I have spent some time going through the documentation to setup the email in Service Desk. Unfortunately, the documentation itself, has none by one line related to the setup, and does not go into any detail regarding email aliases, and other related items.

In this article, I will attempt to guide you in a fairly straight forward fashion to setup a working email systemin your KACE Service Desk.

Assumptions:

  • I’m assuming that you are running in an Exchange environment. (My environment is Exchange 2003, so I will speak to that, processes for Exchange 2007/2010 will likely be a little bit –or very– different)
  • I’m also assuming that you do allow unauthenticated SMTP from within your network.

If you decide to go for the recommended email setup from KACE: enable the POP3 email server, then you may not need to deal with many of these details. In this situation, we’re going to tackle the SMTP scenario.

Step 1:

  • Create a user label called: ” All Ticket Owners” and assign your helpdesk staff to that label.

Step 2:

Step 3:

  • Navigate to Service Desk -> Queues -> KACE Default Queue -> Click on Edit Mode
  • Change the “Ticket Owners By Label” to “All Ticket Owners”
  • Setup your categories  under “Customize Fields and Layouts”, and make sure that the “Default Owner” column is populated by “Default Ticket Owners”.
    Note: this is not a hard and fast rule, in some cases, you will want to specify a different DefaultTicketOwner.
  • Now back in the original Queue config, the Email Address field will likely be defaulted to support@kbox.domain.com . This email is what the KBOX will use to send email from. This also means that the user will not be able to respond to this email. If you want the users to be able to respond, populate the “Alt Email Address” field with an email address that has a mailbox or email alias associated with it within your environment. Now, when the KBOX sends an email message, it will be sent from the “Alt Email Address” value, AND the user will be able to reply to that address. You can set this up differently if you have different requiremts in your organization.

At this point everything on the KBOX side is setup, and now, the KBOX will know how to send email out, in fact, even to the DefaultTicketOwners. one problem remains: the DefaultTicketOwners@yourdomain.com does not currently go anywhere. So we need to deal with that.

Step 4:

In Exchange:

  • we need to create either an account with an email alias (which is what the KACE doc suggests) or
  • create an Active Directory Distribution Group and mail-enabled it.

So in my opinion, the latter solution would be much easier to setup, much more versatile, and much easier to manage programatically. You have to keep in mind, that implementation of the above 2 choices, you have to always remember to update this list of aliases (or group members), any time you add a new help desk staff. The KBOX is not going to automatically know to populate that, unless of course you have that running on a scheduled, to update that distribution group.

  • With the details out of the way, navigate to AD, and create a new Group.
  • Change the type to “Distribution”  and name it: DefaultTicketOwners
  • Setup the email address to match the email you setup for that account on the KBOX: defaultticketowners@yourdomain.com
  • Now add the members of your service desk staff (not the submitters, but the actual helpdesk people, and anyone who would be potentially assigned a ticket)

If all went well, you should be receiving notification messages that would match the “Email on Events” rule that you have setup in the Service Desk “Queues.

Step 5:

Also in Exchange:

Up until Step 4, you were only able to “send” mail from the KBOX, but you are still unable to receive/open/update tickets by sending an email to the KBOX. To get this to work, there are a couple of exchange accounts that need to be created.

Again, I’m assuming that your “Email address field in the kbox is: support@kbox.yourdomain.com and your “Alt Email address” field is: support@yourdomain.com.

At this point, if you do send an email to support@kbox.yourdomain.com, the kbox should be able to receive it. However, the hostname kbox.yourdomain.com has no MX record in your domain, and therefore, will not accept mail from outside of your domain. Furthermore, your user would have to know to append the hostname (kbox) to yourdomain.com, or find the user in the Global Address List (GAL). either way, this would be a bad way to do it. Instead, do the following:

  • In Exchange: create a “Contact” and call it “KBOX Support”, and forward to an email: support@kbox.youromdain.com. Under the “Exchange Advanced” tab, Click the “Hide from Exchange Address List”
  • Now create another full account called Support, and create an associated Exchange mailbox with it. This will be the effective mail that will receive the messages. If we stop here, all mail that we send will never make it to the kbox, even though the “Alt Email Address” in your kbox queue is the same as the email you just created. The reason being, I suspect, is that the forwarding within the kbox support@kbox.yourdomain.com to support@yourdomain.com happens internally within its own SMTP server, so, the effective receiving address has to be support@kbox.yourdomain.com
  • Now, right here, is the key to the whole shin dig: we need to forward the email: support@yourdomain.com to support@kbox.yourdomain.com. To do this:
    • Go the properties of the support account you just created
    • Go to the “Exchange General” tab, and click on “Delivery Options”
    • Select “Forward to:”, and choose the support “contact” account you created earlier
    • Make sure that the “Deliver Messages to both forwarding address and mailbox” is UNchecked. Otherwise, all your kbox emails will start filling up your — unmanaged — mailbox.

One last item that could be a step you need to do, would be to allow your Exchange server to relay messages. If you find that your system worked without adding taking this step, then I’m thinking you may have bigger problems to deal with: you might want to check your exchange server to see if it’s acting as an open relay. And remedy the situation.

That out of the way:

  • head on over to your System Manager in Exchange, and go to Servers –> YourServer –> Protocols –> SMTP –> YourSMTPVirtualServer.
  • Right click on the SMTP server, and select “Properties”, then click on the “Access” tab.
  • Now select “Relay…” under the “Relay Restrictions” section.
  • Choose “Only the list below”, then add your KBOX address in the list.
  • Click Ok,Ok.

If all went well, at this point, you should be able to send out an email to support@yourdomain.com, and almost immediately, a ticket will get created on the KBOX, and an email will be sent back to the sender with a confirmation of that ticket.

Similarly, if you hit reply to that original email, the email should be directed to support@yourdomain.com, which will get forwarded to support@kbox.yourdomain.com via the mailbox forwarder you created an exchange, and, assuming that the subject line of the email hasn’t changed, the kbox will pick up that email, and add it as a comment to the ticket.

 

I found this whole Exchange setup ordeal to be quite a doozy to figure out, as the documentation from KACE wasn’t too clear, and does not really point out too many details as to how the Email Address and Alt Email Address fields work, so for an Exchange, or even normal email admin novice, all these details may not be too obvious. I hope this will help you get your mail working on your KBOX Service Desk.

As a quick addition. If you want to add another queue to your service desk, it is now as simple as replicating that process with a new email address, and contact in Exchange, and Voilà!

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