Geneseo Webmail gets upgrade

This summer, Computing & Information Technology implemented a number of upgrades to the Geneseo Webmail system designed to make e-mail services easier for faculty and students to use.

Last year, students frequently received spam quarantine messages from Barracuda, but these were eliminated when CIT chose to use a new anti-spam system developed by Cisco IronPort.

According to Kirk Anne, assistant director of system and networking for CIT, the new system will block more phishing attempts than Barracuda did, resulting in less spam and faster delivery of mail from non-Geneseo addresses.

"Dealing with spam is an ever-growing nuisance and source of complaints, so we had to upgrade the system," Anne said.

In addition, users will now be able to access their e-mail boxes when they are over quota. Previously, CIT had to manually increase students' quotas to allow them entry into the account so they may delete unwanted messages.

The upgraded servers will also support IMAP Quota, a feature that prevents users from taking actions that will put them over the set amount.

In addition to improving users' experiences, the new system will reduce the amount of power CIT consumes. "CIT is in the process of virtualizing a number of our servers to reduce our carbon footprint," Anne said.

Several students said they were unaware of the changes. "I knew something was going on when [e-mail] was down over the summer, but I still don't know what was changed," said junior Amy Ryan.

Over the past year, a number of colleges and universities have attempted to improve the e-mail experience of their students by outsourcing to Google and Microsoft; two well-established e-mail providers.

These companies have partnered with institutions of higher education to allow students to keep ".edu" addresses while using the popular mail clients Outlook Express and Gmail.

While Geneseo's Webmail offers 100 MB of storage to students, Gmail can store 7370 MB of data, making it unnecessary for most casual users to delete old messages.

"CIT has been looking into the issues of providing Google mail for students," Anne said. "We have been reviewing the case studies from other colleges and universities to find the benefits or pitfalls."

Many students already have their Geneseo mail automatically forwarded to third-party clients.

"I forward to Gmail, because it's easier to use and easier to keep track of things," said senior Elle Bryan. "The only problem is that sometimes when I send to Webmail it gets lost."

Sophomore Danielle Farrer said she has several e-mail accounts. "I just use Webmail for school," she said, adding that she has no issues with the current system.

It is possible that the entire SUNY system will switch e-mail providers.

"SUNY's System Administration Office has started working with Google to create a SUNY-wide contract for Google services," Anne said.