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Mail Team Outline1.doc

  1. 1. Mail Team Introduction Surveys Faculty, staff, and students Surveys were conducted to obtain information on patterns of use of e-mail, user satisfaction, and desired features. Results are summarized in the appendix. Departments Department survey results showed a number of units using separate e-mail solutions, usually because they’ve had them for some time and their staff wanted to retain key functional features. Details are included as an appendix. CIOs Survey results from UW-System CIOs showed no clear trend of particular e-mail systems under adoption. Survey results are included in the appendix. Technical overview General environment Main issues Performance and space It is highly unusual for a sizeable organization not to have enforced e-mail quotas. Quota management is essential to the performance of any e-mail system. The overall size of the stored e-mail is not the biggest problem, although at a certain point it will take more than one day to do one day’s worth of backups. The size of individual mailboxes is a bigger problem, affecting the speed with which clients can open mailboxes, the speed of opening individual messages, and the server load on servers full of accounts with big mailboxes. Limiting account size will do more to enhance e-mail system performance than any other step. Quotas would be a substantial change in the practices on this campus, so we need to take multiple approaches to making quota management palatable to busy faculty, staff and students. The needed tools are archiving, attachment management, and spam control.
  2. 2. Archiving Users may need to keep more messages than will fit in a reasonable quota, either because of record retention policies or for other reasons. Creating a simple, manageable means of archiving messages or whole folders is an essential requirement before serious quota enforcement can be undertaken. Essential messages that are not retrieved often can be stored outside the main body of the e-mail system, enhancing performance for everyone and reducing daily backup time. The committee agreed that any archiving process implemented has to be extremely simple to use, both for archiving of messages and for retrieving them. Attachment Management There is potential for the Xythos system to encourage users to share files using that system and reducing dependence on e-mail attachments. Such use should be encouraged and the patterns of use should be evaluated. Decreased use of e-mail attachments can simplify quota management and improve the performance of any e-mail system. We also need a simple way for users to strip off attachments to save in their own networked file space. Many users have expressed the desire to keep important messages but remove the space-consuming attachments. I&MT will be evaluating an extension to the Thunderbird desktop client that allows users to strip attachments off. Spam Spam capture is a source of excess mail volume and, more importantly, wide-spread dissatisfaction. Currently, we’re using a free product and a single staff member is maintaining it along with other duties. In contrast, UW-Madison, where faculty are reported to be happy with spam filtering, is using a commercial product and spending approximately ½ FTE on monitoring incoming spam and adjusting the spam filtering rules dynamically. I&MT should investigate some combination of enhancing the current package, including allowing individual users to implement whitelisting and blacklisting, adding more staff time to its management, and/or switching to a full-service commercial spam filtering package or appliance. Few problems irritate mail users as much as SPAM. A detailed discussion of the Barracuda spam appliance in place at the Schools of Enderis is included in the appendix.
  3. 3. Features Current The need for suite-based products Email has become the primary communication medium for most individuals at UW- Milwaukee. As such, it has evolved into a critical business application with broad requirements for collaboration, security, and privacy. We feel that the campus community is best served with a premier communication and collaboration product suite with tight integration, a robust interface, and a strong feature set. Such products include Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, Novell GroupWise, and others. Requirements for electronic communications have increased past the point of simply sending and receiving electronic mail. Today, faculty, staff, and students are requesting instant messaging in real-time, shared calendaring, and other collaborative tools. These tools will help individuals work smarter together by breaking down information barriers. Security and privacy remain the top priority in a messaging suite. The Email Core Team learned that better email virus blocking and spam filtering are the top two “features” requested by the campus community in last year’s email survey. As the volume of spam increases worldwide, it is critical to implement a solution to alleviate the spam burden and its large associated costs. In addition to virus and spam protection, security and privacy cannot be overlooked. Slowly more research grants will soon be requiring encrypted email communications to enable individuals to send and receive sensitive messages. The campus is also requesting secured and authenticated reflector/listserv communications to control who can and cannot send to email distribution lists. Finally, an email client should have the ability to restrict HTML and remote images from loading in email messages. Besides