 50% of the company clicks on Reply All from the 1 person that actually did sendthe whole Address List?

Before there are a ton of posts saying, Well you could setup a filter to do this or that, these two examples are more exceptions than the rule. My point here is, stop the madness before it starts.

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I see your point BUT...

by TomSal In reply to Now your talking...

..the examples you state, both of them, are what we classify as "chain emails".

Under NO circumstances do we permit chain emails.

Simple. Done.

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seperation of expectations

by Cactus Pete In reply to The Email Nazi ? Big Brot ...

My company allows through attachments that are commonly used for business practices in general, with some specific rules for particular users [some have ongoing legitimate needs to receive files of types that fall outside the general rules]. Some file types are dropped, but others are quarantined for up to X days - like .doc or .xls. The user must call the help desk to have them released. [That allows for a reduction in abuse - we have a procedure in place that monitors how often people are calling for various reasons.]

This helps to instill the idea that the corporate network, and your corporate email account should be used for corporate business.

For their personal mail, we allow users to use web-based providers - subject to theuse limitations of hotmail, yahoo, etc. We don't support those sites, but we do provide access to them.

When we know a particularly nasty virus is out there, we send out reminders to the users not to download attachments from the web based emailproviders.

And what's more, we scan messages with one product at the gateway, with another built into the server, another on the workstation, and sometimes another one at the file server. The idea is that if a virus is missed by one [just missing it, or the package hasn't updated yet] that another one will catch it.

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Interesting concept

That is a very interesting concept, but what happens when s(he) doesn't know they are getting an email with an attachment? Does the email just timeout in quarantine?

If (s)he does know the email is coming, do you have to search for incomings that are addressed to that specific employee? Is that time consuming?

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notification

by Cactus Pete In reply to Interesting concept

If an attachment is stripped and the message passed on to the end user, we prepend the body with "we've stripped one or more attachments..."
and list the file names.

Generally, we can just ask them for the timestamp on the message and grab the file for them at that point.

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First...

by JackOfAllTech In reply to The Email Nazi ? Big Brot ...

There can be no invasion of privacy under the following conditions:
The software is provided by the company
The hardware is provided by the company
The network is provided by the company
The company pays you for the time you're there
The policyclearly states filtering is used

Ralph

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