Email Send/Receive Size Limit

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Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:55 am

I have been and exchange admin for over 10 years and have a question about email. I have my receive email size limit set to 100MB per message and have never had any problems with it. However I still have users that run into problems sending emails to other companies. ie Law Firms, Construction firms , etc. who's receive size limit is 10MB. I guess my question is, How in 2014 when we a supposed to be in flying cars and such, are companies still limiting our emails systems to 10MB, when a photograph from a decent Digital Camera can produce images greater than 10MB. I understand spam issues maybe, but that's what a spam filter is for. I see a lot of companies wanting to still use FTP, which is fine by me, but even that is becoming an archaic protocol, then there are others that want to us Dropbox. Are there any good answers to this, or can someone help me understand the reasoning behind this?
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:02 am

1) The systems were probably setup in 2004 and haven't been touched since.

2) If they have a large customer base, storing all the mailboxes makes for huge storage requirements which may not be feasible if the system is setup like #1

There likely aren't any 'good' reasons behind it, just more issues of inertia and laziness.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:58 pm

Email isn't a file sharing system, and its use as such shouldn't be encouraged. Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.

A week, or so, ago, I was in a presentation for Citrix ShareFile, and it has an Outlook plugin that will allow attachments to be uploaded a storage space. The recipient would get an link to download the file. This really is the way attachments should work.

Edit: Got rid of a sentence construction horror.
Last edited by Flatland_Spider on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:03 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:Email isn't a file sharing system, and its use as such shouldn't be encouraged. Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.


Totally agree. I work for a company in which data integrity is paramount. Sending/receiving a 100MB file over email would never be something i'd suggest.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:07 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:Email isn't a file sharing system, and its use as such shouldn't be encouraged. Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.

A week, or so, ago, I was in a presentation for Citrix ShareFile, and it has an Outlook plugin that will allow attachments to be uploaded a storage space, and the recipient would get an link to download the file. This really is the way attachments should work.


Agreed

and people who work in legal and construction firms will always send the largest file their email system will allow them to send. They tend to scan lots of documents and don't know the difference between quality settings and will do everything in photo quality unless forced to do otherwise.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:12 pm

Yeah the same thing happens in our sales department. They send photo samples of product and always had trouble sending our high MP images to people. I ended up making a quick gallery system that allowed them to load the pictures on to our website and send a simple link to it via email.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:21 pm

Email isn't a file sharing system, and its use as such shouldn't be encouraged. Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be done.


I totally disagree, "Email" primary function is to be an information exchange system. I would bet that most data transferred in all emails are in the form of attachments.


A week, or so, ago, I was in a presentation for Citrix ShareFile, and it has an Outlook plugin that will allow attachments to be uploaded a storage space, and the recipient would get an link to download the file. This really is the way attachments should work.


Why should it work that way? Why should I use Citrix ShareFile Service when my email system is 100% capable of transferring files? Is it strictly for security? I understand that if I need to share files with multiple people then a share service would probably be best, but to share to one person it seems like a lot of work.


Totally agree. I work for a company in which data integrity is paramount. Sending/receiving a 100MB file over email would never be something i'd suggest.



Once again, I'm not trying to be difficult, but I am hearing that you wouldn't use it for that, But my question remains unanswered.
Why would it be something you don't suggest? What is the problem with using email to transfer files? What do you mean by data integrity?
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:38 pm

I'll also add that my company has many executives, sales people, program managers, and engineers who's email is forwarded to their phones. 100mb emails would eat up phone bandwidth pretty quick.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:43 pm

I work for a consulting engineering firm and my company enforces a 10MB file size limit. It's annoying, but OTOH I sometimes provide auxiliary IT support at the local office and it's obvious that a majority of users have no concept of mailbox management. In particular, if someone copies the entire project team with a large attachment, the multiplication of data handled by the email system can become enormous. So do you:

1) Enforce aggressive auto-archive settings? (These help, but have to be reasonable since project lifecycles in our industry can be a few weeks to a couple years.)

