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Monitoring POP E-mail

Posted on 2004-03-25
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ok I have a little bit of a problem I need help with.

I work for a company thats about 35 computers we use External POP and SMTP server from our Web hosting Company, They've given me the task of finding a way to backup this e-mail. Right now everybody uses Eudora Pro, but soon will be moving over to Outlook. Our hosting company does not provide saved Sent e-mails. but we really need to backup these sent e-mails. is there a way to do this, maybe by sniffing traffic before it gets to the router, A software?? (Preferable Cheep)or really any method that can do this?

 Moving over to Exchange is NOT an Option so please don't suggest that, I've already tried to convince them with no success.

 I currentlly have a solution to backup up recived e-mails but if I can find a way to do both at the same time, and somehow separate it by E-mail address or username that would be great. Thanks for any help

Nic
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Question by:NicCOConnor
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by:mrpez1
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Once you move to outlook the PST backup utlity could help:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=8B081F3A-B7D0-4B16-B8AF-5A6322F4FD01&displaylang=en

Also you could set up rules in each outlook that will cc the message to some central account.
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by:Rich Weissler
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*confused*  You have a way to backup received email, but not sent mail?  Can you not configure the local clients to save a copy? (Or are you concerned about the users deleting sent mail?)

Is Exchange not an option because of the expense of the exchange software?  There is similar free software.  Lets call that option one.

Option two: Purchase a network attached storage (NAS) device, and configure all 35 local email clients to store mail on the NAS, configure the local email client to store sent mail -- and backup the users email files.  (This will likely require that the backups be performed while the users are not logged in.)  But this assumes you aren't trying to protect the files from intentional user deletions.

Or are you attempting to silently obtain a copy of all outbound mail?  (I.e. Should I be helping you by finding SMTP relay software which takes a copy of all outbound mail, then forwards to mail to your ISP for delivery?)  You would still need to reconfigure the SMTP server for your clients -- and if any client configured to use an alternate SMTP server, you wouldn't get a copy of the sent mail...
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by:RDAdams
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You could setup One computer in advance with Outlook and a email account.  Have all your users CC or BCC a copy of the emails to this computer's email account.

Eudora has an export feature I beleive (sorry it has been a long time since I looked at it).
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by:RDAdams
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You may even be able to have your provider direct all outbound mail to the account for you without having your users need to do anything?
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by:NicCOConnor
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mrpez1,
This option would work well but I need an Automated process, Also I could not get this to work properlly on my local machine, the File>Backup Option Never showed up.

Razmus,
Yes I ave a way to backup recived e-mail it's a simple AutoForwarder to a backup account that the users do not know about such as Username_Backup, The mail server automatically forwards all e-mail to that users account. But as you can see this only gives me recived e-mails.

Exchange is not an option not because of Price, in fact we have exchange already with Microsoft Small Business server they simply do not want to bring mail administration in house at this time. (Been fighting with them for weeks on this)

We are mostly trying to silently obtain the data 1) because people will accidentlly delete the files. and 2) Might try to hide personal e-mails being sent. A rule in outlook would not work because someone could simply disable the rule accidently. or pourpously

I would say that haveing an SMTP relay would work best but is there a way to do this for POP as well as SMTP (incoming and outgoing mail) We also have an Asante Managed switch that can port mirror so all network trffic can be sent to one port. ls there an effective method to sniff this traffic from data packets? I would say that would be my best option because no one would suspect it or be able to change a setting. These people are not so bright with computers. But I would say the ones we need to worry about would know enough to get around most of these solutions.

Nic  





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by:Rich Weissler
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Got it.  There seems to be many ways to do this in Unix, but I assume you want a Windows solution.  I can't find anything _free_ for Windows that also does not look like it would open you in the future to becoming a SPAM relay.  :-(

After quite a bit of searching, I did find this: http://www.mailgate.com/products/mfeatures.asp which looks like it might be exactly what you are looking for, and might making the tracking of inbound messages a little easier to handle as well.

(It looks like it will run several hundred dollars though... but you should be able to install it to provide "vastly improved email performance" for your users, but at the same time provide everything your managers are looking for as well.)

Let me know.
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by:Rich Weissler
Rich Weissler earned 250 total points
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And as I look back to your questions in the last message, it appears that I missed one:
You could filter and capture traffic on port 25 (smtp), but it would be a nightmare to try to reconstruct the traffic.  It has the advantage that it wouldn't matter if someone decided to start bypassing your internal smtp relay, but you can prevent that by putting an ACL on your router blocking the port.
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by:Jman8R
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Just a quick question:

You already have Exchange ( in Small Business Server ), so I assume that you also have all appropriate licenses... So where is the cost? If anything, I would assume that you would same money as you would not have to pay the external provider as much to be a simple backup MX!

You would also solve all the issues that you have been having, be able to provide easy company wide address lists, distribution lists, be able to provide the users with web based interface to their emails and address lists ( can be very handy, especially for travelling users ) and you will no longer be limited to the number of mailboxes and the extra time required to set up mailboxes by liasing with your external provider...

