Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Simple Incoming Email with On Premises SharePoint and Exchange

Avoid Configuring AD by Using An Email Alias

Andrew Walman

09/10/2014

SharePoint document libraries can be email-enabled so that documents can be uploaded by simply sending an email. In single server, lab-type environments, this is relatively simple to achieve, but in multi-server production environment, particularly where Exchange is handling internet email, there's a lot more to consider. Having Exchange handle the incoming email routing before the document reaches SharePoint has a number of advantages:

  • Exchange will typically be set up to handle inbound threats far more robustly than SharePoint can be – while they can both scan documents for viruses, Exchange can also check against spam lists, blacklists and sender reputation before allowing mail through.
  • Exchange can also apply various rules to mail messages before they are delivered – such as checking for attachments, attachment size, subject etc. – and then routing accordingly.
  • Exchange can also auto-reply to messages – useful where a receipt or other response is required to the sender.
  • Tracking messages through Exchange is far easier than looking through SMTP logs – useful for compliance and auditing purposes.
  • Using Exchange, the message doesn't just have to be delivered to SharePoint – it can be also sent to a journal mailbox, or copied/forwarded to any other recipient or group.
  • The email address given to users for the document library can be part of your internet address space, e.g. doclibrary@example.com, not doclibrary@sharepoint.example.com – this is beneficial when external users are involved in the document sending process (e.g. partners, suppliers) and internal users can find the address in the Exchange address book.

SharePoint can use the directory management feature to automatically create email addresses in the corporate directory when email-enabled document libraries are created. Designed to simplify the process for SharePoint, this can be a headache for Exchange administrators, particularly in large environments. The method below avoids having SharePoint create the entries automatically, introducing a manual process, but ensures that the SharePoint and Exchange support teams remain friends!

Scenario:

You want external partners to be able to email documents to an on-premises SharePoint document library, using an email address that routes through the on-premises Exchange organization.

High Level Overview

  • SharePoint is installed as three tier farm with multiple web/front-end servers.
  • Internet email is handled by Exchange
  • An Exchange mailbox is set up to receive emails from partners with the address partnerdocs@example.com
  • An email contact object is set up with the external address, doclib@sp.example.com
  • The mailbox is setup to forward incoming emails to the contact
  • An Exchange SMTP connector is used to route email for the sp.example.com namespace to the SharePoint frontend load balanced address.
  • Exchange transport rules can be configured to process the mail further, e.g. send a receipt, change the destination address based on sender/subject etc.

Pre-requisites

  • Exchange is set up to receive email from the internet using SMTP for the domain example.com
  • No external DNS changes are required.
  • The SMTP service has been installed on all the SharePoint web/front-end servers, set to automatic start-up, and load balanced with a virtual IP address and local DNS entry.

SharePoint Farm Set Up

To configure incoming email, complete the following steps:

  • Verify that the user account that is performing this procedure is a member of the Farm Administrators group.
  • Open SharePoint Central Administration.
  • Click on System Settings.
  • Select Configure incoming e-mail settings.
  • Select "Yes" to enable sites on this server to receive e-mail.
  • Leave the other settings as default – "Settings mode = automatic" and "Use the SharePoint Directory Management Service = no"
  • Ensure the E-mail server display address (excluding mylist@) is set to the SharePoint address space, e.g. sp.example.com. This is only to make setup easier, you don't need to create any DNS settings for this as we'll be using the load balanced IP address of the frontend servers to route to this namespace.
  • Click OK

SharePoint document library set up

  • Create a new document library or email enable an existing library by opening the document library settings and selecting the "incoming e-mail settings"
  • Select "Yes" to "Allow the library to receive email?"
  • Enter an email address that is appropriate for the library – a suggested convention might be [libraryname].[sitename]@sp.example.com. This address will be used by the contact object in Exchange
  • Configure attachment settings and email message settings as needed.
  • As you'll be accepting messages from the internet, change the security policy to "Accept e-mail messages from any sender" – we're offloading message security to Exchange.

Exchange Set Up

  • Create a contact object with the naming convention of the organization, using the document library email address as the external email address.
  • Create a mailbox with the required external internet email address, e.g. partnerdocs@example.com and ensure it can receive from the internet. Set any properties needed on the mailbox (e.g. maximum size) and in the "Mail Flow" tab, select "delivery options". Configure the forwarding address to be the contact object you've just created.
  • To route mail between Exchange and SharePoint, create a new "send connector" in the hub transport section of the organisation configuration.
  • Enter an appropriate name (SharePoint) for the connector and choose a "custom" type.
  • In the address space, enter your SharePoint address space, e.g. sp.example.com
  • Select "Route mail through the following smart hosts" and click "Add"
  • Enter the load-balanced IP address of the front end servers and complete the wizard.

When incoming email for partnerdocs@example.com arrives at the exchange server (either from the internet or from internal senders) it will be forwarded from the mailbox to the contact object, causing it to be routed through the new send connector to the one of the front-end servers in the load balancer, where the SMTP service will store it in the drop folder. SharePoint will monitor the drop folder, find the new email, and store any attachment in the document library – with the email message too, depending on the setting chosen.