2) Enforce aggressive server-side account size limits? (These are unavoidable, but if you hit them too often, the users begin pestering IT with questions about why their email isn't working.)

...or...

3) Enforce moderately strict attachment limits to slow down the accumulation of detritus in the email system?

Some advantages of requiring major file deliveries to travel through FTP is that there are plenty of graphical, web-based systems that make access very simple for all parties while allowing user access and permissions to be tightly controlled by the administrator. File management for the FTP server (including data persistence and backups) is completely isolated from the email system. There's also a psychological advantage: with email, it's very easy for a user to randomly grab a batch of files and launch them to a number of users, including disinterested or unintended users. With an FTP share, both the user base and the file uploads have to be constructed more purposefully.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:46 pm

DLHM wrote:Why would it be something you don't suggest? What is the problem with using email to transfer files? What do you mean by data integrity?


Well the simple answer is that it isn't reliable, as you yourself are complaining.

Not everyone is in full control over their email system, there may be spam filtering services sitting between your server and incoming mail, you might be using a smarthost for outbound mail and these might have restrictions on them.

Some people have limited mailboxes... isn't the default on SBS still something like 2GB? 20x100MB emails would fill the mailbox and most people want to have more than 20 messages in their mailbox. OK you can give everyone a larger quota but then you've got to back it up and having massive email databases makes recovering from problems a pain.

Then there's the whole "exchange is not a fileserver" mantra. Let people have large files in it and that's exactly what it will become.

If you've got a busy server and a slow connection then the mail queues get large.


All that said, I'd agree that 10MB is way to low but on the other hand 100MB would be more than I'd be happy with unless there was a specific reason.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:06 pm

cheesyking wrote:
DLHM wrote:Why would it be something you don't suggest? What is the problem with using email to transfer files? What do you mean by data integrity?


Well the simple answer is that it isn't reliable, as you yourself are complaining.

Not everyone is in full control over their email system, there may be spam filtering services sitting between your server and incoming mail, you might be using a smarthost for outbound mail and these might have restrictions on them.

Some people have limited mailboxes... isn't the default on SBS still something like 2GB? 20x100MB emails would fill the mailbox and most people want to have more than 20 messages in their mailbox. OK you can give everyone a larger quota but then you've got to back it up and having massive email databases makes recovering from problems a pain.


I think Windows/Outlook default is 2GB.

Data integrity questions: I work in electronic discovery. You ever notice that when you send a huge file/container with lots of files that some things might get lost in the transfer? Doesn't happen all the time, but sometimes it does. I've seen people send a 70K line dat load file and some lines end up missing when a client opens it on the other end. It's just not a good idea.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:19 pm

DancinJack wrote:Data integrity questions: I work in electronic discovery. You ever notice that when you send a huge file/container with lots of files that some things might get lost in the transfer? Doesn't happen all the time, but sometimes it does. I've seen people send a 70K line dat load file and some lines end up missing when a client opens it on the other end. It's just not a good idea.

Especially with the way IE11 has mucked up Outlook recently. Any time someone needs to send me a big file I tell them to send it as an encrypted ZIP file as the decryption routine will barf on a single bit error.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:46 pm

All this talk about legal firms and scanned documents... how many people enforce TLS on their email systems? We have a "secure" email appliance that does the "click here to view this message over https" thing but for everyone I can, I force TLS always-on for any customer or vendor who will accept it.

Speaking of regulators, we had to upload documents to an FDIC portal for an upcoming exam/audit and it would only work with an older version of JAVA. If we keep that version of JAVA on any of our workstations, we'll likely get written up for it. Even if the state and fed agencies had email systems that supported TLS, we've been told that they only support us sending docs via their file portals and will NOT accept files sent via email even if we secure it. They will also refuse to use OUR secure email appliance to retrieve docs.

