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Proxy: See the World from Someone Else's Mailbox

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jaelynn Williams

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Posted: 1 Jun 1999

We've all been there. You're working feverishly in your little four-by-four cubicle, and despite all your best efforts you glance over at the corner office. You've been vitamin D deficient ever since you started working at this company, and you can't resist the light from all those big, sunny windows. Just for a moment, your mind wanders and you can't help wonder what the boss does in there all day? besides sunbathe. Well, wonder no more! With the GroupWise Proxy and Access List features, your boss can give you rights to proxy his Mailbox, and then you'll know. You'll be able to see if his Calendar is chuck full of sunbathing and trips to the drugstore for tanning lotion, or if he's busy growing the business and making money?so he can give you a big, hefty bonus.

Proxy makes it possible for you to see the world from the boss' (or anyone else's) Mailbox. In the best of all possible worlds, you have full access to his Mailbox which means that with a click of the Proxy button (the button with the little androgynous person in the lower-left corner of your Mailbox) you can read his mail, send replies (in his name), accept appointments, and so on. If you want up-to-the minute information about what is going on in his Mailbox, you can subscribe to the alarms for his appointments and be notified when new stuff arrives. But best of all, you can do all this without ever leaving your Mailbox?much less your cubicle. Which means you'll have time for lunch.

Before you can embark into this new world of perfect knowledge, a couple of things have to happen:

First, your boss has to add you to his Access List. Basically, this means he has to give you permission to look at his Mailbox, and he also has to specify which rights you will have to which items. Don't panic! This is not as difficult as it seems. Just point out how much more productive he will be with someone, you for example, managing his Mailbox, and he'll be happy to take a minute to do it. With you taking care of all the mundane messages and adding appointments to his Calendar, he won't get bogged down in the day-to-day grind. Instead, he'll be free to focus on the really important matters. No more distractions.

Second, you need to add your boss to your Proxy List. Once he is on your Proxy List, all you need to do is click the Proxy button (the androgynous one), then click his name in the list, and you're in his Mailbox. (Feels a little like looking in someone's medicine cabinet, doesn't it?) When you're finished working in his Mailbox, click the Proxy button, then click your name in the list. Now, you're back in your Mailbox. Feels good to be home, doesn't it?

Giving Access to Your Mailbox
So you're the boss, and you have this great sunny corner office but no time to enjoy it. Your employees probably suspect that you lounge around all day. If they only knew! Every day you get tons of messages?some that only you can handle and some that could be taken care of by someone else. So you spend your precious time replying and delegating all this stuff that someone else should be handling. Your schedule is so hectic that you often find you've double-booked yourself. Tired? Well, what you really need is someone to manage your Mailbox. In GroupWise, you can give someone rights to your Mailbox and then he or she can reply to all those mundane messages and keep your Calendar up-to-date which gives you time to focus on the big issues. (Sounds a little like what that sallow guy across the hall suggested, doesn't it?)

All you need to do to make this a reality is add the person to your Access List and specify which items you want the person to be able to see. If you are a little nervous about inviting someone into your Mailbox, you can start out small and give the person more rights when you get more comfortable. Remember, you have all the control. Proxies can only see what you give them rights to see. Here's how you do it:

Click Tools, click Options, then double-click Security. Okay, now click the Proxy Access tab.

You're in the Access List. (Not too bad so far, right?) Up at the top in the Name box, type the name of the person you are giving rights to, for example, Sallow Guy.  Press Enter and Sallow Guy's name appears in the Access List. Make sure Sallow Guy is selected (it has the big color bar on it) then click the rights you want to give Sallow Guy. In a nutshell, Read gives him rights to look at stuff but not to change it or send it, and Write gives him rights to look, change, and send stuff. (For more information about each of these rights, be sure to read the Understanding Access List Rights section of this article.) You can give Sallow Guy different rights for each type of item: mail, tasks, appointments, and so on. When you're finished, click OK to save your changes and exit the Access List.

Once you've added Sallow Guy to your Access List, be sure to let him know so he can add you to his Proxy list. As soon as he does this, you have a proxy.

So you have a proxy, and he's doing a great job. You may decide to entrust him with more power in your Mailbox. But what if after a few days you decide you don't like him? He's not doing much managing. In fact, it's more like he's loitering in your Mailbox. This proxy feature is a good idea, but it appears that he isn't the man to do it. Don't worry. It's easier to get rid of a proxy than it is to get rid of a dog. This is all you do:

Click Tools, click Options, double-click Security, and then click Proxy Access. Click Sallow Guy's name in the Access List, then click Remove User. As easy as that, he's gone?from the Access List that is.