security and privacy, there are numerous productivity features essential to increasing our return on investment. Some of these productivity features are client layout, advanced search/find capabilities, and other organizational tools. A simpler and easier to read client layout, for example, can help significantly reduce email message printing. Abilities to drag/drop messages into folders, nest folders, and sort messages by size/sender/subject are basic, but key in allowing information organization. Powerful search capabilities dramatically reduce time spent retrieving stored information. All of these are essential to the overall user experience and should be incorporated into an email client. Other features recommended that enhance productivity are: Visual indicators that show message status (read/unread) and whether the messages were acted upon (such as replied to or forwarded) Server-based rules to automate message organization and response behaviors Integrated spell-checking
  4. 4. Ability to setup resource accounts, similar to “group accounts” for shared inboxes Proxy/sharing delegation of calendars, inboxes, etc. to access other accounts On campus message tracking/status and retraction to know when sent messages are read or delete messages sent, but not yet read Messaging suite integration is important as well to productivity. Our enterprise email should be an integrated solution for managing and organizing e-mail messages, schedules, tasks, notes, contacts, and other information. There is significant value from having all information in one place working intelligently together. For instance, email messages can easily be converted into task items “to do” or into future calendar items. Incoming messages can be automatically harvested putting senders’ addresses into a personal frequent contacts type of address book. System reminder notifications can assist with remembering appointments and other time-sensitive information. Accessibility, like integration, is another essential part of end-user interaction with an email client. The campus email suite should have a wide range of messaging standards such as MAPI, SMTP, POP, IMAP, and XHTML/WAP for accessing a central message store not only from diverse email clients, but from a common web interface and a growing number of wireless PDA products. This will give our diverse UWM community a higher level of accessibility and help to achieve the goal of accessing information anytime from anywhere. UW-Milwaukee needs a full-featured premier communication and collaboration product suite for electronic mail, instant messaging, group calendaring, contact management, and other collaborative applications. This should be in the form of a single, unified access point to the tools, tasks, and the people users work with. This suite-based product will increase the value of this critical system and reduce the associated total cost of ownership through end-user productivity enhancements, built-in higher security/privacy, and a strong collaborative feature set. Next steps Interim Client recommendations In order to maximize the efficiency of the Help Desk support and the depth of support they provide, the team recommends supporting a limited number of e-mail desktop clients: Outlook, Netscape Mail, Thunderbird, and Mozilla (the last three are nearly identical). While users are welcome to use other IMAP-compliant clients, the Help Desk should only be expected to develop expertise in the few clients listed above. This will make it possible for them to develop better user guides and other information than if they are expected to support a dozen or more e-mail clients.
  5. 5. Spam appliance Mailman listserv software PantherMail features Suite-based system procurement General cost considerations Other issues Campuswide records retention training It became clear in our discussion with Risk Management that the problem of records retention extends well beyond the realm of e-mail and we strongly recommend the campus embark on a training and information program for faculty and staff so that employees know what they must keep, what they may discard, and what they SHOULD discard. This important responsibility devolves ultimately on the individual employees and applies to e-mail, electronic records, and paper files Password security Paul Rediske visited the group and discussed the password security concerns related to the new APBS system, which will use the same LDAP authentication used by e-mail. Because of APBS security concerns, very secure passwords are being considered, to include mixed capital and lower case letters, numbers, changing passwords regularly, never reusing old passwords. The e-mail team worries that having too many requirements for secure passwords will lead to many users simply writing down their passwords, often in insecure places. The team recommends careful consideration of user behavior before changes are implemented. Appendices Surveys Students, Faculty and Staff Survey of Current Email System Users The Email Core Team surveyed two groups of users of the current campus email system – students and faculty/staff. Two separate questionnaires were used, one for student users, and the other for faculty/staff. The questionnaires were posted on the UW- Milwaukee web and potential respondents were solicited through the online UW- Milwaukee e-announce and the campus newspapers. Fifty students and 367 faculty/staff completed their respective questionnaires. The survey was designed to find out to what extent the current UW-Milwaukee email system meets the needs of the users; what features were considered important by users.
