LuxSci’s Custom Mail Filters: Case Studies
With the amount of business done via email these days, it’s not uncommon to receive dozens if not hundreds of messages a day. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like them all stacking up in your inbox, then you’re probably already familiar with the concept of mail filters or rules. A filter is like your own personal mail elf, quickly sorting, organizing, or discarding your incoming mail according to your explicit instructions. This makes it easy to manage high volumes of incoming mail automatically without having to manually move, forward, or delete even a single message. Almost all filters can match a given text string in the subject or body of the message and then take one of these basic actions; however LuxSci’s Custom Mail Filters (included with all email hosting accounts) provide an even more extensive list of capabilities:
- Use regular expressions to match complex text patterns that may appear in the message
- Match email header lines, or tag messages with your own header lines
- Forward messages automatically to another email address, or to your cell phone via SMS
- Delete, bounce, or flag messages.
- If you have a LuxSci WebAide license, you can save inbound emails and their attachments to your Documents or eJournals WebAides automatically
- Organize your rules so that they apply in the order of your choosing, such as before or after autoresponders or spam filters
- Color code your filters and annotate them for easier organization and sorting
- Set rules as "Final" or not to determine if messages will go on to hit additional rules, allowing you to construct compound rules or chain multiple rules together
With a versatile set of criteria available for matching messages, coupled with an extensive list of actions you can perform on matched messages, LuxSci’s custom filters allow for just about any configuration you can think of. Here are a few real-life examples of how our custom filters have been applied to handle some complex requirements.
Case Study 1: Inbox Management
A small team of people runs their own start-up, and to keep things consolidated they use one general email address for everything including sales, development, production, and marketing. Each team member is able to check the company email address via IMAP to see if any emails have arrived that may require their attention. However, as they grow and expand, their inbox starts receiving more and more emails, and some team members find they are unable to check it as frequently now that they are on the road more doing promotion and marketing, leaving emails to pile up. In addition, they start receiving more spam that adds to the clutter and makes clean up more time consuming. They decide they need a method to help them organize better while still maintaining a single inbox.
Using LuxSci’s filters, they can match certain words or addresses that may appear in incoming emails such as who the email is addressed to ("Sales", "Support", or perhaps "John Smith") and then drop them into subfolders of the inbox to help keep things tidy. They can also forward copies of these messages (or notices that messages have arrived) to team member’s cell phones if they happen to be out on the road or otherwise away from their computer.
While a LuxSci Basic Spam Filtering license helps mitigate a lot of the garbage email coming in, ordering the custom filters so that they apply after the spam filter lowers the chance that random spam messages that would also match their custom rules do not get included with the legitimate messages. (Custom rules always apply after LuxSci’s Premium Email Filtering; you have your choice of order with the basic)
Now, let’s say that one of their development staff regularly receives emails that include important attachments, but he is frequently traveling and cannot always watch the inbox to make sure that he downloads the attachments before the emails get deleted. If he has a LuxSci WebAide license, he can create a filter that will match these messages (i.e. by subject or by message size) and then save the email and the attachments to his WebAide Documents to be viewed at his leisure. He can also set this filter’s "Final" status to "No" and then create a second filter to catch these same messages, opting then to notify his cell phone that a new attachment has just been uploaded to his WebAides.
With potentially dozens of filters being created by the team, pretty soon the filters themselves start to get cluttered, making it difficult to quickly maintain or update them when needed. As an option, they can color-code each one based on its functionality or its creator so that they are much easier to distinguish at a glance.
Case Study 2: Sending Copies Everywhere
Company XYZ is organized into a detailed hierarchy composed of many groups and subgroups of workers. Each group is run by a manager, and each manager reports to a manager above them. The top-level managers report directly to the CEO, who is at the top of the hierarchy and oversees the whole company.
Now, lets say that the decision is made to have everyone in the company forward copies of all incoming and outgoing email to their immediate superior. Workers will need to forward to their respective project manager, those managers will forward to the managers above them, and so on until the CEO receives a copy of every email that is sent or received to or from anyone in the company. In order to ensure that this forwarding happens, Company XYZ would prefer not to rely on each individual to make sure they CC whom they need to — the ideal would be to have all of the forwarding happen automatically soas to remove the onus from each person.
Enter LuxSci’s custom mail filters. The inbound email can be handled by adding a custom rule for each individual that will copy each received message to one or more addresses, thus establishing a "copy chain" that will eventually lead to the CEO at the top.
The outbound email is actually handled in "reverse" using LuxSci’s outbound domain capturing feature. All outbound email for the company’s domains is copied directly to a specific email address (in this case, the CEO). The CEO then has a list of custom rules that will forward each captured outbound message to the person that should receive a copy, based on who sent it.
But what if a project manager sends an email to her entire team? Or worse, what happens when the CEO sends out an email update to the whole company? With the setup described above, that project manager and the CEO would receive a copy of their own message for each person they emailed, since each individual is setup to forward all incoming messages to the person directly above them. This is less than ideal, particularly when the CEO suddenly receives 100 copies of the message he just sent out.
The tricky part of a setup like this is making sure no one receives duplicate copies of a particular message. Luckily, LuxSci’s custom filters are flexible enough that Company XYZ can specify in their rules that an incoming message only be forwarded if it was NOT sent from the person being forwarded to. So, when the project manager emails her team, their rules will see that it was she who sent it and will thus not forward a copy right back to her. When the CEO emails the whole company, he won’t be blasted with 100 new emails reminding him of what he just sent. With some fine-tuning, the custom filters can deftly control the internal flow of the company’s email without having duplicates flying about.
LuxSci’s Custom Mail Filters were designed specifically to be versatile and adaptive in almost any situation. Whether working on their own, or integrated with LuxSci’s spam filtering, Enterprise WebAides, or outbound email capturing, the Custom Mail Filters give you the tools you need to make your mail work for you and not the other way around.