How to Configure an Email Disclaimer in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 includes the ability to add email disclaimers to your internal and external emails by making use of Transport Rules. In this article we will show you how you can configure an email disclaimer in Exchange Server 2007 and the various options that are available, including disclaimer formatting, positioning and avoiding multiple disclaimers. To configure an email disclaimer, follow the next steps:

    1. In the Exchange Management Console, go to Organization Configuration > Hub Transport.
    2. In the right-hand pane, select New Transport Rule.
    3. Enter a name and description for the rule. Leave the checkbox Enable Rule enabled. Click Next.
    4. In Conditions, you can select a number of options. For instance you can configure the disclaimer to only be added if the email is addressed to or from certain people or groups, when a word is present in the subject or body of the email, when the header contains certain words, when the message is marked with a classification or importance, or when an attachment file name or size is detected. In this example we will apply the disclaimer to all messages sent externally to the organization. To do this we will select the option ‘sent to users inside or outside the organization’.

Set Email Disclaimer Conditions

    1. Now click on the ‘Inside’ link in the rule description. Select Outside and click OK. Click Next.
    2. You will now be able to specify the action that must be taken for any email that meets the selected conditions. There are several options such as adding text to the subject, sending a blind copy, removing/adding a header, redirecting the message to another address and setting a spam confidence level. Since we are creating a rule to add disclaimers, we will select the option ‘append disclaimer text using font, size, color, with separator and fallback to action if unable to apply’.

Append Email Disclaimer

    1. Click on the ‘disclaimer text’ link. A dialog will appear allowing you to enter your email disclaimer text. Enter the disclaimer text and click OK.

Entering the disclaimer text

    1. By default the disclaimer will be added in Arial, smallest font, gray color with a separator and fall back to wrap if unable to apply. Follow the next steps to change any of these default settings:
        • To change the font type, click on the ’Arial’ link. From a drop down box you will be able to select Courier New or Verdana, instead of Arial.
        • To change the font size, click on the ‘smallest’ link. You will be able to choose from smallest, smaller, Normal, larger, largest.
        • If you wish to change the color, click on the ‘Gray’ link. You will be able to choose from a number of colors in the drop down list.
        • If you do not wish to have a separator (this is a line separating the disclaimer from your message text), click on the ‘with separator’ link and select ‘without separator‘ from the drop-down list.
        • Click on the ‘wrap’ link to select from one of three Fallback actions: wrap, ignore, reject. This option tells Exchange Server what to do if for some reason an email disclaimer cannot be added, for instance if the message is encrypted or digitally signed. If you select wrap, Exchange Server will create a new email message with the disclaimer in the body and the original email as an attachment. If you select ignore, Exchange Server will let the message through without a disclaimer. If you select reject, the message will not be delivered and an NDR will be sent to the sender.

      When you are ready entering the disclaimer options, click Next.

    2. You will now be able to enter exceptions to the rule. If the email message meets any of the selected exceptions, the email disclaimer will not be added. For instance an exception can be used to avoid multiple disclaimers being added to the same message. This can be done by selecting the option except when the text specific words appears in the subject or the body of the message.
    3. Click on the ‘specific words’ link. Now enter a part of the disclaimer that is unique to your disclaimer. To make sure you do not enter text that could also be part of someone else’s disclaimer, it is recommended to enter text that includes your company name. Click OK. You can also select other exceptions such as certain senders or recipients, or when certain words are found in the subject or header. When you are ready configuring exceptions, click Next.

Avoiding Multiple Disclaimers

  1. Read the rule description. If everything looks good, click New. The rule will now be created. Click Finish. Your rule will now be listed under the Transport Rules tab.

As you can see, email disclaimers are easy to configure in Exchange 2007. Although there are quite a few available options, it is possible that the offered email disclaimer/signature functionality might not meet your needs entirely. We have listed some features below that are available in third party email disclaimer applications:

See disclaimers and signatures in the Sent Items of Outlook: Exchange Server does not show the email disclaimer or email signature in the Sent Items of Outlook. This means that the sender does not obtain proof that the disclaimer was added, the sender cannot see the actual message that was sent, and the email archive will not include the disclaimer text. Some third party applications do show email disclaimers in the Sent Items in Outlook, however most of them require client software to be installed or still allow users to edit or remove the disclaimer or signature. Using a server based email disclaimers application that shows disclaimers in Sent Items without allowing users to modify or remove the disclaimer is preferable.

Active Directory Merge fields: In order to create a global corporate email signature that is automatically personalized for each sender, some third party email disclaimer applications make use of Active Directory merge fields. These merge fields can be used in the disclaimer or email signature template. When an email is sent, the fields will automatically be replaced with the sender’s Active Directory properties, such as name, phone number and email address.

Message fields: Exchange Server 2007 does not allow you to use message fields which are retrieved from the email message, such as recipient name and date. It can be useful to include the actual recipient name in the disclaimer as follows: This email is only intended for [recipient name]. It can also be useful to ‘date stamp’ the disclaimer, indicating when it was added to the message.

Include logo or picture in your disclaimer/signature: Exchange Server 2007 does not allow you to include a logo or picture in your disclaimer or email signature. A number of third party disclaimer applications allow you to embed an image within your email disclaimer/signature.

Custom disclaimer positioning: Some third party applications can place the email disclaimer or signature after the most recent message text, not only at the end or beginning of the email. This is especially desirable if you are using email signatures and if you want to recipient to actually ‘see’ the disclaimer.

HTML formatting and inline CSS styles: Exchange Server 2007 only allows you to add formatted text to an email. It offers a limited set of font colors and sizes and does not allow you to use css styles or html tables, and other formatting options. Third party applications allow you to edit the disclaimer or signature straight from HTML, offering many more formatting options.

Add different signature on first emails: Should you wish to add a longer signature on the first email (with for instance the corporate mailing address and company logo), and then a shorter signature with only the person’s phone number and email address, this is also possible by using third party email disclaimer software.

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