Tuesday, 17 July 2018

osTicket Lessons - Filtering and Exchange

Here is a thing I’ve discovered and it will hopefully save someone else hours of time. 

I have osTicket installed, with IMAP enabled to download emails from our Exchange mail server into the system. I then have filters enabled to apply rules to these emails to automagically point them at the right team / department / user – we use osTicket for marketing, reporting and so on as well as for IT Support.

For example – reports@domain.com need to go the Reporting Department, not support. Seems simple right?

There is a problem though – I do not want to have 10 email accounts (and associated logins) set up for my osTicket emails. In an Exchange environment, you can’t just have a shared folder – it needs to have a full user account and an associated Exchange mailbox to use POP3 or IMAP and this costs us a CAL (Client Access License) every time. Frustrating! So I thought – let’s use an alias instead.
I called the actual user account something like ithelp@domain.com and then aliased reports@ to ithelp@. Emails sent to reports landed successfully at ithelp@ and it looked rosy.

Subsequent testing though proved to be very painful – the filters didn’t seem to be working and the emails being sucked into osTicket were going to the default Department. I experienced some frustration around this (and may have cursed a bit). After trying several different options with changes to the filters, I eventually looked at the headers and had an unpleasant find. When one sends an email internally to an Exchange mailbox via an alias, it drops the alias off in the headers! So my emails to reports@ were being reported as having been sent to ithelp@ and osTicket was accurately processing these emails based on that. AARGH!

Poking around on the net proved fruitless – partly because of the complexity in our set up, but I did find a work around. I removed the alias and instead created a distribution group with one member – ithelp@ and an email address of (you guessed it) reports@. The filter now works properly and it’s all good. I still have a single, aggregating email account costing me one CAL, and a several distribution groups that keep it all hanging together.

I think using G Suite won’t have this effect, but I don’t have G Suite at this time, only Exchange. 

Here’s hoping that if you’re looking for this answer, I’ve saved you an hour or two.

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