Virginia Tech’s Mail System

Virginia Tech has had a rather complex mail setup since the Going Google transition. Inbound mail is first handled by, a collection of mail routers which do not support any form of encryption. Upon receipt of a message, the mail router performs spam filtering in order to prevent Google from rate-limiting mail. The mail router then routes the message to the next hop, depending on the user.

At least three different mail systems exist for various users:

Previously, a forwarding capability was enabled in that enabled a user to route their email to an arbitrary server. This capability has since been removed, allegedly due to a contractual agreement with Google.

Security Issues

Google has a decent track record for user security, with the major exception of the PRISM program. Virginia Tech does enforce that each user’s Google Apps password be different from their PID password, which provides some additional security.

The current mail setup still faces the following issues:

Best Practice Recommendations

Do not rely upon email. If you need to send a message to someone with a Google Apps account, it’s possible to use a domain to bypass Virginia Tech’s mail routers entirely.