Previously, in part 2 of this blog post, I discussed native electronic discovery features, retention policies, and legal holds. In this post, the final part of this three-part post, I will present user-specific HTML disclaimers and MailTips.
User-Specific HTML Disclaimers
Exchange 2007 allowed for basic disclaimer-type functionality with the introduction of Transport Rules. However, this was limited to static text and it was difficult to manage. In addition, many firms wanted to standardize the format of their e-mail signatures so that all electronic correspondence had a uniform signature block. As a result, most firms leveraged third-party software or e-mail gateways, hosted message hygiene services (such as Google/Postini or MessageLabs), or manually-created Outlook signatures to provide this functionality. The former two options required the management of this content outside of Exchange and the latter was difficult to update and manage since these signatures must be kept up-to-date for messages sent from Outlook, Outlook Web Access, or a handheld mobile device.
With Exchange 2010, an administrator can define dynamic signature text that leverages Active Directory-defined attributes, such as name, title, phone number, etc., in addition to HTML formatting. As a result, a firm can define a standard format for all users that dynamically includes key information specific to each user. In addition, administrators can include Circular 230 or other required disclosure information dynamically, based on specific needs.
MailTips represent new functionality in Exchange 2010 that can not only prevent specific policy infractions but also help users to become more productive with e-mail. MailTips can provide suggestions to end users about potentially unanticipated results that will occur if a message was to be sent and, in addition, they can prevent specific messages or content from being sent entirely. Situations in which MailTips can be useful can be found below (all can be customized):
- If a user is about to send a message to a distribution list that contains more than 1,000 recipients or to a distribution list that contains an external e-mail address
- If a user is about to send a message to another user that has enabled their Out-of-Office auto-reply
- If a message exceeds the maximum configured sending/receiving size limits configured within Exchange
- If a recipient’s mailbox is full due to a storage quota
- If a user replies to all but was BCCed on the original message
- If user is attempting to send a message to a user or distribution list to which they are not allowed to send (ethical wall or defined client conflict)
All of these can help users understand the results of sending a particular message in advance and, potentially, result in fewer calls to IT to question why sending a particular message had a specific result.
As you can see, there are a number of beneficial new features in Exchange 2010 for law firms of all sizes. Previously these features were either not available, expensive, or required an investment in third-party solutions. With Exchange 2010, this functionality can be managed natively within the messaging platform, thereby potentially saving cost and maximizing efficiency.