Microsoft 365 administration: Adjustments to auto-forwarding guidelines

One of many IT constants is that Microsoft will all the time change the way in which that issues are achieved. As IT professionals, it falls on us to maintain our settings and configurations updated. In a previous article, I confirmed you easy methods to forestall auto-forwarding of electronic mail off of your area and easy methods to make an exemption when there was a professional want for it. Not too long ago, the transport rule that powered this stopped working for 2 of my shoppers. The remaining have continued to work, nevertheless it’s in all probability only a matter of time earlier than they cease working too. So, my techs are off making modifications proactively proper now.

As a refresher, we have to forestall auto-forwarding as a result of it’s a favourite device of criminals to ship your electronic mail to themselves in order that they will study concerning the firm and plan their spear-phishing, man-in-the-middle, or ransomware assault. This lets them strike with particular information concerning the firm like the place your most necessary information are positioned, who your prospects are, who controls the cash, and so forth. All crucial info if you happen to’re within the extortion enterprise.

Risk administration coverage

The brand new methodology of blocking auto-forwarding is managed in menace administration insurance policies as an alternative of Change transport guidelines. It’s well-hidden with a comparatively new default coverage referred to as the outbound spam filter coverage.


This coverage blocks the auto-forwarding of electronic mail by default. In case you don’t have to make any exceptions, you then’re all set. There’s nothing extra to do besides take away any present transport rule that you could have created to dam auto-forwarding as a result of it isn’t wanted any longer now that blocking is just a default setting.

Creating an exemption

Nevertheless, if you happen to want an electronic mail to be robotically forwarded from an inner to an exterior vacation spot, then a customized coverage should be created to permit any exceptions.

Most companies gained’t have many exceptions. It needs to be uncommon that anybody in enterprise must ahead all of their electronic mail robotically to Gmail. Nevertheless, we do see some instances the place there are particular wants for computerized electronic mail forwarding. Usually, you’ll discover this to be the case when electronic mail must exit to a cloud-hosted SAAS app.

My testing has uncovered you can’t permit auto-forwarding from a mailbox as a result of it’s the system that forwards the mail, not the e-mail handle of the mailbox itself.


Nevertheless, you may set an exemption to a bunch or a shared mailbox. These entities ahead the mail as themselves. So, that’s the method that we have to take. We will both create a bunch if there’s numerous exceptions to make or use a shared mailbox for single situations. There are many locations to discover ways to create a distribution group or a shared mailbox, so I’ll skip these directions and transfer proper into creating a brand new outbound spam coverage, which can comprise our exception.

Create the customized outbound spam coverage

Open the Safety console and navigate to Insurance policies. Then open the antispam (Microsoft 365) coverage.


You will note 4 default insurance policies. Discover that they’re all “on” by default and can’t be turned off. Additional, no exceptions are allowed within the default outbound spam filter coverage, so a customized coverage can be created. Ultimately, the coverage that we’re creating can be on the high and take precedent over the default coverage.

Press the “create an outbound policy” button:

Give the coverage a reputation of auto-forwarding exceptions or comparable. Then develop the Notifications part and verify each containers.


Press the Add folks button. Enter the e-mail handle of the one that will get notified when an auto-forward is tried. This may probably be the identical individual.

Why ship alerts? Any auto-forward can be noteworthy as a result of it’s going to both be a spear-phishing try from a compromised account or a annoyed individual attempting to allow a professional use of the auto-forwarding characteristic. In each instances, the admin might want to help in resolving the state of affairs.

Broaden the Automated forwarding part, then set the selection to Forwarding is enabled. It’s a bit counterintuitive at first to make this alternative, however our subsequent step is to refine that alternative restricted solely to the group or shared mailbox that requires the auto-forward characteristic.

Additionally, develop the “Applied to” part:


Within the “Applied if…” possibility select “Sender is” and enter the e-mail handle you need to exempt. Make sure to hit enter to get it to avoid wasting into the sphere.

Lastly, save the coverage. I might suggest re-opening the coverage to make it possible for your settings caught as a result of as I used to be working by means of this, I observed that often they didn’t, and I needed to enter them a second time. Most likely, I used to be making too many modifications for the portal to maintain up with. But it surely’s finest to verify.

Now our coverage exists, we have to transfer into the testing part to make sure that it’s working as anticipated. However earlier than we try this, we have to disable any pre-existing transport guidelines that have been blocking auto-forward.

Disable the now unused Change transport rule

Open the Change admin middle. Navigate to Mail Circulation, then Guidelines. Then disable an present Block Exterior auto-forwarding rule by unchecking it.

After testing is full, return and delete the now unused transport rule for remaining clear up within the subsequent upkeep cycle.

Take a look at the coverage

This coverage ought to block exterior auto-forwarding for any person who doesn’t have an exception listed. We have to make it possible for it blocks auto-forwarding that it’s not listed in our exceptions and in addition that it permits the one that’s within the exception record.

Take a look at 1: Create a brand new shared mailbox. Within the mail options settings, select to ahead all electronic mail to an exterior electronic mail handle. Now ship an electronic mail to that shared mailbox handle and see whether it is acquired on the exterior handle. Whether it is blocked, then the rule is working appropriately.

Take a look at 2: Ship an electronic mail to the addresses of any exceptions created within the coverage we simply created. If the forwarding handle receives the e-mail, then the rule is working appropriately.

confirm blocked electronic mail

Open the Change admin middle. Navigate to Mail Circulation, then Message hint. Right here, I’m utilizing the “new exchange admin center.” If you’re studying this text near the date it was written, it’s possible you’ll be utilizing the previous Change admin middle. You’ll then both create your question manually or flip to the brand new expertise.

In Default queries, select “All failed messages for the last 7 days.”


Slender the timeframe from seven days to only hours so you may simply see the outcomes of the exams you ran. All different settings can stay on the default. Press the search button. A report can be generated that may present the failed message supply.

As well as, an NDR needs to be returned to the sender.


The second check is to verify for profitable electronic mail supply. You know the way to try this one. The e-mail arrives. In case you don’t have entry to the supply location, you should utilize the default question, “Messages sent from my primary domain on the last day,” to view the profitable supply notices.

That completes our migration from transport guidelines to menace administration insurance policies. By no means concern — when Microsoft makes one other change, I’ll be right here to put in writing one other article on the migration of this technique to that one! I do know change will be annoying, however change is what retains us IT execs employed. Benefit from the course of.

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