Also, with the exchange server, you do not have to have ports open to all of the cient computers through the firewall... If a virus managed to get into a client computer with your current setup, it would play absolute havoc with you systems ( especially current ones that many have their own smtp server built in )!!!! Not to mention the posibility of sending out private company data via email! Not only the DMZ/Firewall advantages, but you can plug a virus scanner into Exchange and virus won't even get to the end users mailbox...

If I were you, I'd look into doing some sort of cost analysis and put that to management.

Just my opinion, but I think it is the smart move!
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by:Rich Weissler
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*grin* JMan8r, I read the original author's comment the same way the first time around.  It sounds like you are preaching to the choir ==> he would love to implement Exchange Server, and it _isn't_ price which is keeping him from Exchange... it's a political decision made by his management.  Because he already has the software in-house, it would be his best option.  (Although if Exchange still has the 2GB information store limit in the SBS edition, he might have to consider that before actual implementation... 35 users can hit 2GB REAL fast!)
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by:NicCOConnor
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no no they've uped it to 16 GB in Exchange 2003:-) which can still be hit but its deffinentlly manigable....yes Unfortunetlly Exchange is not an option at all, but I would love to impliment it and solve all my problems...alas I'm stuck with some other way to do this

Razmus,
I'm open to your Linux suggestinos if you have one but there's no telling that the management will let me put that in or not. There pretty stricked and paraniod here.

NIc
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by:Rich Weissler
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The URL above is for a Windows based product... from the webpage, it requires something like a 486 or above, and an operating system equal to or higher than Windows 95.

On the Linux side, (and I'm pretty far from a Linux expert) you should be able to load sendmail, and forward a copy of all messages it receives to a mail file.  One option would be to run sendmail in SUPERSAFE mode, and run a process which always makes a copy of every message saved in the queue.  A second option would be to run a mail filter which archives a copy of every smtp message running thru the server.  Sendmail is a pretty serious and configurable program, and tragically could barely tell you how to get started with it.  :-(
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lstonge earned 250 total points
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You said:

<<Exchange is not an option not because of Price, in fact we have exchange already with Microsoft Small Business server they simply do not want to bring mail administration in house at this time. (Been fighting with them for weeks on this)>>

But you don't have to "host" your own mail server because you use exchange. And you're going to use outlook! It will be easier and faster to setup with an exchange server than to configure all computers separately.

You will simply use your exchange server to duplicate your sent and received user's messages to another account (or more than one if you want). You just configure exchange to forward outgoing mail to your actual provider, and use a third party software called Igetmail (not expensive) to get pop e-mail for your already existing accounts, it will get messages for individual pop accounts and forward to the proper exchange mailbox (very easy and reliable).

I did this alot of times for clients not willing to host their own mail server, and it works perfectly well. Nothing to configure on client side except exchange account in outlook.

Luc

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by:pentaris
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Have you considered configuring the desktop clients to place their message stores on the server, perhaps in their Home directories? While this might increase server storage requirements (by an order of magnitude, in some cases), it will centralize all the users' email for backup purposes.

One issue I can see right off is that this would not prevent a user from sending a message, then deleting the "sent" copy, to foil your "no personal email" policy. A fix for this might be to assign permissions to the "sent" folder in Eudora's directory to allow for user reads and adds, but not deletes. That may be more work than you're willing to do, given the Windows-based permission sets. It would also increase your admin duties; *you* would have to clean out their sent folders periodically to prevent the volume from overfilling.
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by:NicCOConnor
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Pentaris,
This is an option I've looked at, but I really don't want to set up Roaming profiles. I've set up roaming profiles with windows 2000 before, and it was a mess....long logins, and one of my biggest problems was: If one file in the profile didn't load weather it was a word document or just a cookie, the whole profile wouldn't load, and it was a big pain. Now I'm in an all XP enviroment now, does anybody have any body know for a fact that this problem does not happen in XP??

Nic
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by:lstonge
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You don't need roaming profiles to store your e-mails on a server. With outlook you just place the pst file on a network share of your choice. But you will not be able to prevent users from deleting sent or received e-mails if they want to hide something because messages will still go directly to client machines. Did you read my other comment? It's not longer to setup that changing each user's pst files and outlook config and will do exactly what you asked first. In your last comment you seem to want just a backup solution. Can you clarify please?

By the way, roaming profiles works well in 2000 as in XP. Just keep the profiles small with "my documents", "application data" and "desktop" folders redirection policies and disable offline file sync on the stations with policies also.

Luc
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by:NicCOConnor
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I'm sorry that I'm slow on this issue, I had a bunch of things come up here at the office and had to table this problem for a little while. But now I'm right back where I need to be....almost all users have been set up with outlook, it's no longer too important to monitor all mail, but more so to backup current mail. I'm very interested in finding out more about how to place PST on my server, does it cause a lot of network traffic?? and what’s the way that I can redirect the PST file without deleting or renaming the current one? Is there a way that I can do this globally for my network? Instead of going around to all my workstations? and advice would be greatly appreciated, and again I'm sorry for taking so long to respond on this issue.

Nic
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by:lstonge
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Then you should ask this question closed and post a new one, since it is completely different of the original question.

Luc
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by:NicCOConnor
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sounds good.
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