Set Limits to Your Corporate Mailbox


In a bid to increase my work efficiency, I started on revamping the folders in my Microsoft Outlook e-mail client the last couple of days. I discovered that my accumulated e-mails have swelled to over one gigabyte of storage, which can only have a detrimental effect on computer performance.


Even though I have always been careful about what I file away, I was amazed at the sheer number of e-mails and bulky attachments that are no longer relevant. Indeed, I freed up about 300 megabytes in a relatively short amount of time by deleting outdated e-mails or removing superfluous attachments.


I remembered a few years back when I was approached for help by the business owner of a local Web hosting company. His company was working out a quote for an e-mail server on behalf of a local SMB. I was shocked when I realized that the SMB wanted about 10 gigabytes of storage for each mailbox. That was in the days of Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, and such a request would have necessitated the use of the Enterprise edition and much more robust hardware -- and effectively doubling the price.


What was the rationale for the request? Well, they basically got the figure by looking for the largest mailbox in the organization. They were on Microsoft Outlook Express then, and I was surprised that the computer running it have not crashed or corrupted the entire mailbox yet. Anyway, we were able to convince the SMB that 4GB would be "adequate" after showing it the price differences between a 4GB per mailbox configuration and a 10GB one. Rather, management probably decided that a couple of hours of basic housekeeping were not really worth an additional fifteen thousand dollars.


Speaking of over-inflated mailboxes, did I mention about the user who had over 10,000 e-mails in her inbox? Her Outlook Express was displaying some really strange errors, and it took many hours of investigation before we realized the problem had to do with the excessive number of e-mails she has been hoarding "just in case" -- and dating back more than five years! Honestly, I think it would take a mind bogglingly dedicated -- or stupid -- employee to want to search through so many e-mails for anything at all.


Now, I'm not asking you to immediately limit corporate inboxes to a draconian 10 MBs. In fact, there are indeed valid work and legal reasons that might compel you to archive every inbound and outbound e-mail. If that is the case, speak to your hosting vendor or contractor on acquiring the necessary backup facilities. From my experiences, I have realized that whatever the challenge might be, an arbitrarily high or unlimited corporate mailbox is certainly not the answer.