We looked into file transfer stuff but it was always either unwieldy for the end-user or too expensive or would force us into a "service provider" classification which meant more regulatory nightmares. We have 100 MB or unlimited attachments allowed (can't be bothered to look) since our internal scan-to-email copiers would hit that limit themselves.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:59 pm

Scrotos:

That's odd. I keep Java updated at all times (both 32 and 64 bit) and have no issues either uploading to or downloading from FDICConnect. What browser are you using? FDIC field staff I know are strictly IE and have no way of using other browsers. The regulator side of the FDIC secure site states clearly that IE is the only supported browser.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:12 pm

Mail protocols aren't designed to cope with large amounts of data, I regularly see large file attachments get truncated or corrupted in transit between mail servers. The other problem is that nobody ever cleans up their mail, and usually won't archive anything so if you allow large file attachments you can really clog up your servers with what is often unnecessary data in the long run.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:55 am

My company has implemented Podzy late last year. It's essentially Dropbox on Prem. They don't give it to everyone so its request only. The reason my company decided on a on prem solution instead of a cloud based one is because the type of data we deal in. (without divulging too much) Laws dictate tight control.

Anyways, that's the solution you probably need to be looking at.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:36 am

Captain Ned wrote:Scrotos:

That's odd. I keep Java updated at all times (both 32 and 64 bit) and have no issues either uploading to or downloading from FDICConnect. What browser are you using? FDIC field staff I know are strictly IE and have no way of using other browsers. The regulator side of the FDIC secure site states clearly that IE is the only supported browser.


IE 8 x86 on Win7 Pro x64. The last java update from 7u45 to 7u51 broke a few poorly written website portals we have to use as far as digital signing and security permissions. And a payroll system. We were using it to upload files but it only let us do one at a time and unorganized. Since the state office is like 2 blocks away we just burned a cd of 180 mb of stuff and walked it over.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:26 am

Flatland_Spider wrote:A week, or so, ago, I was in a presentation for Citrix ShareFile, and it has an Outlook plugin that will allow attachments to be uploaded a storage space. The recipient would get an link to download the file. This really is the way attachments should work.


There is a problem with that. The attachment store is controlled by the sender, not the receiver. The receiver must be aware that the attachments may not be available forever, and unchanged. They need to take extra steps to archive the files in their own repository if necessary.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:42 am

Using e-mail to store large files is a bad idea, especially on Exchange/Outlook. Makes backups problematic, because there's no sensible way to incrementally back up PST files. Open Outlook, and it "touches" all of your PST files, even if you haven't looked at any of the folders/e-mails in that PST file. So your incremental backup grabs all of everyone's PST files, every night, even if nothing has changed. And even if something *has* changed, you're backing up a potentially huge (multiple GB) file, just because someone has appended a new 200 byte e-mail to the end of one folder in that PST.

Even on systems that don't use the brain-dead PST approach (e.g. where each e-mail folder is kept in a separate physical file instead of globbing everything together into one big opaque mess), it is far from ideal. Binary attachments are text encoded to get them through the e-mail system (which is still inherently text-based for backward compatibility), which means they take up a lot more space than they need to.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:00 am

Wirko wrote:
Flatland_Spider wrote:A week, or so, ago, I was in a presentation for Citrix ShareFile, and it has an Outlook plugin that will allow attachments to be uploaded a storage space. The recipient would get an link to download the file. This really is the way attachments should work.


There is a problem with that. The attachment store is controlled by the sender, not the receiver. The receiver must be aware that the attachments may not be available forever, and unchanged. They need to take extra steps to archive the files in their own repository if necessary.


That's a feature, not a problem. It's also a good thing.

Sharefile also stores previous versions of the file, so the older versions are available.
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Re: Email Send/Receive Size Limit

Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:30 am

Hi! I'm the sysadmin on the other side, who cruelly and stupidly limits attachments to 10MB.

Why would I be so mean? Because my users have an average mailbox of 20GB each, refuse to purge/archive, and I like their mailboxes smaller whenever possible.

I really don't care how glorious your 45Mpix product shots are, I don't want them stored on my mail server, being added to my backup load. Put them on the web and send a link.
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