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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

Security Enhancements Coming to University Email in April

Starting on April 12, 2023, Northwestern IT is applying two changes impacting Northwestern University Microsoft email security:

  • All email forwarding rules to unaffiliated domains will be disabled
  • Email received in Outlook clients from an external source will be indicated by a ToolTip

Ending Email Forwarding

The University's Electronic Communications Standard (ECS) became effective on November 30, 2022, establishing that all email, instant messaging, and videoconferencing used for University business must be conducted on a platform provided by and approved by Northwestern. The ECS is intended to enhance the confidentiality and integrity of our email systems and ensure appropriate delivery of Northwestern email to our external partners.

University email account holders with one or more rules that forward an email to an unaffiliated external domain(s) are encouraged to disable these forwarding rules now and begin using their Northwestern-provided mailbox for all University-related electronic communications.

If no action is taken, on April 12, 2023, all email forwarding rules to unaffiliated domains will be disabled, and email will be kept in the Northwestern mailbox automatically. Users will not receive any error message on their existing forwarding rules, but the rules will no longer work as they did previously

Outlook ToolTip

Also, starting on April 12, emails received in Outlook clients (web, desktop, and mobile) from an unaffiliated external source will be accompanied by a ToolTip noting its external origin. A list of affiliated University domains is outlined in the Electronic Communications Standard. To understand what to expect, users can view examples of how this ToolTip will look in Outlook. 

It is important to note that the ToolTip's existence does not indicate the message is unsafe. Instead, it is a visual cue to remind users to take extra care in determining where a message comes from and to use caution when responding, clicking links, or opening an attachment when the message source is external.


If you require additional support for these changes on or after April 12, please contact your local school or department IT support staff. You can also contact the Northwestern IT Service Desk at or 847-491-4357 (1-HELP).