Adding and Removing
People on Your Proxy List
You've got your MBA and you're on your way up the corporate ladder. You've given your boss the five-minute tour of Proxy, and he has seen the productivity light. In just moments, he has added you to his Access List. With rights to see the contents of his Mailbox, you're well on your way to managing his Mailbox?and helping him (and yourself) earn that big, hefty bonus. All you need to do now is add him to your Proxy List. What's a Proxy List? It's the list that appears when you click on the Proxy button (the androgynous one) in the lower-left corner of your Mailbox. The Proxy List makes it easy to switch between your Mailbox and the Mailboxes you proxy. (Works great for a fast switch when you need to protect top-secret information in your boss' Calendar from the wandering eye of a chatty co-worker.) Here's all you need to do to add your boss to your Proxy List:

Click the Proxy button in the lower-left corner of your Mailbox or Calendar, then click Proxy. Type the name of your boss, we'll call him Sunny Guy, in the Name box, then click OK. Click the Proxy button again. Voila! Sunny Guy is on your Proxy List.

Okay, so what if your boss, Sunny Guy, becomes so productive because you've been taking care of his Mailbox that he takes a job with a really-big-important-company in sunny Hawaii. No problem. You can just delete Sunny Guy from your Proxy List. It's easy and takes even less time than adding him did. Just click the Proxy button, click Proxy. Click Sunny Guy in the Proxy List box, then click Remove. As easy as that, he's gone from the list. With that out of the way, you can get busy moving into that big, sunny, corner office, and you can recruit your own proxy. Isn't productivity great?

Access List Rights
So you're ready to roll. Your boss added you to his Access List, and you've added him to your Proxy List. You've opened his Mailbox, but you can't see much. No messages. No Tasks. No Notes. It's pretty much an empty box except for a few appointments, and you can't even add those to his Calendar. Not exactly what you expected. What's wrong? Rights. Your boss didn't give you rights to any of the things you can't see or do. Turns out he's a pretty savvy, not to mention bronzed, guy. He read the online Help, and knows that Access Rights go something like this:

This is a look but don't touch kind of right. You can view the contents of the stuff that comes into his Mailbox, but that's it. Your boss specifies this right for each type of item, so you may have Read rights for appointments but not for mail messages, and so on.

This is a look, touch, just-do-whatever-to-take-care-of-it kind of right. You can view the contents of stuff that comes into his Mailbox, you can also send stuff (in your boss's name) and create stuff. Just like Read rights, your boss gives you Write rights for each type of item, so you may have Write rights for appointments but not for mail messages, and so on.

Subscribe to My Alarms
This right means you get to partake of the joy every time an alarm goes off in your boss' Mailbox. Each time he hears an alarm, you'll hear it too. Like all good things, there are a couple of prerequisites: you must be on the same post office as your boss and you must have Notify running on your machine.

Subscribe to My Notifications
If you have this right, you'll be up-to-date on what's coming and going in your boss' Mailbox. Every time your boss receives notification of an incoming item or a return receipt on an outgoing item, you'll get notified too. There are just a couple of requirements that must be met before you can receive your boss' notifications: you must be on the same post office as your boss and you must have Notify running on your machine.

Modify Options/Rules/Groups
If you have this right, your boss really trusts you and wants you to have complete access to his Mailbox. If you have Modify rights, you can change rules and options in your boss' Mailbox, including who has access to his Mailbox.

Archive Items
Lets you archive items in your boss' Mailbox. Be careful. If you have this right, you can store and read your boss' items in your Archive folder on your hard drive. Your boss might be just a little upset if he can't find or doesn't have access to his archived items because they are on your hard drive.

Read Items Marked Private
If you have this right, you are your boss' right hand. Once you have this right you can read every item in his Mailbox, even items marked Private. If you don't have this right, your boss can use Mark Private to hide stuff he doesn't want you to see.

<Minimum User Access>
This isn't really a right, but it's something you definitely want to be in the know about. Your boss can use Minimum User Access to give everyone specific rights to his Mailbox. Here's an example: He's so excited about the productivity gains he's realized from having you as a proxy that he thinks it would be great to let everyone in the office proxy his schedule. It's easy. All he needs to do is select Minimum User Access in the Access List, click Read next to Appointments, then click OK. Now everyone who is on the same post office (If he's running in client/server mode, everyone on the system.) will be able to take a peek at his Calendar. Remember, if there are appointments he doesn't want everyone to see, he can always use Mark Private to hide them.

Looks great, you say, but what about documents? Why aren't documents listed as an item on the Access List? To keep your documents safe and to protect the integrity of all the company's documents, you can only see documents you have rights to view, even when you're proxying the boss' Mailbox. You can see any document in the boss' Mailbox that you could see in your own Mailbox. If you can't see the document in your Mailbox, you won't be able to see it in his. (Pretty consistent don't you think?) This is the child-proof-cap on document security. If it didn't work this way, a lot of sneaky people could see sensitive documents just by proxying other people's Mailboxes. It's high-tech security, and it's a good thing.

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