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Mailbox Management Policy

Mail Management Policy

Purchase College provides a standard 1 gigabyte storage allocation for faculty and staff mailboxes. That 1GB of space is enough to store thousands of messages – unless those messages contain unnecessary bloated attachments.

We can and do provide additional mailbox space - in smaller increments - but there are a lot of visible and hidden costs for runaway mailbox space needs, and we depend on faculty and staff to have some discipline in managing their storage space.

No matter how much space we provide, anyone who doesn’t practice basic organizational discipline and basic mailbox discipline will very quickly outrun their allocation. Anyone who says they have to spend “a tremendous amount of time managing their files or their mailbox is doing something wrong.

Everyone practices some level of basic organizational discipline – related files go into project folders – or whatever suits their needs. Given that practice, managing mailbox space use should take no more than 5 or 10 minutes per week – at most – and is a simple process.

CTS can arrange a quick training session for managing mailbox and file space. There are a number of simple techniques that will help to contain runaway needs.

In addition, everyone should recognize that mailboxes make the absolute WORST filing cabinet ever invented. Large mailboxes invariably contain multiple copies of the same bloated attachments in multiple and fragmented conversation threads – making it impossible to locate the latest version – or to locate anything for that matter. Think of your mailbox like the one attached to the front of your house – stuff gets dropped off there, and you take it inside and file it away. Nobody uses that mailbox to store things – for obvious reasons. The same obvious reasons apply to email - Phishers download the entire contents your mailbox as soon as they get your credentials – we have seen that happen all too often here – and it happens to tech-savvy individuals too.

Aside from best practices, there are a lot of hidden costs, which nobody cares about – that is - until they do care. Storage space is expensive. Backup software licensing fees are expensive too – and we pay for every gigabyte we back up. SUNY Legal counsel advises limiting everyone’s total storage footprint and mailbox size – so they don’t have to search through a tremendous amount of material when a legal hold is placed – and that happens far more often than anyone would like as well.

Our faculty/staff email storage footprint today is 2.5 times the size it was 4 years ago. If we have to restore that 20 terabytes of data from backup, it will take 4 or 5 DAYS to do that restore, and during that restoration period, nobody will have email, and everybody will be screaming. It is reasonable to assume that a majority of that storage footprint – and to assume that a majority of that 4/5 days of recovery time - is ‘wasted’ on unnecessary material and multiple copies of bloated attachments that has accumulated in everyone’s mailbox.

Only the mailbox/storage owner can determine what is important enough to keep. We ask that you keep the important materials that land in your mailbox inside the house, and not in the mailbox outside your front door. Doing that will help you be more organized, find things faster, and find inner peace and tranquility.


Email space management tips:

  1. Avoid sending or forwarding bloated attachments to committees or large groups of campus persons. Instead, use SharePoint links to documents instead of attachments - or use the Broadcast Email system (which provides server links rather than bloated attachments.)


  1. Use the “Size” column in Outlook to float the bloat to the top, and then cut it out.


  1. Save the attachments you do receive in your mailbox as they arrive – I put a tag into the subject line to record their original presence and their file storage location - “<\path\Filename.type>”


  1. If you do SEND OUT an attachment via email, that means you already have that document stored somewhere, so cut it out of your sent items, and put in a “<\path\Filename.type>” placeholder note to record its presence in your sent message.