A great way to simplify mundane administrative tasks is by sending notification emails whenever a device or piece of software needs our attention. Things like UPS boxes, routers and Backup software can send these notifications when they’ve completed a task or there’s a fault or emergency. However, if all notifications come from the same email address, things can get really messy. It’s harder to use functionality like rules and filters when you can only tell emails apart by the subject line.
Office 365 is great at encryption and authentication, which keeps your mail legitimate and secure as well as preventing undesirable mail from being sent from your domain. The unfortunate side-effect of this great security is that if you try to send an email from an account which doesn’t exist or using software which doesn’t support authentication or TLS encryption, your email will most likely not arrive.
- Office 365 Tenant
- Email capable utility which sends notifications
This tutorial focuses specifically on Office 365 and does not cover sending mail using any other SMTP service.
Determining the settings
Copy the five lines below into a blank Notepad file which will serve as your notes. To configure your email capable utility for sending notification emails, you’ll need information similar to the following:
From Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will need to determine the ‘Server’ hostname by checking your MX record held by your DNS registrar. The ‘From Email’ can be any email address from an accepted domain. The email address does not necessarily have to exist unless you wish to receive Replies or Non-delivery Reports.
To determine your Office 365 server, open your browser and type in the following URL:
Change <yourdomain.com> to your actual domain and go to the website.
We’re after the MX Exchange record. Copy the address down and include it in your configuration notes after “Server:”.
Next, we need to determine which address to send from. If you already made a mailbox which will receive replies and NDR reports, paste the email address after “From Email:”. Otherwise, make up an email address which best describes what information you’ll be receiving from it. For instance, use email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for UPS, router and backup software respectively.
You will need to ensure that your From Email is on an Accepted Domain, meaning a domain from which Office 365 will accept mail. To check, open up your Exchange Admin Console: //outlook.office365.com/ecp/?rfr=Admin_o365
Once there, proceed to Mail Flow > Accepted Domains
You need to ensure that the @yourdomain.com portion of the email address you’re sending from is one of the domains from the list above.
Ensuring your email is coming from a clean IP
In this step I’m assuming your organisation has a static IP. If you don’t have a static IP, you can skip this step, but you’ll just have to take your chances and accept that if emails happen to come from an IP which is blacklisted for SPAM or has a poor reputation, your emails may not be delivered or will end up in the recipient’s junk folder.
To make sure your IP address is clean, open a browser and go to: //sender.office.com
Input your email address and the IP address you’ll be sending mail from. If you don’t know your IP address, use //ipchicken.com to find it.
You will receive an email asking to confirm your email address by clicking a link. Once you’ve clicked the link you’ll end up back on the website with a new button.
The last step is to click the “Delist IP” button which will check if your IP is blacklisted and if so, remove it from the list.
Doing this for IP addresses which are not blacklisted will not cause any issues, so go ahead and check all your static IPs this way.
Sending notification emails
Open the control panel for the device or software you intend to send notifications from. I will not provide illustrations for this step as it looks for everything, however the settings are always the same.
Find the area where you enter the SMTP settings for your mail server and input the settings from your notes:
From Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send a test email just to confirm that your email is getting through.
That’s it! The next time something happens that requires your attention, you’ll receive an email.