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Computer Help Desk Email Computer HelpDesk
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Faculty / Staff Issue
Published by Computer and
Information Systems
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Webpage: http://www.spu.edu/help/
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   Special Edition: Focus on Email
   Spam Firewall Improvements
   Email Retention
   Email Mailbox Quota Increase


Special Edition: Focus on Email
Greetings from CIS!

Several important upgrades to SPU's email service are taking place over the summer. Please read on for details about these changes and how they will affect you. Additional information is provided on the CIS Help Pages -> Email tab: http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/email/index.asp . You may also contact the CIS Help Desk at help@spu.edu (or 206-281-2982) for answers to any specific questions.

Spam Firewall Improvements
On Tuesday, June 28, 2005 we will activate a new spam firewall called “Barracuda" to enhance SPU email screening and security. Barracuda employs several familiar anti-spam technologies, such as blocking email sent from commonly know spammers, removing exploitive file attachments, and tagging messages that are suspect. Additionally, the new system offers “client-side" filtering capabilities that give our users the ability to customize their own blocks, allows, and quarantines. The solution incorporates a user-friendly interface directly in Microsoft Outlook to provide greater control over the filtering process.

If you do not want to personally customize spam filtering, Barracuda will provide good spam filtering at levels consistent with what you currently experience. However, if you want to be more active in managing your spam rules, Barracuda is a promising solution. Please go to http://www.spu.edu/CISHelpDesk/email/spam.html for details on how to configure and maintain your custom Barracuda settings.

Email Retention
The retention of email is a matter of Federal and State law, and University policy. Over the next year the University will review its retention policies as they relate to email and will promulgate updated policies later in the year. Individual departments are responsible for following legal (statutory) requirements for records under their control (e.g. transcripts, financial records, property records). While such records include select email communication, there is currently no simple, technical solution to formalize the preservation of email across the University. It is neither practical nor desirable for SPU to preserve all email correspondence as a permanent university record. Nor is it cost effective (time, materials) to print paper copies of email for physical file retention. Until more specific policies are developed, we offer the following guidelines (and known regulations) for Seattle Pacific employees to follow regarding the retention of email.

First, consider whether the communication should even be done via email. If you are engaged in a sensitive discussion (e.g., supervisor/employee performance matters or faculty/student academic concerns), email may not be the best medium to use. Email messages are often terse and expressionless and can easily be construed (misconstrued) as harsh and impassionate. When it comes to sensitive personnel and student issues, be cautious when using email to establish a formal, possibly legal record. In this instance, it probably is more effective to provide a hard copy letter in support of a face-to-face meeting with the person(s) involved.

Consider setting up separate folders by subject in your email store, similar to what might be done with traditional documents in a physical file in your office. When you receive or compose a message that warrants saving, simply relocate the email into one of your special "retention" folders.

When it is appropriate or unavoidable to correspond via email, retention is largely determined by the content/subject matter of the message. Departments are expected to know and communicate as necessary those retention requirements for records under their responsibility. For example:

* Financial records must be maintained for seven (7) years in accordance with IRS regulations.

* Academic records have varying retention requirements: syllabi must remain on record for 10 years; grading sheets – 5 years; and some academic information is considered part of the student's permanent record.

* Human Resources/personnel records also have specific retention requirements. Correspondence pertaining to supervisor/employee performance evaluations should be printed as hardcopy for the employee's permanent record. Such records must be retained even after employment ends.
The University relies upon and expects each employee to make the appropriate decision as to whether a particular email should be retained. As stated above, CIS will be working over the next year with the President's Cabinet and relevant departments to develop more specific guidelines for preserving email records. Look for more discussion and instruction on this subject in later CIS Technology Updates. For the immediate future, please recognize that some email correspondence may need to be regarded and retained as a formal university record. Our hope in the interim is that the increase in mailbox quotas will support better retention of appropriate email records. If you reach the new, higher quota because of the need to retain important email and documents, please contact CIS for additional assistance.

If you have any questions about how and when to preserve email messages, or need help to better manage your SPU email account, please bring questions or concerns to your supervisor, contact the relevant university department, or query the CIS Help Desk at 206-281-2982.

Email Mailbox Quota Increase
Default email mailbox quotas for SPU employees have been increased from 50 to 250 megabytes! This expansion recognizes the essential role email plays in university business and academic correspondence. By increasing email storage quotas, employees will be better able to preserve the university record by retaining important correspondence for longer periods of time.

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