Powerpoint invites prohibited on DoD e-mail

  • Published
  • By Information assurance office
  • 82nd Communications Squadron
E-mail, love it or hate it, is a vital communication tool that sometimes has us wondering how we would be able to survive without it.

To ensure the availability of this essential tool, our Sheppard system administrators continuously monitor our servers for irregularities. On almost a daily basis, they witness spikes in reduced server performance whenever a large e-mail is delivered across base or a small message is transmitted to a high number of recipients.

In order to help alleviate the stress on our network, e-mail users must be conscious of the message size and the number of recipients.

Air Force Instruction 33-119, Air Force Messaging, explains that large e-mail attachments, "as well as mass distribution of smaller messages, may delay other traffic, overload the system, and subsequently cause system failure."

Besides making sure a message "does not overburden the communications system with large broadcasts or group mailings," users must also make certain that it "does not create a significant additional cost to the Department of Defense or to the Air Force."

It's hard to imagine how something that appears as intangible as e-mail can transcend the boundaries of the magical realm called cyberspace and actually consume physical space.

However, think about that cute, five megabyte invitation that you created with PowerPoint® that is full of animated images, sounds, slide transitions, etc. You worked really hard on it and it is really quite amusing, so much so that you think everyone on base should see it. There's no harm in emailing it as an attachment to all of them right?

Well, with one click of the mouse, it is sent to nearly 10,000 mailboxes totaling 50 gigabytes on the mail server, which equates to approximately $50 of very tangible hard disk space all for a single non-official email.

But what about that harmless 10 megabyte slideshow of hilarious card playing dogs that you want to use to invite 10 of your poker buddies over on Friday night... who each send it to 10 of their pals, who then each send it to 10 of their pals and so on?

After only being forwarded four times, 100 gigabytes of data has potentially been used. Not only is sending those silly slides a policy violation, it just cost our Air Force at least $100. It's not so funny after all.

In Air Education and Training Command, all e-mail users are responsible to annually read AETC Instruction 33-107, e-mail Management Program, and abide by its rules. Paragraph 24 prohibits the use of PowerPoint® presentations to schedule and invite attendees for group meetings, retirements, promotions and other special events.

Since AETCI 33-107 was published over a year ago, we encourage you to take a moment to satisfy the annual training requirement by reviewing it here: http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/pubfiles/aetc/33/aetci33-107/aetci33-107.pdf

If you have any questions, please contact your unit information systems security officer.