ServersSuccessful Policies for Exchange Administration (Part 2)

Successful Policies for Exchange Administration (Part 2)





by Jason Haifley

As an administrator, the policies you set on your Exchange
system are key to keeping things manageable. Several areas
where you need to have clearly defined policies are: size
limits, distribution list structure, public folder structure
and virus protection. If you are lucky, this was already
accomplished before the system grew too large. If you are not
so lucky, you have a nice mess to clean up before you can call
your system organized. This second article deals with
distribution list and public folder structure. The first
article in the series dealt with size limits and can be viewed
here: Part 1.

As an administrator, the policies you set on your Exchange system are key to keeping things manageable. Several areas where you need to have clearly defined policies are: size limits, distribution list structure, public folder structure and virus protection.

Distribution Lists and Public Folders

Distribution lists and public folders are some of the most
flexible and commonly used features in Exchange. They allow
information to be made available to users all the time and
also allow mail to be delivered to groups instead of to
individuals. Unfortunately, as a company grows, the amount of
lists and folders grow as well. Without a carefully designed
organizational structure, your public folders and distribution
lists can quickly become unwieldy. It is always better to plan
ahead then to fix later. Once your users are used to certain
lists, it is next to impossible to change it to accommodate a
new organizational plan.

It is important to create a distribution list and public
folder that follows some sort of organization. This includes
creation, naming and placement. You need to set rules on what
circumstances you will create a new public folder or
distribution list. For example, I will not create a
distribution list that will have less than three members. You
will find that your users will want a list or folder for every
little thing and once created, they will be forgotten about
and not used. If you have ever had to navigate through your
GAL that has over 500 DL’s, you can see why this would be a
problem. If a user needs a list created, make sure there isn’t
already a list out there that will suffice.

If it is necessary to create a new list or folder, it is
ESSENTIAL to have an organized naming scheme. I cannot
emphasize this enough. It may be easy to know what list to
send to in the beginning, but as the system grows, so do the
lists, and without organization it will become almost
impossible to find the correct list. In my organization I have
set the following guidelines for naming: GROUP – Sub – Sub.
For example, a HR list might look like this: HR – Meetings –
Staff Meetings or SALES – South – California. Just remember
that if the names become too long, they will be cut off when
viewed in the address book. I usually have the alias/SMTP name
formatted like [email protected] This type of system
may not work for your organization, but find one that does and
stick to it. The Group level will usually be the group that
owns the list, even if the list is composed of people from
different areas of your company’s structure.

The same concept applies to public folders as distribution
lists. The only difference is that you can create the folders
in a hierarchy, so they don’t need to be named in that
fashion. The most important thing to note is to make sure you
limit your top-level folders. The best way to do that is by
going to the Information Store Site Configuration in the
Exchange Admin program and specifying only the absolute
minimum number of groups or people with this permission.

Having a well-structured distribution list and public
folder system allows your users to find and disseminate
information in the most efficient manner. As the
administrator, it is up to you to ensure policies are in place
to keep your system under control. My next article will deal
with policies relating to virus protection.

Jason Haifley

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