March 21, 2010

Sharepoint has the ability to take incoming emails via Microsoft Outlook into a document library or calendar. For example, one could setup meeting requests via Outlook and send these into a calendar on SharePoint. Also, an email could be sent directly into a document library from Outlook. The reasons for this is from a document library perspective that there is a method of capturing key emails and storing them for policy / retention / compliance reasons.The email address used for these document libraries are created by the users – there is no ‘support helpdesk’ involvement – additionally, SharePoint doesn’t carry out cross-checking to see if an email alias has already been taken in another document library in the current or another site.
So, this means that site owners are responsible for defining and managing the sharepoint email addresses used within their sites – well, thats the policy?So, consider your SharePoint Super Helpdesk Guys receiving requests for email addresses created by end users to be part of distribution groups managed by exchange. This presents a number of issues, technically and operationally.
It certainly raises questions like:1: Who is responsible for supporting this? Is it a ‘sharepoint helpdesk’ issue? Would they know the purpose of the email address used in a document site library.
2: Does SharePoint become a dumping ground for email? Its typical in organisations to see email Outlook PSTs (email bucket) to be over 20GB – imagine what sharepoint sites will be like if you allow a distribution group to include a sharepoint email address – any email then goes into document libraries increasing their size, which in turn increases site size, disk requirements go up for sharepoint, backup time increases, (get the picture?) – and, if you dont have sites under quota site size becomes virtually impossible to manage.
3: It becomes difficult to audit trail – users whose sites get deleted will not remember that they may have email bourne document libraries leaving distribution groups containing email addresses relevant to sharepoint but no longer in use (goes back to point 1).
4: It is not tracked collaboration – emails coming from distribution groups do not have any reference to the user who created them in the first place.So with all that in mind – draw a line in the sand – put it in as policy – push in a ruling in your SharePoint Statement of Operations (hey whats that Geoff? – Watch out for my forthcoming book!), stating there is no provision for SharePoint created emails to become part of email distribution groups…

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