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Using To, Cc, and Bcc in e-mail

By Riaan Lombard - 2 July 2020

We have all been there: copied in an e-mail CC field with 100 other strangers who were not supposed to see each other’s e-mail addresses. Why is that so bad you ask? With the POPI act clamping down on sharing of personal de-tails, you might find yourself in hot water if you divulge personal information without consent.

Let's talk usage - Many people do not understand the proper use of the To, Cc, and Bcc fields in an e-mail header. When using the “To” field, you should always try to limit the amount of contacts to as little as possible. The reason for this is that your email service provider might mark your e-mail as SPAM when it detects that you are mass mailing. The limita-tion for simultaneous sending differs from one provider to another, with many of them setting the limit to 50 sim-ultaneous e-mails. The end result for exceeding the limit remains the same - being flagged as SPAM. Good practice is to create an e-mail distribution group of contacts, and send to that group instead.

You should also remember that, in accordance with etiquette, all recipients in a “To” field, are directly addressed, and are generally expected to provide feedback, or would be expected to respond if the need arise. If you do not want someone to respond to the mail, do not include them in the “To” field.

The “Cc” field or carbon copy field, is used to inform recipients of the e-mail, indicating that a response is not need-ed. The recipient is merely notified to take note of the message. Remember though, recipients in both the “To” and “Cc” fields will be able to see each other’s e-mail addresses. Using “Cc”, does not hide the address.

To hide an address, you should use the “Bcc” or blind carbon copy field. The generally accepted etiquette is that recipients in the “Bcc” field, are notified of the message, and may be requested to respond, but NOT to respond to all contacts in the e-mail header. Contacts in the “Bcc” field will be able to see email addresses in the “To” and “Cc”: fields, but not the other way round. Furthermore, contacts in the “Bcc” field, will not be able to see other contact addresses Bcc'd. Need to keep a group address or individual address POPI friendly? Use the “Bcc” field.

Bcc is not enabled by default - The blind carbon copy option is not enabled on all email clients by default. Being ambassadors for Office 365, we will focus on Outlook, and enabling the “Bcc” option for this e-mail client. When Outlook is open, create a new e-mail, and then navigate to the “Options” tab. In the “Show Fields” section, you can now select “Bcc”. Note that once this option is selected, it will remain enabled for all future emails.

Use the right tool for the job - Servers explained

By Riaan Lombard

Have you ever wondered why servers are such a “holy grail” and why the IT techie’s eyes sparkles when you mention the word server? If you know that sparkle, you might also have wondered why it disappears when you ask what the big fuss is and why you can not just install the server software on a desktop PC. It’s a lot cheaper after all.

It's about the hardware and availability - A server performs a very vital role in any organisation. Business critical applications are running on it, and multiple people access those applications. More importantly, they do so simultaneously. Server hardware and software is built specifically to cater for multi-user environments. Aspects such as network card speeds, CPU power and instruction handling, and the ability to keep delivering services when one of those critical components fail, are what sets them apart, and what makes them expensive. It is referred to as redundancy and availability.

Higher spectrum servers have dual CPU capability, dual power supplies, and have several network cards that can be configured to provide the end user with optimal performance and durability. Hard drive redundancy is also provided through the use of multiple hard drives configured in such a way, that failure of one or two of these drives, will not cause the server to stop working. In short, the aim is to keep your business going.

Why not a powerful desktop PC then? Apart from the lack of redundancy, and the ability to handle multiple simultaneous user connections effectively, PC CPUs and RAM are simply designed differently. Think of a PC CPU as a short distance sprinter: very powerful and very fast, but is focussed on short bursts of delivery. Server CPUs however can be compared to a marathon runner: strong, powerful, and able to run much further for much longer. Software also plays a major role. Desktop renditions of Windows caters for background picture changes, widget installations, Office application delivery, and specifically places focus on the end user experience. Server versions cater for performance, and have the bare minimum applications installed on it to allow for maximum resource allocation to the actual business applications, and processing of instructions received from the end users connecting to it.

Virtual servers are also servers - Many organisations are moving away from physical hardware servers, moving their applications onto virtual servers available in the cloud. These cloud platforms still make use of physical hardware configured as servers. The difference is that you now make use of a portion of multiple servers working together, to deliver optimal performance, and ensure 99.9% uptime. Speak to us for more information on virtualising your infrastructure.