Extending the Solution

This is a very simple example, but it's possible to meet a variety of business requirements by adding Exchange transport rules, SharePoint routing rules, and workflow into the solution. The major benefit if using the mailbox/contact forwarding method above is the email address given to partners doesn't change – simplifying collaboration. For example:

  • Transport rules can be used to route email to different mailboxes (and then to different contacts) depending on different conditions, such as subject, sender or attachment type. Contacts can be created for each document library.
  • Alternatively, SharePoint routing can be used to move the attachment from the drop-off library to different libraries, based on metadata in the attachment, approval status, or document type, keeping the Exchange side simple, and retaining the business logic in SharePoint.
  • Further processing can be accomplished through custom workflows, triggered on item creation within the email-enabled document library. These may move the item straight away, trigger an approval process, or start another external process entirely.

 

 


 About us

Fuse Collaboration Services is a Cloud Solution Provider and Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in delivering SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Azure cloud-based solutions. Based in Northampton, UK.

Microsoft Gold Partner Logo showing 5 competencies

Read more

 Latest Tweets

 Latest Blog

 

 

Clear out the ROT!140<p class="lead">​​They might give examples of damp rot or rotten food but ROT in the IT world is an acronym and if you apply the definition of rot to your data it's not far off what this blog is essentially about.</p><p class="lead">The acronym ROT when referring to IT stands for <strong>Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial</strong> and it's used when describing your digital data that your business keeps hold of when it has no value. Employees create ROT every day without realising how much this impacts your business.</p><p>ROT can be found on network and SharePoint servers, desktops, mobile devices such as laptops and mobile phones, on premise and in the cloud. Its impact can be huge and will become even more of a worry when the new GDPR* comes into force on May 25<sup>th</sup> 2018. </p><p>​ <strong>Reasons to clear the ROT out&#58;</strong></p><ol>​ <li> <strong>It decreases the need for extra storage.</strong><br>Funding extra storage, costs businesses money; not only having to pay for the extra storage but extra storage creates the need for a bigger IT infrastructure (and more IT support staff) and hardware which all rise costs.<br></li><li> <strong>Prevents data becoming a liability risk.</strong>​ <br>For businesses that are subject to audits, clearing out the ROT is an important part of the process. Businesses need to be able to demonstrate they are compliant within a whole range of regulations and legal guidelines dependent on the sector the business operates in.<br></li><li> <strong>Improves productivity in staff</strong>. <br>The need to quickly access the right information instead of wading through irrelevant documents will increase the delivery of projects and increase productivity on a day to day basis. This in turn increases productivity and profit margins.<br></li><li> <strong>Prevents data breaches.</strong><br>Clearing out the ROT can be viewed as time consuming and not a profitable use of time. The less information your company has that has no business or legal value reduces the chance of a data breach. If there is a data breach then you open yourselves up to costly legal action that is easily preventable.<br></li><li> <strong>GDPR is coming.</strong><br>May 25<sup>th</sup> 2018 is a date that you need to have etched in your brain if you are the owner of a business. The new regulations are replacing the outdated Data Protection Act and is a well needed reaction to the change in how data is stored, transferred and managed. Individual's now have far more rights and businesses will have to ensure that they have the legal consent to process data. All personal data that you hold, where it came from and who you share it with now needs to be documented. Getting rid of obsolete data will help to prevent any breaches of GDPR.<br></li> ​ </ol> <p class="small">*GDPR(The General Data Protection Regulation) is the European Union's new legislation to protect the personal data of all EU citizens and has evolved from the need to regulate data protection by updating the 1995 Data Protection Directive (DPD). This set of regulations is now out of date due to the increasing advances in the digital and technology world.<br>Organisations have been given a two-year lead in period to become compli​ant, ending 25th May 2018.​</p><p> <strong>How can Fuse help you clear out the ROT?</strong></p><p>Fuse is a specialist in SharePoint and has an in-house team of consultants. If you currently store terabytes of data held within an on-premise infrastructure and you are worried about GDPR because your data is unstructured and therefore unmanageable, Fuse can help. Fuse implements solutions that help to analyse the data held by your organisation; structure your data; identify unwanted and duplicated data. This is all done quickly and securely. </p><p>Once your data is in a manageable format we can provide the tools that will identify and collect GDPR personal information within documents. Workflows can be created to generate documents and automate your requests for &quot;the right to be forgotten&quot;. &#160;Not only are we good at it, it will give you peace of mind as you will be preventing any GDPR breaches. Become compliant by binning the ROT! </p><div class="well well-lg"><p class="lead">​If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone about your current system, call 01604 797979 for​ a no obligation chat!</p></div>l.ozier@fusecollaboration.com | Louise Ozier | 693A30232E777C6675736563735C6C2E6F7A696572 i:0#.w|fusecs\l.ozier24/07/2017 23:00:002017-07-24T23:00:00ZIf you were to ask most people what the definition of rot is, you are more than likely to get answers along the lines of "something that's damaged, something that you can't use anymore or something that is decaying or gone bad". 26/07/2017 10:55:54htmlFalseaspx

 Contact us

Our address
12-14 Brookfield, Duncan Close
Moulton Park, Northampton
NN3 6WL
P: +44(0)1604 797979
Contact Us