  6. 6. Besides trying to gauge the use of the current email system, the questionnaires were designed to shed some light on the following question categories: • How well is the current UW-Milwaukee system serving the needs of the users? • What are the strengths and/or weaknesses of the current UW-Milwaukee email system? • What features of the current system are more (or less) desirable to users? • What improvements (if any) of the current system would users like to see? Student Users: The survey results reveal that students largely use the email system for reading and sending regular email. Of the 60 student respondents, 85 percent depend on and use the campus email system regularly. About 28.3 percent of these students forward their email to other email addresses. About 12 percent of student respondents do not use the campus email system. Students were asked if they send and/or receive email to/from reflectors. Most of the student respondents or 85 percent answered that they sent and received email to reflectors. About 30 percent of the students said they had set up or own reflectors. Panther Mail seem to be the email client of choice for student users. More than 83 percent of the student respondents said they used Panther Mail to read and compose email. More than half the students (60 percent) of students surveyed said they also use other email client software to read email. Student respondents revealed that while the ability to send attachments was very important to them, such features like downloading email to personal digital assistants (PDA) were not important. Almost all the respondents said that the latter feature was not important, while 86.7 percent thought that ability to send attachments was very important. About one-third (33.3 percent) of student respondents said they have exceeded their email quotas in the past. Students were asked a couple of questions about Spam filtering. Of those who responded to the questions, 51.7 percent were not aware that Spam filtering was available on campus, while 40 percent said they had actually signed up for it. Faculty/Staff Users: Most of the faculty/staff respondents handle more than 25 email messages every workday. Out of the 367 respondents, 41.1 percent handle more than 50 email messages daily; 34.9 percent handle 26 to 50 email messages daily; and 24 percent handle 25 or less every workday. Faculty and staff were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the current campus email system. The results are displayed below (see Chart 1). Chart 1
  7. 7. Users Overall Satisfaction 60.0 50.0 Percent of Respondents 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 Do Not Use Troublesome Needs Satisfactory Great Improvement Responses Current Email Users PantherMail Users Respondents were asked how important certain email features were to them (from auto- fill, spell-check, encryption, to automatic forwarding, new mail notification, among many other features). Their responses reveal that the five most important features to users were consistently: 1. Virus scans of email attachments. 2. Easily view email attachments. 3. Spam detection and separation. 4. Sort by sender/subject/date. 5. Ability to spell-check. A summary of some of these responses are presented in three tables below. Table 1 depicts the responses of those who use Panther Mail. The responses shown on Table 1 are ranked for those users who were satisfied with Panther Mail. It should be pointed out that for users who were not satisfied with Panther Mail, those features emerge also as the five most important (see Table 1). Table 1 Ranking of Email Features – Panther Mail Users
  8. 8. In Table 2, responses of users of the current campus email system are reported. The responses of those who were satisfied with the current system are compared to those of users who were not satisfied. The features on this table are ranked by the responses of those users who found the current system satisfactory. The top five features coincide with Not Satisfied With PantherMail Satisfied With PantherMail Not Important - Important - Not Important - Important - Very Email System Features Desireable Very Important Desireable Important Virus scan of email attachments 10.3% 89.7% 4.6% 95.4% Easily view attachments 10.9% 89.1% 4.6% 95.4% Spam detection and separation 21.6% 78.4% 11.0% 89.0% Sort by sender/subject/date 17.6% 82.4% 14.3% 85.7% Ability to spell-check 21.3% 78.7% 23.3% 76.7% New email notification 32.1% 67.9% 28.9% 71.1% Automated reply feature 40.4% 59.6% 29.3% 70.7% Powerful search feature 31.1% 68.9% 