Development of a National Adult Protective Services Data System: Namrs Pilot Final Report (volume 2). 8. Namrs Pilot Email

09/25/2015

The NAMRS Pilot sent email alerts on a regular basis to support the various workflow and system processes.

Function

There were several types of emails that were sent:

  • Emails to Technical Users--These emails informed technical users that they needed to take action. (For example, that a technical user needed to review a data component that had been entered/uploaded by a state user.)

  • Emails to State Users--These emails informed state users that the system was awaiting input from them. (For example, that a technical user had accepted a data component for their state.)

  • Emails to System Administrators--These emails informed a system administrator of some action. (For example, which nightly backup has completed successfully.)

Email required an SMTP service. The Azure Cloud does not have an SMTP service. However, as described earlier, there is an SMTP service called SendGrid that is available in the Azure Cloud. The NAMRS Pilot used SendGrid as the NAMRS Pilot email component.

Access

The following components access NAMRS Pilot email:

  • NAMRS Pilot Website--The website sent email to both state users and technical users.

  • NAMRS Pilot Case Loader--The loader sent email to state users.

  • NAMRS Pilot Database (not shown on diagram)--The database sent email every time it completed a maintenance cycle.

  • NAMRS Pilot Data Warehouse (not shown on diagram)--The data warehouse sent email every time it completed a maintenance cycle.

The NAMRS Pilot Storage was a service--it did not access any components in the NAMRS Pilot.

Security

Like any SMTP server, the SMTP Server from SendGrid uses a host, port, username, and password for security. The username is quite long (almost 50 random characters) and the password is strong. SendGrid is used port 587, so TLS encryption is in place inside the Azure Cloud. This means that data was encrypted as it moved between the web server (and Case Component XML Loader) and the SendGrid server.

If the user's server supported TLS, then SendGrid would use encryption when sending the email to the receiving SMTP server. (And if the user had an email client that supported encryption, the email would encrypt as it was sent.)

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