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Office 365 Direct Routing Overview

Mail sent to Cornell Office 365 addresses (primarily faculty, staff, and retirees) is routed directly to Microsoft. Before October 2017, it had been handled through a Cornell system first.

This article applies to: Email for Faculty and Staff, Who I Am

Office 365 is the university's email system for faculty and staff.

At the direction of university IT Governance, in October 2017, the path of staff and faculty email was changed so that it stopped going through the Cornell environment. Instead, messages are delivered directly to Office 365. This improves the efficiency of the mail routing and increases compatibility with Microsoft's processes.

All faculty and staff email addresses had this change applied by October 31, 2017, and received an email notification a few days before their account was changed.

This change was applied to both addresses and Cornell Optional Email Alias (name-based) addresses.

Junk Mail Filtering and Spam Control

Confirm that Junk Mail filtering is turned on.

Before the change described in this article, IT@Cornell provided a layer of spam control (through the PureMessage service). While the university felt it was in everyone's best interest to use this service, it was possible for individuals to opt out using a control in Who I Am.

Spam control is currently provided directly by Microsoft, and there is no provision for opting out. For Google and Apple's similar services, there is likewise no way to opt out. This approach is the de facto industry standard.

Some early users reported more spam getting through to their Inbox. Others reported less. Most said they saw no change. You will definitely see more spam in your Junk Mail folder, as Microsoft filters out some of the messages that PureMessage formerly blocked. You should check your Junk Mail folder from time to time to see if any non-junk messages ended up there. If you see a valid message there, right-click it, then select the "not junk" option.


Your messages will be available in your mailbox via Microsoft’s email clients, Microsoft’s web email (Outlook on the Web), or Apple’s Mail app.

If you had Who I Am set to forward your messages to ONE external address, that setting was migrated to Microsoft and that forwarding was continued. The rest of this section (Forwarding) does not apply to you. Some faculty/staff have Cmail accounts (either through their status as alumni or student, or because they provide technical support for student email). For the purposes of this section, the Who I Am setting that sends mail to your Cmail address counts as "forwarded mail."

If you had Who I Am set to forward your messages to more than one external address, that forwarding stopped. Microsoft's servers allow for only one forwarding address. You can use Microsoft's tools to specify one forwarding address.

To choose and set up email clients to use with Office 365, see Choose Which Email/Calendar App to Use.

The university's general recommendation is that you do not forward your email. Because of uncertainty about the future deliverability of forwarded mail, and because mail forwarded outside Office 365 is not covered by university contract protections, forwarding can be problematic. This includes the forwarding that will be available from Microsoft (see the very next paragraph below).

If you feel that forwarding is essential in your situation, forwarding to one outside destination can be set up in Outlook on the Web. See Microsoft's help page on setting up mail forwarding.

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