How to disable mail forwarding to external email address

15 pts.
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Lotus Notes 7.x
LotusScript
Hi. My users are setting up agents to export their mail to external emails. any ideas how to counter this while still allowing them to create "out-of-office" and "archive" agents?

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The easy answer would be to lower their access privileges to “Editor” … that will prevent them from creating any agents – but SHOULD still allow them to use the built-in OOO and archiving features of the R7 mail template. (Granted, Notes gets a bit buggy about that.)

However, two additional (albeit conflicting) thoughts on this:

1. It sounds like you’re trying to prevent users from automating an action that they are still allowed/enabled to do manually. This rarely makes sense. If they’re not allowed to ever forward e-mail messages to their home/personal/external e-mail accounts, then you should be blocking such e-mail activity in other ways. But, if they’re allowed to do it manually, then why do you care that they automate such activity. (It sounds to me like you have employees who are trying to be good employees and still cover their duties even when they’re on vacation.)

2. Any such “mail sending” agents are EXTREMELY dangerous!!! It is very easy for a user to create an “infinite loop” in such situations. For example, if they write an agent that will forward all e-mail they receive and the e-mail account that they forward it to rejects it for any reason (or auto-reponds due to an OOO agent), this will create an infinite loop of the Notes mail DB receiving an incoming message, the agent forwards it externally, the external e-mail account responds, repeat, repeat, repeat. I once saw an agent like this create millions of e-mail messages in a matter of a couple of hours – ate up all available DASD on the server and brought the entire Notes server down!!! I recommend you notify all employees that all “mail sending agents” must be pre-approved by IT!!!

Here is another way that you would want to do to limit the forwarding ability.
You will also want to prevent users from creating rules that forward messages outside of the company. This can be done within the server configuration document. Go to the Router/SMTP tab, then Restrictions and Controls, then to Delivery Controls. Set the value for the field “User rules mail forwarding:” to “Disabled”.

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  • RHS
    Hi RICHMON, thanks for your answer. Our problem started with the new IT-Devil called iphone. Suddenly employees are rushing to move their whole world to the iphone (including corporate emails). We allow employees to use their judgment on what to forward and what not, but you can't equate this to a mass forwarding rule! Anyway, is there any way in Lotus Notes to actually achieve your last sentence in #2 ("all "mail sending agents" must be pre-approved by IT")?
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  • Broxy
    Hi agree with Richmon but would add I disagree about lowering mail access rights to less than Manager, its their mail file and they should be able to do whatever they want other than change the design. The caveat is of course that they must agree that if they break something that its their fault not yours. I would discourage them heavily from ever writing their own agents, this is very dangerous unless you know what you are doing and should never be necessary, if enough people need additional functionality then the IT dept should create it, test it and relaeas it to everybody. It might be a better overall step to give them access to their mail on the web so they could view their emails on the iphone or whatever when out of the office rather than have to forward or auto-forward emails, you would probably only have to replicate the mail files of a relatively small number of users to the external server and this avoids issues of 'I didn't get your email' or the dreaded planet that stores emails that were sent but never received which will inevitably happen with some of the forwarded emails.
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  • Rturnbul
    A bit of an aside ... it is possible, in Lotus Notes / Exchange, to prevent some users from being able to forward their emails, while others are prevented. THis is what we needed in oiur organization and we have employed it successfully. Keep in mind it will require the services of someone knowledgeable in Lotus Designer, but it can be done with minimal effort. Even if you are not a Designer but you know your way around the client, you could just cut and paste the code into the right location. If you need to do this, then email me and I will provide you with what you need. We are now looking at doing this in Exchange, but have not yet found a solution.
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  • aagi1500
    What about programmatically handling the disabling of mail forwarding rules by user? Can RTurnbul past some code here?
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  • TomLiotta
    This is an old thread that reawakened today, but an old comment needs some attention.   I disagree about lowering mail access rights to less than Manager, its their mail file and they should be able to do whatever they want other than change the design.   That is completely wrong. (Assuming business e-mail...) These most definitely do not belong to the users. It is not "their mail file", and the business organization has the right to make whatever restrictions of this type are needed, or even simply desired.   One appropriate restriction might simply be to create and post a policy stating that forwarding business e-mails outside without permission is grounds for termination and possibly prosecution. Then enforce the policy.   Tom
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