Email Caveats and Recommendations

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Email used to be a very black and white system similar to faxing, your message either made it to the recipient or it bounced back notifying you of the problem. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. While M-Power includes the ability to email various reports and notifications there are links within the email chain that we do not control and can not always work around. These include firewalls, spam and virus filtering, network and server configurations and general connectivity.

Firewalls

Ensure that you firewall is not blocking outbound traffic from your network either to the internet protocol (ip) address or port number of the email server being used. Depending on the configuration of the mail server you may be able to test this by pinging the remote address.


Spam and Virus Filtering

Spam email now makes up around 80% of all email traffic on the internet. In order to maintain network security and ensure quantity of service IT department frequently implement technical measures to control the email entering and leaving their networks. As they do not want the spammers to know if an email address really exists or not they will typically black-hole (not reply) to messages that are deemed as spam. Unfortunately legitimate email can sometimes be caught and flagged as spam (a false positive). Below is a diagram showing some of the possible points within the normal flow an email that it can be intercepted and flagged as spam.

Also see the section below on incompatible software.



Email may be flagged as spam due to a variety of factors, these include how the internet domain is configured, the configuration and type of email server used, the type of connection to the internet of the sender and the content and/or attachments of the message.

Server and IP Address Configuration

Often sending email from a server that is located within a network whos connection to the internet employs a dynamic internet protocol (ip) address will be flagged as spam. You can request from your Internet Service Provider that you have a fixed ip address.


Hosted Spam and Virus Filtering Systems

Most email filtering solutions employ Heurisitcs that look for messages that have suspicious characteristics and block them automatically. It is possible for these systems to catch legitimate email traffic and block it (termed a 'false positive').

These suspicious characteristics can include Message Headers, Message Content and Attachments. Message Headers are the hidden information contained with an email message that computers use to understand what software a message originated from in addition to other specifics of the messages' journey through the internet. You can try 'whitelisting' the software we use, it is tagged as follows if you find that this is the cause of the problem:

X-Mailer: Total Access Emailer

Also see the section below on incompatible software.


Internet Domain Settings

If you domain name (www.example.com) has SPF Records listed in the DNS system then most mail servers will check to ensure that any email originated from one of these designated addresses. If you are using a different server/address for sending email from M-Power the email will most likely be rejected by the receiving server. Check with you IT team or domain hosting company and either use an email server specified in the SPF Settings or add the email server you are using to the SPF records in the DNS system.


Incompatible Software

We have found through experience that the products listed below can cause problems with email sending and delivery. The products themselves are not defective but they utilise techniques to block email traffic that are not compatible with the way M-Power sends email. It may be possible to whitelist or configure settings to allow everything to function but we have not been successful in doing so. Note that these product typically on cause problems if they are installed on the same computer as M-Power, client computer installations generally function ok.

  • Trend Micro Desktop Anti-Virus
  • Trend Micro Hosted Anti-Virus/Spam Filtering Services
  • McAfee Desktop Anti-Virus

 

Conclusion

Typically emailing from M-Power is trouble free, however due to circumstances beyond our control problems can arise. Note that we will assist where possible to diagnose where an issue may lie but it is the responsibility of the end user to resolve the causes of issues which we cannot control.

 

 



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