29.6% 70.4% Auto fill from address book 33.6% 66.4% 30.6% 69.4% Ability to save drafts 35.0% 65.0% 30.7% 69.3% Nested folders option 37.0% 63.0% 30.7% 69.3% Address book with UWM white pages info 37.2% 62.8% 32.6% 67.4% Deleted email recovery 44.9% 55.1% 32.6% 67.4% Server-side email filter with rules 39.6% 60.4% 45.1% 54.9% Automatic archiving feature 51.8% 48.2% 48.1% 51.9% Automatic forwarding feature 55.6% 44.4% 53.7% 46.3% Email and Calendar integration 53.6% 46.4% 56.8% 43.2% Ability to send messages from applications 64.0% 36.0% 57.7% 42.3% Encryption 67.4% 32.6% 60.5% 39.5% Notification that recipient has read email 61.2% 38.8% 62.6% 37.4% Synchronize address book with "hand held’s" 65.7% 34.3% 63.1% 36.9% Templates for replying email 73.7% 26.3% 65.1% 34.9% Merge email from multiple accounts 64.7% 35.3% 65.3% 34.7% Ability to share email folders 76.8% 23.2% 83.0% 17.0% Provide access to mailbox 84.1% 15.9% 91.1% 8.9% those observed in Table 1; although not in the same order (see Table 2). Table 2 Ranking of Email Features -- Current Email System Users
  9. 9. Table 3 is ranked by the responses of users who handle more than 25 email messages per workday. Table 3 Users With 1-25 Messages Per Users With More Than 25 Workday Messages Per Workday Not Important - Important - Not Important - Important - Very Email System Features Desirable Very Important Desirable Important Virus scan of email attachments 7.0% 93.0% Not Satisfied With Current 6.7% 93.3% Satisfied With Current Campus Easily view attachments Campus Email 94.6% 5.8% 7.4%Email 92.6% Not Important - Important - Not Important - Important - Very Email detection and separation Spam System Features Desirable 18.4% Very Important 81.6% Desirable 14.3% Important 85.7% Virus scan of email attachments Sort by sender/subject/date 2.6% 17.4% 97.4% 82.6% 7.3% 14.9% 92.7% 85.1% Easily view attachments 5.0% 95.0% 7.3% 92.7% Ability to spell-check 20.9% 79.1% 22.9% 77.1% Sort by sender/subject/date 17.9% 82.1% 15.2% 84.8% Powerful search feature 39.3% 60.7% 27.1% 72.9% Spam detection and separation 12.5% 87.5% 15.7% 84.3% Auto fill from address book 45.9% 54.1% 27.3% 72.7% Ability to spell-check 17.5% 82.5% 23.1% 76.9% Nested folders option 44.6% 55.4% 29.8% 70.2% Powerful search feature 24.3% 75.7% 30.5% 69.5% New email notification 30.2% 69.8% 30.2% 69.8% New email notification 17.9% 82.1% 31.8% 68.2% Automated reply feature Auto fill from address book 40.2% 32.5% 59.8% 67.5% 31.5% 31.8% 68.5% 68.2% Ability to save drafts 28.2% 38.5% 71.8% 61.5% 34.2% 31.8% 65.8% 68.2% Address book with UWM white pages info 53.8% 32.6% 46.2% 67.4% 32.2% 35.0% 67.8% 65.0% Automated reply feature Deleted email recovery 27.5% 44.2% 72.5% 55.8% 34.2% 35.3% 65.8% 64.7% Nested folders option 20.0% 80.0% 35.0% 65.0% Server-side email filter with rules 52.4% 47.6% 40.1% 59.9% Deleted email recovery 32.5% 67.5% 38.1% 61.9% Automatic archiving feature 57.8% 42.2% 46.7% 53.3% Server-side email filter with rules 26.3% 73.7% 44.9% 55.1% Automatic forwarding feature 57.0% 43.0% 53.5% 46.5% Automatic archiving feature 60.0% 40.0% 48.1% 51.9% Email and Calendar integration 60.9% 39.1% 54.2% 45.8% Automatic forwarding feature 47.5% 52.5% 55.1% 44.9% Synchronize address book with "hand held’s" 74.7% 25.3% 60.9% 39.1% Email and Calendar integration 56.4% 43.6% 55.6% 44.4% Ability to send messages from applications 51.1% 65.8% 48.9% 34.2% 62.9% 59.5% 37.1% 40.5% Notification that recipient has read email Notification that recipient has read email 67.5% 59.1% 32.5% 40.9% 61.8% 63.3% 38.2% 36.7% Encryption 63.2% 36.8% 62.9% 37.1% Encryption 58.3% 41.7% 64.5% 35.5% Synchronize address book with "hand held’s" 62.5% 37.5% 64.4% 35.6% Merge email from multiple accounts 64.4% 35.6% 65.2% 34.8% Merge email from multiple accounts 62.5% 37.5% 65.2% 34.8% Templates for replying email 58.8% 41.2% 71.7% 28.3% Templates for replying email 87.2% 12.8% 66.2% 33.8% Ability to share email folders 79.5% 20.5% 80.7% 19.3% Ability to share email folders 76.9% 23.1% 80.8% 19.2% Provide access to mailbox 88.6% 82.1% 11.4% 17.9% 88.4% 89.2% 11.6% 10.8% Ranking of Email Features – Users Compared By Email Volume
