Best Practices for Sending Email

Mail Security

Unless you are using encryption techniques, email should be regarded as insecure. Anything you send may be read by others. Anything you receive may not have originated from where it says it does, as mail headers are easily forged. Therefore, never disclose anything confidential—such as your password or a credit card number—in a mail message.


Antivirus Protection

Mail that comes in from the Internet or goes out to the Internet must be scanned for viruses. The campus email system provides inbound and outbound scanning. To protect the network and its users, campus email systems must connect to this system to ensure that all email is protected against the spread of computer viruses. View Antivirus scanning attachments.

The desktop and laptop computers that are owned by the state are all licensed for antivirus software to ensure that computers are not infected by viruses from the web or other files. The antivirus software is at no additional cost to the departments or end users (for state owned equipment) by visiting SJSU Antivirus. All computers should run antivirus software. Under the current license, employees can also run antivirus software on their personally owned computers by downloading the home version of the software from the antivirus website.


Unsolicited Commercial Email (Spam)

The email coming in from the Internet is scanned for viruses and is also scanned to determine the likelihood that the email is Spam (unsolicited commercial email). To ensure that no incorrectly tagged mail is ever lost, the tagged email is delivered to the recipient with a Spam label. Users are encouraged to review their spam mail label occasionally so they can determine, at a glance, if they would like to keep the mail or delete it without reading it.

The university email system allows you to automatically file all spam mail to a spam label. You can review this mail before deleting it.


Mail Headers

When composing a message, you normally have the option of filling in the To, Subject, Cc, Bcc and Reply-to ;mail headers. You must fill in the To header before sending a message, but the others are optional.

The Subject header should always be filled in with a descriptive title. The CC and BCC headers contain email addresses for carbon copies and blind courtesy copies of messages.


Creating HTML Files

There are many packages available for creating HTML files. Unfortunately, Office 2000, the newer version of Microsoft Office, includes a great deal of unnecessary text and uses many non-standard features when creating HTML files, and so is not recommended for this purpose on campus Web pages.

A better option is Adobe Dreamweaver, which looks similar to Office programs and is the preferred option for campus web page development.


URLs in Mail Messages

Most email programs allow the reader to double-click on a URL to open the Web page in the default browser (providing your PC is correctly configured). To ensure this functionality works properly, it is important that the URL is fully specified (including the http:// at the beginning), and that it is surrounded by white space. Punctuation immediately following the URL may be picked up as part of the URL and ruin the link. It's best to cut-and-paste the URL from your browser's location box into your message on a separate line. For example, the University's home page should be presented as:  http://www.sjsu.edu.

Some email programs also allow the reader to double-click on a 'mailto' URL in either an email message or a (properly-configured) browser to send a message to the email address specified. These URLs are in the form mailto:mailname@address. For example:  mailto:firstname.lastname@sjsu.edu. This feature is useful if you want to send a message but then ask people to reply to a different email address.


Addresses and Mailing Lists

You can find the email addresses of everyone who is registered with an SJSU email address by searching the web SJSU Directory which is updated every weekday from data held in the administrative databases. The directory can be searched from a Web browser.

The Groups feature in email can be used to create mailing and discussion groups.

When quoting your own mailname, always specify the address in full. For example, John.Smith@sjsu.edu. Also, ensure that you have the correct email address as specified by your email system.


Correct Email Address Format

The Internet standard for the faculty/staff email system is:  firstname.lastname@sjsu.edu. Additional letters and numbers are added to ensure unique addresses.

When using the university email system to email people on campus, you can simply type the address in the format firstname lastname and the email system will suggest the address for you. The validated address will have the format firstname.lastname@sjsu.edu.

If you use an alias or some other version of your Internet email address, especially when you subscribe to a mailing list, you will get errors when subscribing and unsubscribing. Information Technology only supports the practice of using your official Internet address as recorded by the email system.


Mailing to Very Large Groups

If it is necessary to send a message to a very large number of people, special action must be taken. The mailing must be authorized by a senior member of the Public Affair's office who will post the message to staff in Information Services for processing. The mail is filtered into the system late in the day, so it will not overwhelm the mail system.