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We have a problem with email potentially being viewed by directors PAs, which we need to protect, the situation is as follows:

Director A wants to send an email to Director B, both director A and director B have PAs, who we will call PA A and PA B.

Director A and B both give PA A and B acccess to their mail, so that they can read email and reply for them, create calendar entries etc when necessary, however, there are instances where the directors want to send emails between themselves that the PAs should not be allowed to read.

To further complicate matters, if the directors reply to the emails, we want to ensure that they can't see the replies in sent items etc.

We're running Exchange 2007 servers, outlook 2007/2010 and some of the directors also have ipads (to further complicate matters).

Any ideas as to how we can secure such communications?

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I have done this in the past by:

  • Renaming "Director A" to "Director A (Private)"
  • Creating a Distribution Group called "Director A" that contains "Director A (Private)" and "PA A"
  • giving the PA delegate permissions so he can access the "Director A (Private)" calendar and to send mail on behalf of the "Director A" group, but not permission to access the "Director A (Private)" mailbox.

With this arrangement, when people send a mail to Director A, her PA is copied silently; when Director B sends a mail to Director A (Private) the PA doesn't see it.

The key difference between this and Rory's scheme is that the Directors do not need to have two inboxes, which makes things easier for them.

The main problem with this is that if Director A sends Fred a mail and Fred replies, then the PA isn't copied on the reply.

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Well it would be an ugly hack, but you could set up a secondary email account called somthing like "Director-A-Private" which would be used for the private communications. Both outlook and the iPads support multiple accounts so it would work from that perspective.

The key stumbling block would be the usuability (i.e. will they pick the right from address for a given e-mail reliably)

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Appointments and email items are not visible to delegates if they are marked as Private. This "rule" is enforced by Outlook. As long as the PAs only use Outlook, then this is known to work.

If the PAs use OWA, IMAP, POP3, or anything else (Activesync on an iPad) I can't guarantee the message will stay private.

Just know that this is an application-level security that can be circumvented by more knowledgable users.

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