You’ve been working hard on a presentation for a number of weeks now and today is the deadline. Your presentation is looking professional, and it says everything you want to get across. You have included high quality images, audio and a couple of illustrative videos. The board is going to be impressed with you, and the customer will buy into all the effort that you have gone to. All you have to do now is save the presentation, write a new email, attach the file, press send, and…
What’s this? An email from the system, SMTP error message 552, requested mail action aborted: exceeded storage allocation. This can’t be happening. That’s the whole point of email isn’t it, to send information instantly. What next, could you put the information on a disc or something. You can have the disc sent by courier to the customer, there has to be something you can do?
So you speak to your operations department, asking them to price up a courier. The cost is astronomical to guarantee delivery by the end of the working day, but you feel pretty certain that if it is referred to the operations manager, the costs will be justified on this occasion. The operations manager agrees that the cost will be insignificant against the return of your hard work, however, company policy strictly forbids sensitive information even going on a disc, let alone leaving the organization in a hard media format. Frustrated, you are steered in the direction of the IT administrators, not very hopeful that the email limit can be raised for you on this occasion.
The IT administrator is unable to increase the email storage limit; there is no physical storage available, short of deleting several accounts. Even if this could be done, there are absolutely no guarantees that you won’t have the same issues at the recipient’s end. That’s if the recipient even receives such a large email, explains the administrator. Firewalls may forbid attachments; the size of the email may exceed available SMTP storage at the other end. There is no guarantee of delivery. Even if delivery happens, the attachment may be stripped out in accordance with security policies.
But, why are you even trying to email such a file, when your company has recently had a secure managed file transfer system installed for such occasions, asks the administrator? Surely you remember the training a while back? It’s not a problem; it will only take two minutes to give you a refresher. At this point, you’re willing to agree to anything, so you sit down with the helpful IT administrator, who takes you through the necessary steps.
So that’s what that new desktop icon you were wondering about is for. You open it up, and it actually looks a bit like your email. You complete the relevant fields – send to mail address, include attachment, and hit the button ‘send secure’. The message is sent, and you are given a reference number to ‘track your package’ so to speak. But it is still a new piece of kit to you, so you seek reassurances from the IT administrator, who covers off all your concerns.
Your delivery is guaranteed, because only the message portion goes to the recipient SMTP, so it will not be blocked for any of the reasons that frustrated you earlier. The message contains a link for the recipient to click, which allows them to download the file securely from your company’s own server. The benefits of this are many fold. You will have a record of the recipient receiving the message; you will have a record of the recipient downloading the attached presentation. You will also be safe in the knowledge that your attachment has been sent securely, protected by industry standard encryption methodologies. Your server will also perform a series of checks during the process, to confirm that the attachment you sent is exactly the same as the attachment that your counterpart received. There can be no misunderstanding here, like the time when the Finance Director was convinced you had sent him the wrong quarterly figures, even though you think he had in fact lost track of the versions sent to him. Not that you could prove it either way, but today, you know that there will be no repeats – your attachment sent by managed file transfer cannot be repudiated.
The administrator goes on to explain that because the attachment is not going through the SMTP mail server, as far as size goes; you are only limited by the hardware. In practice, this means that you can send gigabytes if necessary, and your presentation is only 15 megabytes.
He also shows you that you have not yet turned on the Outlook integration option, and quickly runs you through that. With this option deployed, you are now able to type your mail as you originally would have done. But when you attach the presentation, there is now a ‘send secure’ button, alongside the usual send button. The administrator explains how this works. When the send secure button is used, the outlook plug-in strips out the attachment from the message, puts it on the company’s secure server, and then sends the text only element of the message, along with a link to download the attachment.
Just as you are thanking the administrator, and thinking to yourself that this couldn’t be any easier, two messages appear in your inbox. The first one is from the secure file transfer system, advising you that your attachment has been received and downloaded by your customer. The second one is from the recipient themselves, thanking you for your prompt delivery, and asking you where you got such an easy and safe method of emailing large files.