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CHIPS Articles: Mailbox Storage and Security Improvements Coming Soon for NMCI Users

Mailbox Storage and Security Improvements Coming Soon for NMCI Users
By Michelle Ku - October-December 2012
NMCI Standard Mailbox Doubling to 100 MB of Storage Space

Navy users of the Navy Marine Corps Intranet will soon get one of their most common service requests: a larger mailbox.

By Thanksgiving, the mailbox size for every classified and unclassified Navy user will double from the standard 50 megabytes (MB) to 100 MB at no additional cost to commands. The schedule for upgrading communities of interest (COI) mailboxes has not been determined yet. A detailed deployment schedule is available on Homeport.

Although a 100 MB mailbox may still be considered too small to meet NMCI users’ mailbox capacity requirements, this is the first step in improving mail services over the next two years through the end of the NMCI Continuity of Services Contract. An additional mailbox upgrade is expected in calendar year 2013 when NMCI upgrades mail servers to Microsoft Exchange 2010. The size of that mailbox capacity increase is still to be determined, but will improve NMCI mail services and more closely align them with user expectations and requirements.

The additional mailbox capacity is a result of recent storage efficiency initiatives implemented by the Naval Enterprise Networks (NEN) Program Office and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services (HPES), the NMCI service provider, which freed approximately 700 terabytes (TB) of storage capacity space in the storage infrastructure used to support NMCI mail and file share services.

One of the major efficiencies was implemented in March 2012 when NMCI initiated a concept called “thin provisioning.” In a thin provisioned storage infrastructure, storage capacity is dynamically allocated as it is used rather than statically allocated in a “thick provisioning” model. With thin provisioning, any allocated but unused storage space is made available for someone else to use.

For example, under the previous static thick provisioning model, each user was given 50 MB of mailbox space regardless of how many folders and emails users actually kept in their mailbox. If a user used 10 MB of this space, the remaining 40 MB was still reserved for that user and could not be used to satisfy email requirements of other users. With the dynamic allocation of the thin provisioning model and the increased 100 MB mailbox capacity, if a user used 60 MB of the allocated space, only 60 MB is actually provisioned for that user. If a user needs more than the 60 MB, additional space is provisioned dynamically as required up to the allocation of 100 MB.

Since mailbox space is an issue for most NMCI users, the NEN Program Office and HPES decided to increase the size of the standard Navy mailbox. After conducting an analysis of the amount of storage available at each server farm site, the program decided on providing an additional 50 MB of space for each user.

With the larger mailboxes, the mailbox notification policies have changed. Users will receive a mailbox capacity warning when the total size of their mailbox is 90 MB. Users will not be able to send emails if their mailbox is at 100 MB capacity. At the 200 MB mark, users will no longer be able to receive messages.

The NEN Program Office and HPES plan to increase mailbox capacity to 100 MB is currently in progress. The second increase in mailbox size will take place in calendar year 2013 following the enterprise-wide upgrade of the mail servers to Microsoft Exchange 2010.

SIPRNET Token Will Eliminate Username and Password Authentication Requirement

Navy Marine Corps Intranet users with Secure Internet Protocol Router Network accounts have until Dec. 31, 2012, to obtain new SIPRNET tokens for their account.

The SIPRNET token is a smartcard issued by the Navy Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) team that enables users to securely log onto their SIPRNET account the same way that they log onto their unclassified accounts by using two-factor authentication with both the token and a unique personal identification number (PIN). The SIPRNET token will also contain PKI certificates used to digitally sign and encrypt email messages.

The implementation and support of the SIPRNET token allow the Naval Enterprise Networks Program Office and NMCI to:

  • Improve the user experience by eliminating mandatory SIPRNET account password resets every 60 days.
  • Increase security by replacing the current user name and password authentication with a more secure two-factor authentication system.
  • Meet a Department of Defense (DoD) and United States Cyber Command mandate to enforce cryptographic logon (CLO) for all user accounts on the SIPRNET by March 31, 2013.

By implementing two-factor authentication using a SIPRNET token, network security is increased since users must present something they have (the SIPRNET token) and something they know (the SIPRNET token’s PIN) prior to being granted access to their network account. From a network user perspective, this capability allows users to eliminate the need to remember and frequently reset their SIPRNET account password.

Users are required to obtain SIPRNET tokens from the Navy PKI team, via their command’s trusted agent and/or information assurance manager, by Dec. 31, 2012. Users are required to enable and enforce their NMCI SIPRNET account by March 31, 2013. Beginning April 1, 2013, SIPR users may not be able to log onto their NMCI SIPRNET accounts without using a token and PIN.

Once users have obtained a SIPRNETtoken, the following steps must be completed to enable their SIPRNET network account to use their token for logon, digital signature and encryption:

  • Associate the token to the user’s SIPRNET account by following the procedure detailed at https:// cloenablementsite.nmci.navy.smil.mil.
  • Once the token is associated with the account, call the NMCI Service Desk (866-843-6624) and request that the service desk enforce the account for CLO.

Users will not be required to complete mandatory password resets every 60 days once the token is CLO enforced.

Michelle Ku provides public affairs support to the NEN Program Office.

Naval Enterprise Networks

Naval Enterprise Networks (NEN) is part of the Department of the Navy's Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS), which oversees a portfolio of enterprise-wide information technology programs designed to enable common business processes and provide standard IT capabilities to Sailors at sea, Marines in the field and their support systems.

PEO-EIS: www.public.navy.mil/spawar/PEOEIS/Pages/default.aspx

NEN Program Office: www.public.navy.mil/spawar/peoeis/NEN/Pages/default.aspx

NMCI laptop.
NMCI laptop.
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