  10. 10. The top five important features are the same for users who send/receive 1 to 25 emails each workday and those that send/receive more than 25 (see Table 3). Other features that were considered very important by users include, powerful search, auto-fill from address book, new email notification, ability to save drafts, and automated reply (see Tables 1, 2, and 3 above). Users With 1-25 Messages Per Users With More Than 25 Workday Messages Per Workday Not Important - Important - Not Important - Important - Very Email System Features Desirable Very Important Desirable Important Virus scan of email attachments 7.0% 93.0% 6.7% 93.3% Easily view attachments 5.8% 94.6% 7.4% 92.6% Spam detection and separation 18.4% 81.6% 14.3% 85.7% Sort by sender/subject/date 17.4% 82.6% 14.9% 85.1% Ability to spell-check 20.9% 79.1% 22.9% 77.1% Powerful search feature 39.3% 60.7% 27.1% 72.9% Auto fill from address book 45.9% 54.1% 27.3% 72.7% Nested folders option 44.6% 55.4% 29.8% 70.2% New email notification 30.2% 69.8% 30.2% 69.8% Automated reply feature 40.2% 59.8% 31.5% 68.5% Ability to save drafts 28.2% 71.8% 34.2% 65.8% Address book with UWM white pages info 32.6% 67.4% 35.0% 65.0% Deleted email recovery 44.2% 55.8% 35.3% 64.7% Server-side email filter with rules 52.4% 47.6% 40.1% 59.9% Automatic archiving feature 57.8% 42.2% 46.7% 53.3% Automatic forwarding feature 57.0% 43.0% 53.5% 46.5% Email and Calendar integration 60.9% 39.1% 54.2% 45.8% Synchronize address book with "hand held’s" 74.7% 25.3% 60.9% 39.1% Ability to send messages from applications 51.1% 48.9% 62.9% 37.1% Notification that recipient has read email 59.1% 40.9% 63.3% 36.7% Encryption 58.3% 41.7% 64.5% 35.5% Merge email from multiple accounts 64.4% 35.6% 65.2% 34.8% Templates for replying email 58.8% 41.2% 71.7% 28.3% Ability to share email folders 79.5% 20.5% 80.7% 19.3% Provide access to mailbox 88.6% 11.4% 88.4% 11.6%
  11. 11. Student survey details Staff survey details Department survey details CIO survey summary Spam Appliances The amount of spam has been increasing dramatically over the last few years. It is estimated that nearly 80% of all email messages are spam messages. The Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society (SIQQS) study found that dealing with spam accounts for five minutes of every hour spent online. On a yearly basis, this amounts to 10 eight-hour workdays sifting through nearly 8,000 unwanted emails costing, on average, $2,000 per employee per year. UW-Milwaukee activated a product called SpamAssassin in May, 2003 that worked well at the time. However, because SpamAssassin is a popular open-source product, many spammers began uniquely crafting their spam messages over time to defeat SpamAssassin. Within a year or so, a good number of individuals subscribing to the campus SpamAssassin service began lowering their personal SpamAssassin filters hoping to increase SPAM detection effectiveness. As an unwanted side-effect, the campus SpamAssassin filters would then trap legitimate messages causing more larger email problems. UWM currently needs an intelligent, comprehensive solution to combat spam. One such solution might be a spam firewall appliance with a subscription-based service. The School of Education and College of Health Sciences have joined together to acquire a Barracuda Spam Firewall from Barracuda Networks, Inc. Between January 7 and January 21, 2005, the Schools of Enderis Hall Technology Services (SOETS) has received 222,000 email messages. 166,000 (75%) of those messages were spam and 1,300 of those messages contained a virus. During the small time when both the campus spam system and the Barracuda were working together, SOETS found that roughly 60% of incomming spam messages made it through the campus spam SpamAssassin filters. The Schools of Enderis Hall Technology Services (SOETS) was successful with two other anti-spam policy configurations that differ from the initial campus SpamAssassin implementation. The first was an opt-out philosophy where the Barracuda Spam Firewall
  12. 12. was activated for all their GroupWise email receipients. After initial activation, anyone could choose not to have their email account scanned for spam. The second policy change recommended is the ability to block confirmed spam messages. The SOETS Barracuda SPAM Firewall can both block as well as quarantine spam messages while the campus system will only quarantine spam messages. By adding this ability to block confirmed spam messages, we reduce the amount of quarantined spam that needs "human" personal review. In essesce, it does not save time by moving all spam from the inbox to a spam folder. Confirmed spam messages that are blocked are simply deleted automatically. SOETS has received very positive feedback from their 350+ faculty/staff on GroupWise using their Barracuda Spam Firewall. We hope and strongly recommend that the campus implement a similar solution to significantly reduce spam at the campus level.