DISA to start enforcing email storage limits

If DOD Enterprise Email users haven't cleaned out their inboxes lately, now would be a good time.

Army DOD Enterprise Email

Cleaning out your email inbox can be a pain, but some Defense Department users had better get to it, because the Defense Information Systems Agency is going to start enforcing the limits of their service-level agreements.

DISA says that on Oct. 1 it will begin holding users of the Defense Department’s Enterprise Email to their prescribed limits, which is something it has not done since the transition to DEE was completed a couple years ago.

The enforcement won’t really affect most users. Most of the Army’s 1.4 million users, for instance, already stay within their limits of 512 megabytes for basic-class users and 4 gigabytes for business-class users, the Army said in an announcement. But as of July 31, there were some 75,000 mailboxes with more than 4 GB, and over 7,700 mailboxes exceeding 10GB, which can slow things down for the individual users and the Army overall.

"Using email effectively is one way that today's Army personnel can help reduce costs and make communications more agile, from the homefront to the tactical edge," John Howell, product director for Army Enterprise Content Collaboration & Messaging, said in the announcement. "Each user has a role to play to help facilitate state-of-the-art access to email from any location, by being mindful of the limits already in place to reduce costs and launch times."

Regularly cleaning out email inboxes is considered good IT hygiene, but if users are lax about it, the resulting pile-up can create problems. When the Environmental Protection Agency moved from its old Lotus Notes system to Microsoft Office 365 in early 2013, for instance, they found some inboxes with more than a million messages in them, which put a serious crimp in the transition.

After Oct. 1, DISA will send out automated early warnings (via email, of course) when basic users get to 410 MB and business users get to 3.7 GB. Ignore those initial warnings at your own peril, because subsequent notifications will have some teeth. Users who exceed their actual limits will get a second warning and won’t be able to send email until the excess is cleaned out. And if mailboxes exceed 700 MB for basic accounts or 4.6 GB for business accounts, users will get a third and final notice informing them that they won’t be able to receive any more emails either.

Users who need to store more than their limit don’t have to throw their data away, the Army said, but they’ll have to save it elsewher4e, such as on local or shared drives.